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Saturday, June 7, 2014

LST 325

The kids and I visiting the LST 325.
Landing Ship Tanks, LST's for short, were built here in Evansville during World War II. They were crucial for the success of the D-Day operations 70 years ago. Although not all of the LST's were produced in Evansville (the LST 325 was manufactured in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Evansville did produce more than any other city. One of the ships that took part in the D-Day landings on Omaha Beach, Normandy, the LST 325, calls Evansville its home port.

During World War II, Evansville produced a number of items for our troops and allies. The Evansville Shipyard was the nation's largest inland producer of LSTs. The Plymouth factory was converted into a munitions plant, which produced billions of bullets. In 1942, a factory adjacent to the Evansville airport began manufacturing P-47 Thunderbolt fighter aircraft, known as the P-47Ds. Evansville produced almost half of the P47s made during the war.

I took the kids to see the LST 325 when it first came to Evansville. It did not have a permanent home port at that time, so I had no idea if it would ever return. I thought it was important for the kids see it, so we spent an afternoon touring the ship. The tours are quite interesting, and I recommend you go ... or go again! I toured the ship again not too long ago. The guides answer questions as they escort you through the ship, and since the questions are different on each tour, you'll learn something new every time!

Not long after the LST first came to Evansville as a floating museum, it was decided that Evansville would be it's home port. I was happy to hear the ship would be staying in Evansville.

Now, however, there is talk of the LST moving to another city. They would like a more prominent place along the riverfront to bring in more tourists, which I can certainly understand. Even though this particular ship was not built in Evansville, it would be a shame if we were to lose her, especially to a city with no historic connection to the LST's. I really hope something can be worked out and the LST 325 continues to call Evansville her home.

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