Saturday, September 04, 2010

The USS LST 325 in Pittsburgh

A bit of World War 2 history has come to Pittsburgh for a visit.  The  USS LST 325, the last of the World War 2 LST's is visiting Pittsburgh for the first time.  They will be in town until Sept 7th.  The Landing Ship, Tank, as the Navy referred to it, is a floating museum based out of Evansville, Indiana, but twice a year she is taken out on tours.  This ship actually delivered troops on the beach at Normandy on D-Day.  LST are designed with a large "tank" deck that is capable of carrying tanks, heavy artillery and other equipment needed for a beach invasion.  Basically, these ships were designed to run right up to the beach, open their huge bow doors and disgorge their troops and gear, then reverse course and head back for another load.  The Navy built over 1,000 of these ships during WW2 and ironically, they were intended to only make one trip, of course many of them paid for themselves many times over.   Here are a few pictures of the LST that I took when visited the ship last Thursday

The troops and gear were deployed from the large doors at the bow of the ship

A  WW2  Vintage Personnel Carrier.

The Crew Galley,  the galley I cooked in on the California wasn't quite this big.


 . 50 cal machine gun
One of four 40 mm anti-aircraft guns.  These ships were lightly armed, they depended on the larger warships in their battle groups for their major protection.
The Wheelhouse
A view forward from the superstructure.

The Officer's Wardroom, where the ship's officers took their meals.

The Captain's Cabin.
The superstructure with a MASH jeep in the foreground.
One of the 2 40mm AA gun mounts at the bow.  Notice the 'Don't Tread on Me'  Battle Jack flying at the bow.  All US Navy ships fly the Battle Jack during the War on Terrorism shortly after the 9/11 attacks.
One of the berthing spaces for the embarked troops.  Four star accommodations, but no mint on the pillow?
A WW2 DUKW (Duck) Amphibious Personnel Carrier.
In short, this is a piece of living history, and I for one, as a ex-Navy man was proud and grateful to have a chance to see this ship, although  I don't know If I would have wanted to ride her in WW2.  But thanks to the LST 325 volunteers for bringing her to Pittsburgh.
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