Jornlin said the group had been looking for an LST to restore for several years.
"Most of the guys who served on the LSTs wanted one back," he said. While it isn't uncommon to find destroyers, submarines, battleships and other World War II museums around the country, "there weren't any LSTs as museum ships," he said.
"The LSTs were forgotten," he said. "You can pick up a book on World War II and you're lucky if there's a picture of an LST on a beach somewehere down in the corner of the book."
Jornlin was part of a group of veterans who went to Greece to fix the LST up and bring it back to the United States. Jornlin, a lieutenant during his stint in the Navy, became captain when the job proved to much for the man originally picked to skipper the ship.
Following a series of setbacks and major repairs, Jornlin and 28 other men who sailed LST 325 home, arriving in Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 10, 2001.
"I'm not a World War II guy," Jornlin said. "But I had 18 help me bring her back from Greece, plus nine from Korea."
Today, LST 325 is based in Evansville, Ind., where a group of about 40 volunteer crew members keep it operating. Many are former LST crewmen.
So far, tour admissions, donations and merchandise sales have paid for the operation and upkeep of the floating museum, Jornlin said.
Harris said it took three years of conversations and correspondence to get the LST 325 to come to Charleston. But Jornlin finally agreed to come.
"It's fascinating, because you can see how it actually works," Harris said. He said there are lots of floating ship museums, "but none of the rest of them move, except maybe the [U.S.S.] Constitution, which they take out every year and turn around."
The fact that LST 325 took part in the invasions of Sicily and Normandy "makes a celebrity out of it," Harris said.
LST 325 will be open for public tours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 30 through Sept. 3. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children between the ages of 5 and 17 and free for children under 5. Family passes are $20.
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.