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World War II ship arrives in Charleston (with video)

Lawrence Pierce
LST 325, a World War II landing ship based in Evansville, Ind., floats upriver Thursday afternoon, when it reached Charleston. The massive ship will be docked at Haddad Riverfront Park through Tuesday.
Lawrence Pierce Two men stand on the ramp of LST 325, which will be docked at Haddad Riverfront Park in Charleston through Tuesday.
Lawrence Pierce The hull of LST 325 held tanks during World War II. The ship also was used during the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Lawrence Pierce The LST 325 arrived in Charleston and turned around on the Kanawha River near the state Capitol Complex.
Lawrence Pierce The LST 325 wheelhouse crew includes: Allen Douglas, Bob Rogers, Don Brilliant and Ron Hall. Each is a volunteer.
Lawrence Pierce Captain Robert Jornlin is at the helm of the LST 325, which is in Charleston through Tuesday and will stay docked at Haddad Riverfront Park.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- LST 325, a World War II landing ship that took part in the June 6, 1944 invasion of Normandy, arrived in Charleston on Thursday for a visit that will last through the Labor Day weekend.

LST 325 will be docked at Haddad Riverfront Park through Tuesday. The 300-foot-long oceangoing vessel will be open for tours daily, today through Tuesday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children between the ages of 6 and 17, and $20 for a family of four.

Built in Philadelphia in 1942, LST 325 first went to Sicily, then arrived in England just in time to take part in training excercises for the Allied invasion of Europe. The vessel made more than 40 trips from England to France between the Normandy invasion and the end of World War II, ferrying men, equipment and vital supplies.

The ship was then sold to the Greek Navy. When Greece was ready to decommission the ship, a group of American volunteers went to Greece and sailed the ship back to this country.

LSTs, an acronym for Landing Ship, Tank, were designed specifically to carry hundreds of men and dozens of vehicles across the ocean and land them directly on an enemy beach, without the need of dock facilities. LSTs were vital to the war effort, and went on to serve during Korea and the Vietnam War.

LST 325, based in Evansville, Ind., is one of the few LSTs still afloat. The ship conducts tours all over the United States.

Reach Rusty Marks at rustymarks@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.


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