This past spring, I had the extreme pleasure of touring the LST 325 warship here in Evansville. Long retired from a lustrous career in the United States and Greek militaries, this warship not only saw war - the vessel carried her crew to one of the most important battles this world has ever seen.

Seventy-five years ago, today, WWII hit a turning point. It was over two years in the making.

According to the History Channel:

"In the early hours of June 6, under the cover of darkness, 18,000 American and British paratroopers attempted to drop behind the Nazis’ beachfront bulwarks and cut off key supply roads, bridges and inland defenses. But dense fog, high winds and intense anti-aircraft fire forced many paratroopers to jump at dangerously high speeds from low-flying planes.

The June 6th Allied assault on the Normandy beaches was, and remains, the largest amphibious invasion ever attempted. It hinged on shuttling 150,000 infantry troops across the English Channel in treacherous seas and delivering them to the five target beaches. The invasion was postponed from June 5 due to bad weather, and Eisenhower’s decision to attack on June 6 was partly because the Nazis would never believe that the Allies would attempt a sea invasion during a storm.

Despite awful weather, chaotic beach landings and violent Nazi resistance, the Allied troops dug in, pushed forward against steep odds and ultimately won the day."

To gain access to the beaches of Normandy, our military needed heavy duty impenetrable ships and vast artillery. During World War II, the Evansville, Indiana, riverfront became a massive operation to produce LST warships. The Ohio River was the perfect means to get the monsters to the ocean and the Midwest drive and determination is unmatched. Evansville was commissioned to build 24 ships but 167 LSTs and other vessels were eventually produced. One fully operational LST remains.

On June 7, 1944, the LST 325, arrived as part of Force B - the backup for the the troops at Omaha Beach carrying troops and vehicles. She had many more adventures and later that year was instrumental in saving over 700 men from the troop transport S.S. Empire Javelin, which had been torpedoed off the coast of France.

Today, the LST 325 sits lazily on the Ohio River where she was born over 75 years ago. It is a floating museum and a testament to the conviction of courage, tenacity, and selflessness American men and women showed during the darkest days.

“This operation is not being planned with any alternatives. This operation is planned as a victory, and that’s the way it’s going to be. We’re going down there, and we’re throwing everything we have into it, and we’re going to make it a success.”

 

To commemorate the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, the LST 325 is docked at the Tropicana   and will be hosting free tours and other events. I highly suggested taking one of the tours so that you can experience this living history for yourself.

June 5 - LST-325 Closed for move to Downtown location near Tropicana
~8:30am - LST-325 underway from Marina Point
~11:30am - LST-325 arrival & mooring at Tropicana mooring
June 6 - 9:00am to 1:00pm : D-Day 75th Anniversary Commemorative Ceremony aboard ship
1:00pm to 5:00pm : LST-325 open to public for free tours
2:00pm to 4:00pm : Air Force band performing
June 7-9 - 9:00am to 5:00pm : LST-325 open to public for free tours

June 8 - 6:00pm to 10:00pm : D-Day 75th Anniversary Big Band 40s Gala at the Tropicana Events Center. Tickets available HERE
June 9 - ~6:00pm : LST-325 underway from Tropicana mooring
~7:00pm : LST-325 arrival and mooring at Marina Point
June 10 - Ship CLOSED for clean-up and preparation for tours

If you have any questions, please contact the LST office at (812) 435-8678 or at 325office@lstmemorial.org

You can also tour a B-17G Texas Raiders bomber at the Evansville Wartime Museum this week. Not only can you tour it, but you can also fly in it!