World War II Ship To Visit Two Eastern Iowa Cities This Summer
A Navy ship that took part in the World War II Normandy Invasion in 1944 is bound for Dubuque and the Quad Cities. The USS LST 325, originally known as LST (Landing Ship Tank) 325, will be docking on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River late this summer.
The ship, almost as long as a football field and 50-feet across, was used to deliver troops, tanks, and supplies to enemy shores during the war. The U.S. never lost an invasion once these type of ships were put into use, allowing the military to land tanks right on the beach. Even though 1,051 LST's were built in a 3-year period in the 1940's, the USS LST 325 is the only one still in the operation in the U.S. It was decommissioned in 1946.
This piece of American history will be docked at the Port of Dubuque (300 Bell St.) August 23 thru 27. It will then make its way downstream to the Isle Casino Hotel in Bettendorf. It will be on the Mississippi riverfront there from August 30 to September 3. Approximate 45-minute tours will be available each day from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. WWII veterans can tour it for free at either location. The cost for other adults is $10, ages 6-17 $5, and 5-and-under free. More information on the Dubuque visit is available HERE. To learn more about the Quad Cities visit, click HERE. You can view the ship's website HERE.
This history of the ship was provided in a release from the Quad City Convention and Visitors Bureau:
The LST-325 was launched on October 27, 1942, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The ship operated in the North Africa area and participated in the invasions at Gela, Sicily and Salerno, Italy. On June 6, 1944, LST-325 became part of the largest armada in history by participating in the D-Day invasion at Omaha Beach. It carried 59 vehicles, 31 officers and a total of 408 enlisted men on that first trip. On its first trip back to England from France, 325 hauled 38 casualties back to a friendly port. Over the next nine months, Navy records show LST-325 made more than 40 trips back and forth across the English Channel, carrying thousands of men and pieces of equipment that troops needed to successfully complete the liberation of Europe. The ship continued to run supply trips between England and France before returning to the United States in March 1945.
LST-325 was decommissioned in 1946 and sent to Greece on September 1, 1964, as part of the grant-in-aid program. The USS LST Memorial, Inc., a group of retired military men, acquired the LST 325 in 2000. They paid their way to Greece, made the necessary repairs to the ship and sailed it back to the United States, arriving in Mobile Harbor on January 10, 2001. In 2003, LST-325 made a sentimental journey up the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. The 10-day stop in Evansville, Indiana, allowed more than 35,000 people to take a tour. In May and June of 2005, she sailed up the east coast under her own power for a 60-day tour of several ports, visiting Alexandria, Virginia, and Buzzard's Bay, Boston, Gloucester, Massachusetts. LST-325 is the last navigable LST in operation in the U.S. She is undergoing constant maintenance and restoration, and is in tip-top shape, according to her crew. On October 1, 2005, Evansville, Indiana, became her home port.