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LST-325 back in Peoria

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The LST-325, the World War II vessel that was part of the D-Day invasion at Omaha Beach in June 1944, is back in Peoria.

The ship is docked on Peoria's riverfront, next to the RiverPlex Recreation and Wellness Center, and will remain for public tours until next Monday.

It will be a feature for those attending the reunion of LST-325 crew members and those who rode the ship at the Hotel Pere Marquette through Saturday.

"We take the ship to various cities so people can tour a World War II ship and witness a piece of history first hand," said the vessel's captain, Bob Jornlin. "This is the only operational LST in the U.S. All the crew is volunteer and the proceeds from anything we make go toward maintaining and refurbishing the ship and to keep it operational."

The LST (which stands for landing ship tank) docked in Henry last week before sailing to

Peoria. During the ship's stay in Peoria, military vehicles will be on display next to the riverfront for visitors to view while waiting in line to board the ship. A military medics' Jeep sits on the ship.

The ship is open for public viewing and tours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 5-18 and free for children 4 and under. A $20 family ticket pass is also available.

The 328-foot LST is an amphibious vessel designed to land battle-ready tanks, troops and supplies directly onto enemy shores. This particular vessel was originally known as the LST-325 during WWII. Its name changed to USNS LST-325 during its arctic operations in the 1950s and again later to L-144 while it was in service of the Greek Navy.

The ship was acquired by the USS LST Ship Memorial in 2000 and is now docked much of the year at a site in Evansville, Ind., the housing ground of the vessel.

In honor of the 10-year anniversary of September 11, the LST crew will observe a moment of silence at the time the planes struck the towers of the World Trade Center.

For more information about the ship, go to lstmemorial.org.

 

About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).