Exploring the Lives of the LST 325

Web Producer: Brad Maglinger

It looks seaworthy and sounds battle ready. But a look behind LST 325 and beside it reveals that these aren't the same beaches this vessel and ones like it stormed more than a half century ago.

Rocky Hill, from the LST 465, says, "The Japanese waited till we came in and opened fire on us. But, we could not fire back."

Story by story, these 40 men relive their early years. Years that spawn even more emotion as they drift further into the past.

"Right now I've got goose-bumps when I talk about the ship. My wife thinks I've married it," says James Edwards from LST 28.

Like old married couples this aged crew can grow tired of one another. After travelling weeks together in tight quarters and working hard to keep the ship in shape, both strength and patience weakens. But they persevere for history's sake.

"People here in Evansville know because they were built here," says Hill. "I'm glad we're bringing it up here. That was our idea of bringing this thing back to show people what one was and to allow some of the LSTers to see one again."

LST 325 Captain Bob Jornlin says, "To be on a World War II ship that's 58-years-old and be bringing it home and do something everybody said we couldn't do, there's a lot of satisfaction in this trip."

"I wouldn't take a million dollars for what I've learned and the people I've met and the people I've worked with and the people I've seen," says Edwards.

Bringing the LST home is like a dream for Captain Jornlin, comparing it to another fabled landing. "It's probably just about as famous as Normandy," says Jornlin.

But this is no invasion, it's by invitation that this sentimental journey has landed in Evansville.

"You think about it and you kind of pinch yourself and you say, 'Are we really doing this?' This hasn't been done since 1946 and the LST 325 is doing it again in 2003 and I'm part of it," says Jornlin.

Crew members say they often pass the time by swapping old sea stories about their time on the LST. Of the 40 crew members, 35 served on an LST at some point.