LST-325 visits Brandenburg, thousands attend




The LST-325 drew thousands to the Brandenburg riverfront over the Labor Day weekend. Visitors were able to see the last LST that can sail on its own, and they were able to get a special tour of the inside of the ship, learning how soldiers lived and worked during the war.


 LST, or Landing Ship Tank, vessels were born from the outbreak of WWII. Winston Churchill needed a way to get troops, tanks and supplies onto enemy beaches, and he tasked United States Naval Architect John Niedemair with designing something to meet those needs. The boats were designed with bow doors that open to allow a ramp to be lowered onto the beach. Each ship could hold 20 Sherman Tanks, 200-400 troops, and 30-40 vehicles. More than 1,000 were built for WWII, and they served in both European and Pacific Theaters. They were so useful that they were reactivated for Korea and Vietnam.


 The visiting LST-325 is the last fully operational WWII LST, and it continues to sail the nation’s inland rivers to share the history of the vessels, and the men and women who built and served on them.


 The Meade County History Museum’s Gerry Fischer, who was instrumental in bringing the boat to Brandenburg, said that the museum saw an influx of visitors, more than doubling their usual traffic while the ship was docked in Brandenburg. Planning for the visit actually began before the pandemic with the boat scheduled to come last year, but due to COVID-19, the visit had to be rescheduled. The Meade County Chamber of Commerce, City of Brandenburg, and Fiscal Court all collaborated with the History Museum to bring a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to Meade Countians and visitors from around the country. Many traveled hours to see the ship. Brandenburg saw as many as 15,000 visitors from at least four states. So many people lined up to tour the ship that, toward the end of touring days, the line had to be cut off so that a schedule could be maintained.


 LST volunteers were very complementary of Brandenburg, saying that they had never been treated as well as they were here. They praised Brandenburg Police Chief Brian Haag for his efforts in making sure that volunteers were transported both up the hill and to the local VFW when needed.


 The ship’s visit was integrated into the Rumble by the River event. There were more than 60 vendors, a car show, book fair, historical demonstrations, and a variety of other activities and events for guests to enjoy.


 For more information on the LST-325 and its schedule, visit www.lstmemorial.org.

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