AN INTRODUCTION FROM EMERITUS CAPTAIN BOB JORNLIN
Welcome Aboard The USS LST Ship Memorial's Website! This LST (Landing Ship, Tank) is an amphibious vessel designed to land battle-ready tanks, troops and supplies directly onto enemy shores. Ships of this type proved to be enormously useful during times of war and peace both. This particular LST was originally known as LST-325 during the Second World War, USNS LST-325 during its arctic operations in the 1950's, and later L-144 (A/G Syros) while it was in the service of the Greek Navy. It was acquired by The USS LST Ship Memorial, Inc., in 2000, and caught considerable public attention when our veteran crew brought it on a 6,500-mile journey from the Greek island of Crete to Mobile, Alabama.
Thanks to the generous donations of many people, along with the hard work and dedication of our on-board volunteer workers, we then successfully achieved our short-term goal of having the ship ready for public presentation in September of 2001. The ship was "unveiled" and recommissioned in conjunction with the U.S. LST Association's convention held in Mobile, AL. If you look through the Progress Report archives, you will see the wonderful transformation of this ship from a rusting hulk to a once-again-proud warship, an amazing feat considering it was accomplished in a mere eight months.
Since then we have continued to make astounding progress. In the summer of 2003, we made a trip up the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers with several ports-of-call. Significantly, we brought home an LST to the very communities that produced them in the first place. At this point in time, the ship is fully operational and in very good condition. However, with a ship this old, it's understandable that problems arise from time to time. It's a full-time job for all our volunteers and supporters to keep this "Grand Old Lady" operational and "up to specs."
We had made complete preparations for a 2004 Memorial Trip up the East Coast (under our own power) to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Unfortunately, Mr. Murphy reared his ugly head -- not just once, but many times over. The trip was feasible from the beginning. The biggest single problem was our getting into drydock weeks behind schedule, due to various mishaps at the shipyard. By the time we got out of drydock, there was simply not enough time to run the ship through the necessary dockside and sea trials in order to come anywhere near close to schedule. This same trip turned out to be an outstanding success in 2005, when the ship attracted tens of thousands of visitors in Alexandria, Va., Boston, Mass. and other ports of call. One of the most memorable highlights was escorting the venerable USS Constitution on a harbor turnaround.
October 3, 2005 opened a new and bright chapter in the saga of LST 325, when the ship arrived at its new homeport in Evansville, Ind. The people of Evansville greeted the ship and crew with open arms and a brand-new $3 million dollar docking facility. The ship is now in a high profile location accessible to many visitors, conventions, reunions, etc., in a city that truly loves us and cherishes their own civic pride and sense of history.
So, we are still in great need of two things to continue our mission of bringing this ship to the American people: funds and volunteer manpower. Our funding comes entirely from private donations. Just our monthly expenses alone are expensive, not to mention expenditures for parts and repairs. We strongly encourage you to support this ongoing effort through your donations, and through the purchase of LST Ship Memorial souvenirs from our Gift Shop -- those may both be done directly from this website. Also, we need volunteers (skilled or not) to help perform work on the ship in Evansville. This work ranges from the technical to the grungy . . . but it all needs to be done, and we need your help. If you'd like to sign up, please email the office to make arrangements. We receive very favorable lodging rates for our out-of-town volunteers.
Please feel free to explore this website and learn more about our ship, her history, and our ongoing work. We hope you'll enjoy your virtual voyage on The USS LST Ship Memorial's LST 325.
Captain Bob Jornlin
C/O, USS LST 325
The USS LST Ship Memorial, Inc.
For additional detailed accounts of this project and the voyage, you can read XO Jackson Carter's logs, which includes log excerpts plus many additional details. This is well worth reading and provides a nearly complete history.