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Last year I got the call to volunteer aboard the LST 325, WW II tank ship as one of the pilots. I boarded at Decatur on a Tuesday afternoon. Was given a tour, and shown to my room. We departed Wednesday morning and arrived in Evansville, the ships home port, on Friday evening.  Met a few of the crew and felt very welcomed. An amazing opportunity that I will never forget. The average age of the crew was 71.4yrs. Youngest 48, oldest 96. Sad that younger people aren’t getting involved as much as you would hope. 
The ship is amazing, and the story of its life and recovery is a great read, written by one of the people who brought it back from Greece. “Bringing Back a Hero” is the book. 
I was scheduled to return again this year, but COVID has cancelled the years trip. 
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Awesome.

 

I just put the book in my reading list.

 

About 15 years ago I got the chance to ride in a WWII  Beechcraft Model 18 AT-11 Kansan twin engine bomber that was built in Wichita, Kansas while my Grandmother was a 'Rosie the Riveter' at Beechcraft.  I have no idea whether my Grandmother worked on that particular plane, but it was definitely a possibility.

 

We got to do a fly-by of the Oakland airport control tower and a couple of practice bombing runs on ships in the Bay.  Those were some brave men who flew that era of bombers into combat.

 

Nolan

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4 hours ago, Flatland Shooter said:

Great story and great photos.

 

Any chance there are more pictures you can share?

 

Thanks.

Many many more, lol. I’ll have to reduce them, most are too large, file size wise
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The absolute coolest thing was when one of the crew who has ridden nearly every trip the ship had taken was sitting in the control tower with me, told me “you’re in a pretty select group, there’s probably been more men on the moon than have driven this ship since she came home”
Pretty humbling moment

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On 7/8/2020 at 5:52 PM, gmantwo said:

Dang things went sideways

they will do that on an LST. would be very cool to do a few days or a week on one of them old things. im a newport class LST guy myself. would be interesting on a smaller version. 

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Anyone can volunteer, you don’t have to be a Merchant Mariner. They have a work week in the spring and fall for both deck and engine room. You live on the ship in port, all meals provided. They like everyone to do 40 during the work weeks before joining the yearly cruise. Just to see if you are not an ass and can get along with everyone, and that you are suited for life aboard. 

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