A restored World War II troop landing ship ran aground in a western Kentucky lake but was not damaged and has returned to its Indiana home port, the ship’s captain said. The LST-325 was freed from mud in Lake Barkley Oct. 3 using a tugboat, the ship’s anchor winch and its engines in full reverse, Capt. Bob Jornlin told the Evansville Courier & Press.
The ship became stuck with 42 crew members aboard during a rainstorm Oct. 1 when officials say it traveled outside the lake’s Cumberland River channel. It was returning to its Evansville dock on the Ohio River after a trip to Tennessee for stops at Nashville and Clarksville. Jornlin said the ship, which was part of the 1944 D-Day landings in France, was built to be run aground as it carried troops, tanks and other equipment.
“It’s a tough old bird,” Jornlin said.
On the ship’s website, http://www.lstmemorial.org, Jornlin explained in a forum post how they freed the “Iron Marvel.”
… We used the ballast system. We filled the stbd tanks getting a list of @ 2 degrees, emptied them filling the port tanks, getting 2 degrees to port list. We did this twice. Then back to level. I filled the forward two tanks; port and stbd, helping to raise the stern a little. We were more aground at the stern — by the results of soundings all around. The small waves and wind actually would rock the ship after this. This helped, I believe break the bottom suction some. We never tried to pull the ship with just the winch, since we had a 4,000 HP tug at our disposal. We were supposed to have ballast on, but someone forgot. We took it off in Clarksville as the water went down 2 feet and we were nose on the boat ramp. One should always have the 6 fwd ballast tanks at least half full if not three quarters. This brings up the stern for low water and if you are on the boat ramp somewhere or go aground, even in the middle of the channel — you have some way of raising the bow. I believe we needed everything including the #1 LCVP pushing, engines backing full, the stern anchor and the big tug. I cannot thank the Luhr Bros, Jay in particular, enough. They are true friends of LST 325. They came all the way from Cairo, IL. to help us. We also had tugs from Ingram, and Hunter Marine promised.
All the tug companies have been very helpful to the “Iron Marvel”
Capt. LST 325
Lt. Dan McQuate of the Coast Guard office at Paducah, Ky., said the ship was cleared to go after an inspection for any damage. The ship went on to Evansville, where it has been based since 2005. The LST-325 was brought back to the U.S. from Greece in 2001 to be restored. It is open for public tours when docked in Evansville and often travels to other cities.
The USS LST Ship Memorial Mission Statement (http://www.lstmemorial.org)
The mission of The USS LST Ship Memorial, Inc. is to educate its visitors to the role of the LST in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. It is our desire to preserve the memory of these ships and all the countless heroic men who died in battle during the service to their country. The names of all who died while serving on LSTs will be displayed on the ship. By preserving this riceless piece of American history, we will bring honor to the American ship building industries that produced them, the crews who served and defended them, and those who were carried onto the invasion shores by them.
To support this educational mission, the museum will present exhibits and programs to the public. Artifacts, books, photographs, oral histories, and archival material relating to the service of LSTs in general, and the USS LST 325 in particular, will also be collected and displayed.
The main focus of the museum’s acquisitions, exhibits, and programs will be 1941-1978 with special emphasis on 1941-1945. The appearance of the ship will maintain its wartime configuration.
Our plans, if possible, are to keep the USS LST 325 operational, sailing form port to port, visiting other cities where LSTs were built. The USS LST 325 will be available for special events when invited, with a goal to further the education of future generations.