Illustration for article titled LST-325
Photo: Justin Gibb

In 1941 a delegation from the Royal Navy met with their counterparts from the US Navy to pool ideas for producing ships for the war effort. One of the ideas to come out of this effort was a new ship to deliver men and material to the beach during amphibious landings. In order to free up other yards for front line warships, most of these Landing Ships, Tank would be constructed in the interior of the US, at “cornfield shipyards” along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, then floated down to New Orleans for final fitting-out prior to heading out. The majority of the LSTs were built by Missourti Valley Bridge & Iron in Evansville Indiana. Another 156 ships were fabricated by Chicago Bridge and Iron in Seneca, Il. A total of 264 LSTs were built in Pittsburgh at the Dravo and American Bridge (later Ambridge) shipyards. At least one of the ships from Dravo steamed back up the Ohio to Pittsburgh during the war to show the people what was being built here, but none had returned since then.

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In 2010, the LST-325 (such ships were not given names in US service, only numbers) headed from Evansville to Pittsburgh. Constructed in the Philadelphia Navy Yards in 1942, 325 served in Italy, and Normandy, making more than 40 trips between D-Day and May of ‘45. The ship was decommissioned and placed in reserve after the war, it was placed in service with the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) in 1951 to as part of the construction of the DEW Line radar stations. Transferred to the Greek Navy in 1964, she served as the RHS Syros (L-144) until 1999. She was acquired by USS LST Memorial Inc in 2000, and restored to her WWII appearance.

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