Monday, June 09, 2008

Shift Colors

If you are reading because you saw my Sunday piece in the Post Gazette about the USS Pittsburgh and Typhoon Viper in World War II, you may be interested in my goal of bringing another WWII ship to Pittsburgh.

Some know that Pittsburgh was a major shipbuilding region during World War II when many local industries converted from their normal products. Pittsburgh would produce many of the amphibious Landing Ship Tank's (LST's) that were so vital on D-Day and many other operations during the war. I have a goal to bring one of them: LST 325 up to Pittsburgh for a visit from it current home in Evansville, Indiana. Evansville, like Pittsburgh, was a major shipyard during WWII. Most of the LST's built in WWII came from shipyards on the Ohio River. Time is running out for a generation, but I really think that some of the workforce that worked on these ships is still around and would enjoy the chance to see the product of their workmanship or in many cases their workwomanship as it was women who kept much of industrial American producing during the war.

The first picture to the left is the launching of LST-750 launched in Pittsburgh on May 30, 1944 from the Dravo Shipyard. LST-750 would have a long glorious career and be sunk just 6 months later at the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

I have previously blogged about LST-1 which was also built here in Pittsburgh. The second picture on the left shows LST-1 on local rivers soon after it was launched. When you consider how slow Pittsburgh industry was to change in the half centuries before and after WWII, it is strange to think that for the duration an entire shipbuilding industry was created, and later shut down, in mere months.

So that's the goal. How to make it happen? I have thus far not been very successful at finding an organization large enough, and with deep enough pockets, to sponsor the evolution. Any takers?


Anonymous Ray (WV) said...

I am one of 9 board members of the USS LST 325 Ship Memorial in Evansville, IN. I live in neighboring West Virginia, and bringing the LST 325 upriver to Pittsburgh is also a dream of mine. If we could get some veteran's or civic organizations to help out - a visit would be a distinct possibility. Sadly, we could not do this before 2010 - as this August will see us on the upper Mississippi, and commitments to a couple of conventions will keep us mostly homebound in 2009.

Monday, June 09, 2008 9:22:00 PM  
Blogger Burgher Jon said...


I can't claim to be one of the board members... But I also think it would be an interesting thing to give Pittsburghers the chance to see. If you end up creating a petition or letter writing campaign or anything else where I can help out, let me know.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 7:43:00 AM  

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