Wednesday, September 26, 2007

amphibious Burgh

PBS's documentary series The War is sparking interest in World War II. I will use that as an excuse to be a broken record and try to spark interest in my idea of bringing the former Navy Ship LST-325 up to Pittsburgh for a visit. LST's (Landing Ship Tanks) were the mainstay of the Navy's amphibious fleet in World War II. The picture here is USS LST 1, the Navy's first WW2 Landing Ship Tank built right here in Pittsburgh at the Dravo Corp. shipyard.
290 of the 1,051 LST's built in WWII were built here in Pittsburgh, along with scores of other ships large and small including some Destroyer escorts. My check of records tells me that none of the Pittsburgh-built LST's are still around, the last one was stricken from the Turkish Navy just a few years ago in 2001. However, LST-325 was built in Philadelphia and has been restored. Following some international cruises she is now berthed in Evansville, Indiana just down the Ohio River. Could LST-325 visit Pittsburgh? It would be quite an event and worth it to many in town I bet. I think there are still a fair number of the generation that built these ships, as well as those who served on them still around. It could be quite an event if she could sail up the Ohio for a short visit. The whole story of Pittsburgh's history as a wartime shipyard is important. How such a large industry was essentially created here in almost no time is worth more attention from industrial and business historians. Who were the workers? A lot of local women in the spirit of Rosie the Riveter were the people who built these ships.

However... it's not something I can do on my own. I have tried to spark some interest in groups capable of sponsoring such a visit, but have not had much traction thus far. There would be a six figure cost most likely as well. But I'll keep plugging away.

1 Comments:

Blogger Matthew said...

WQED is running a series on Pittsburgh stories of World War II. I haven't been able to catch it yet, but I think it would be interesting to see.

Check out http://www.wqed.org/tv/pm/specials/wwii.shtml for more info.

Saturday, September 29, 2007 8:02:00 PM  

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