Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

August 4, 2013


World War II ship landed at Omaha Beach on D-Day

ASHLAND — A piece of U.S. Navy history will land at the Port of Ashland in September, giving local residents an opportunity to tour a living history museum.

The 328-foot USS LST 325, a World War II Tank Landing Ship, will dock at Ashland's riverfront park on Sept. 4.  It will open for public tours on Sept. 5, which will continue through Sept. 9.

The LST is an amphibious vessel designed to land battle-ready tanks on enemy shores. When the ship stops in Ashland, visitors will be able to enter the belly of the vessel through those large bow doors where the tanks and troops landing at Omaha Beach on D-Day passed on June 6, 1944.

Now owned and operated by the nonprofit LST Memorial Inc., the USS LST 325 is a living memorial “dedicated to all LST’s and those who sailed them,” according to its website.  It is the only remaining operational LST in the United States out of the 1,051 constructed during the war and was rescued from a Greek scrap yard in 1999.

 Built at a shipyard in Philadelphia, the shallow-hulled vessels were able to carry 20 Sherman tanks in their large internal tank decks along with up to 500 soldiers, tons of fuel, ammunition, supplies and 30 to 40 additional vehicles, including ambulance and jeeps on main deck.  

Prior to Normandy, the LST325 served in two other World War II invasion campaigns at Sicily and Salerno, Italy. After D-Day the The LST325 made 44 trips across the English Channel carrying vehicles and supplies to France, while returning to England with wounded soldiers and prisoners of war.

After being decommissioned in 1964, it was sold to Greece where it served that country’s Navy from 1964 to 1999. At that time, it was rescued from a scrap yard by the non-profit and repatriated to the U.S. in 2001.

It formally opened as a touring museum in 2003 and is the only former U.S. combat ship that actively cruises to U.S. cities via river, said Perry Ballinger, one of 40 crewmembers and the secretary of its board of directors. Ballinger approached Ashland officials about bringing the ship to Ashland in August while on its annual tour.

The USS LST325 has a permanent home in Evansville, Ind., the site of one of three former WWII ship yard where LST vessels were constructed, but takes a four to six week cruise each year, he said. The LST325 will pass Ashland en route to Charleston where it will dock Aug. 3 to Sept. 3, before returning to Ashland Sept. 4. It will then make subsequent stops in Madison, Ind., and then Owensboro.

On its way upriver, Ballinger said the LST325, which has 40 mm guns equipped to fire blanks may play “Anchors Aweigh,” the Navy’s Anthem and “fire a few guns” when it passes Ashland.

In addition to the LST325, a Vietnam-era river PBR river patrol boat, which used LST ships as home bases in the Mekong Delta, will accompany the LST325 to Ashland. Two landing craft attached to the side of the LST 325 are also operational and may give demonstrations during the stay in Ashland, said Ballinger.

City officials said they were “very excited,” to welcome the ship to Ashland and are working to plan some opening ceremonies at the riverfront.

“Once the city was approached about the opportunity and decided our riverfront had the capability to handle that, we wanted to welcome them and do all we could,” said Ashland’s Director of Parks and Recreation Sean Murray. “That is a great use of our riverfront,” he said.

Ashland Area Visitors and Convention Bureau Director Sue Dowdy said the nonprofit approached Ashland about docking here. “We are extremely excited about it,” said Dowdy, noting her father served in the Navy and has a personal interest in the crafts used during the era. “It’s a great educational thing,” she said.

Dowdy said the planned mooring in Ashland has inspired her office to work to attract other touring watercraft to visit at Ashland.

The LST 325 will be open  from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 5 through 9 at the Port of Ashland. Visitors may tour the main deck, troop berthing, mess deck, galley, stern of ship where the guns and anchor are located, in addition to the wheel house, officers country and the captain’s cabin. The tour includes three sets of stairs and self-guided.

Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for ages 6 through 17. Children under five are free. A family admission price of $20 covers two adults and two minor children. Special rates and guided tours are available for school groups.

For more information, visit lstmemorial.org.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com.

Text Only
Local News
  • Jesse Stuart Foundation celebrates 35 years

    The annual Jesse Stuart Foundation Open House from noon to 6 p.m. on Aug. 8 will be a huge celebration.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0729hagerman.jpg Hagerman talks law with Rotary

    At Monday’s lunchtime meeting of the Ashland Rotary Club, Boyd County Circuit Court Judge C. David Hagerman summed up current local legal trends — and how cases, courts and criminals have changed during his 20-plus year tenure.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue speaks during an interview in Salt Lake City

    Fish and houseguests both stink after three days — and much less time when a visitor pockets valuables without permission.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Iconic Gate City bank torn down after partial collapse

    This weekend, Catlettsburg’s downtown silhouette lost one of its longest-lived landmarks.
    Demolition workers began to tear down one of the Gate City’s oldest downtown buildings following the former Catlettsburg National Bank’s partial collapse.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Study shows room for parking improvement

    It has been suggested that the parking layout along Winchester Avenue should change, bringing the city’s main thoroughfare down to two lanes.

    July 28, 2014

  • Anti-smoking tour kicks off in Ashland

    A scan in 2009 that was supposed to show doctors what was causing Deborah Cline’s eye problems by chance revealed the cancer in her lung.
    Two years later, Roger Cline watched his wife die of lung cancer. Deborah Cline was 59 and had never smoked.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Gate City landmark demolished

    The historic Catlettsburg National Bank Building was being taken down after the front dormer window collapsed on Sunday.

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos

  • Local counties see drop in unemployment

    Boyd County was one of 117 counties that saw a decrease in its unemployment rate between June 2013 and June 2014.

    July 27, 2014

  • 0726bigboy.JPG Big Boy to open Aug. 11

    The long-awaited Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant will open Aug. 11, and when it does it will be business as usual from day one: the eatery will open its doors to the early breakfast crowd at 6:30.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • SOAR meeting at MSU Aug. 6

    Morehead State University and St. Claire Regional Medical Center will present Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers as part of a "Health Impact Series" under the new Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative.

    July 27, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone