Saturday, June 06, 2009

Bringing LST 325 to Pittsburgh

D-Day is an appropriate day to mention again another one of my (as yet unsuccessful) crusades to bring LST-325 from Evansville, Indiana to Pittsburgh. For a visit, not trying to steal it. I'm pretty unsuccessful with my crusades by and large. But this one I wish I could really make happen.

LST 325 is a refurbished World War II Landing Ship Tank (LST) that has a home down the Ohio River in Evansville, Indiana. It regularly makes visits to other ports along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. No reason it can not make it up the Ohio for a visit. Assuming the locks and dams make it into the future.

Pittsburgh during World War II became a major shipbuilding enterprise. Firms like American Bridge and Dravo converted themselves into shipyards and produced hundreds of these LST's, even Destroyer Escorts and all sorts of smaller vessels. LST's would form the backbone of amphibious operations from D-Day to all of the operations in the Pacific. I bet there still are among us a lot of the workers who built those ships. Time is fleeting though. Imagine giving a lot of our parents the opportunity to see the product of their work now 60+ years ago. It's a story about Pittsburgh in World War II, but also a story of women in the workforce. The iconic Rosie the Riveter was here as much as anywhere else in the nation.

The picture here 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.

Of course getting that to happen is not the simplest. Need some bigger sponsors than just me of course. Money to bring the ship here is not cheap. I think the whole Pgh250 thing displaced any resources for things like this for several years. That and the bias in a lot of that against our industrial past made it hard to get traction. Now resources are bad all around so I am not sure there is anything going to happen in the immediate future. And the ships sailing schedule gets filled up into the future.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris, we at the LST 325 would like to help make this happen. Please contact the ships office at 812 435 8678 (next week after we relive the D-Day landing here)and maybe we can work together to make this crusade of yours come to pass. We have already appointed some crewmembers to work on this so we need to get you in touch with them.


LST 325 Executive Director

Saturday, June 06, 2009 12:30:00 AM  
Blogger Vannevar said...

I'd like to confirm the remarkable value of letting the Finest Generation see the tools they built and used one more time.

I come at this from the aviation perspective, but numerous times when a restored B17, a B24 or a DC3 would tour, you'd see the old timers stand at a respectful distance as if they were looking at an old friend's ghost.

They'd eventually go up an touch it, no doubt remembering the friends that didn't make it, and the hard things they'd done. That's a magic moment to be respected and encouraged, and I'm sure that the LST would find a similar welcome here.

Saturday, June 06, 2009 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Vannevar reminds me of Joe's video:

Now I have the image of an LST slowly steaming under the West End Bridge and then past the Point.

Sunday, June 07, 2009 1:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its sad how the head honchos of this region want to deny our past as an industrial superpower. We're really missing out on a huge tourism opportunity and a chance to turn some of our abandoned industrial sites into museums and such. Future generations will look back and wish we preserved some of that.

Sunday, June 07, 2009 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

on industrial heritage:

But I do now have lots of responses in email and above from the LST-325 folks which I appreciate and will get back to next week. I may have not been clear. What I have never been able to get much traction with are local folks willing to help much the idea and have tried more directly than just the blog here.. at least informally have been trying to talk it up longer than I have been blogging for sure. But maybe times have changed?

Sunday, June 07, 2009 7:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a strong possibiliy that LST 325 will visit Pittsburgh over Labor DAy

Sunday, May 23, 2010 7:31:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

We know

Sunday, May 23, 2010 7:33:00 PM  
Blogger Sextant said...

LST 325 is on its way to Pittsburgh! You can track its movement here

The home page for the ship has more information on the Pittsburgh trip and can be found here:

Oddly enough, I wrote an entry in my blog about my parents and LST’s yesterday and found out about the 325 coming to Pittsburgh in my Internet research. My mother welded LSTs at Dravo, and my father sailed on one from Saipan to Okinawa in 1945. I am very much a child of the LST program. My blog entry is here:

Thank you for your efforts to bring this historic ship to Pittsburgh. I am looking forward to going down and taking a tour of it. The recruitment poster (in your other post) is priceless! I added it to my blog.

Sunday, August 22, 2010 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

As an old Chief Quartermaster, and briefly an LST sailor at that, I have to applaud your nom de guere (sextant)...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 6:16:00 AM  
Blogger Sextant said...

Toured LST 325 this morning. Fantastic. Thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Thank you again for your efforts in bringing this ship to Pittsburgh, and thanks for the compliment.

Saturday, September 04, 2010 8:11:00 PM  
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