Veteran Ship Comes Home - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Veteran Ship Comes Home

Most of us know what an air-craft carrier or a destroyer is, but do you know what an LST is? There's a group of men who want you to know all about it.

Docked in the Mobile river is the L-S-T 325. A "Landing Ship Tank," it is an amphibious vessel that was enormously helpful in World War II and Korea as well as Vietnam. It made more than 100 trips to Europe during the Second World War. This vessel alone saved 700 drowning American sailors from the water near their torpedoed ship.

But these mighty vessels were almost extinct until a group of veterans made it their mission to find and restore a great American LST. Last year 29 veterans, most in their 70's, found an American LST in Greece. These "sea cowboys" as they've been called paid for their own way to Greece and sailed the aging, rusty ship home to American waters.

The trip made national news most saying they would never make it. One month later they arrived in Mobile to a hero's welcome. Now some of these men remain on the ship overseeing repairs and giving tours.

Their ultimate goal is to sail the LST 325 into Normandy in 2004 for the 60th D-Day Anniversary. Then the ship will become an L-S-T Naval Museum. But the ship's restoration cost is $2 million. They are counting on the patriotism and generosity of other Americans to make their dream become a reality.

For more information on the LST 325, or to help out, you can visit www.lstmemorial.org, or email lst325ak@aol.com.

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