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Progress Report Archives - October, 2007 - December, 2007

Progress Report Update
Posted December 30, 2007
Click on thumbnails for larger image

#1 Meet Nick Jochim, our newest maintenance man. Nick is a hard working young man and a good guy to have around.
#2 In preparation for winterizing the ship, Pete is at the controls for the bow ramp and doors. We'll be without daylight on the tank deck for several months now.
#3 Sam, Keith and Larry are awaiting the bow ramp to be raised into the closed position. They will then dog it down.
#4 The bow ramp is up and ready to be secured.
#5 Jim looks away as Ray strikes an arc to weld up a hole in the exhaust manifold on the port engine.
#6 Harry working on one of our welders. This is in preparation to the boiler removal.
#7 As always someone has to point out the proper way to go about doing the job. Doug is more than suited for this chore.
#8 With the boiler removal coming along Pete takes time to work on repairing one of the lights in the boiler room.
#9 A group of Mater Dei High School students toured the ship. Here Bob is explaining the after crews compartment and mess deck.
#10 Bill came all the way from Brandenburg, Ky to cook up a pot of soup and a batch of cornbread on a cold day in December.
#11 Pete's grandson receives his 80 hour badge.
#12 Ray and Pete present Ed with his 1000 hour badge.
#13 Pete presents Sherry and Fred their 80 hour badge.
#14 Gene receives his 1000 hour badge from Ray and Pete.
#15 Tyler, our youngest member, gets his 80 hour badge from Ray and Pete.
#16 Roy is needle gunning one of the cabinets from the galley. Preparing it for a new coat of paint.
#17 Gene silver solders one of the copper lines to the heat pump in preparation for heat in officers country.
#18 It is not unusual for someone to bring in goodies to the ward room. Here Howard samples some great cherry crisp.
#19 No matter how hard he tries to keep clean, it is bound to happen that Harry gets a hand dirty. Only one at a time though.
#20 Gene and Pete are placing a heat shield above where Gene will be soldering.
#21 Capt. Jornlin and Ray position a plaque to commemorate the contributions the Luhr family have made to the ship ..

Progress Report Update
Posted December 26, 2007
Click on thumbnails for larger image
#1 Ad in his usual position. Nursing all he can get out of the engines. These old engines still purr like a kitten.
#2 Wally is seen here working with Ad to keep the engines going.
#3 Capt. Jornlin speaking at the board meeting and announcing that he will not be a candidate for president this year.
#4 Bruce gives his report.
#5 Boats and Ron cleaning up fire hoses.
#6 After the hose is rolled Anna gets to carry it to it's storage space.
#7 Boats at the controls of the elevator.
#8 Doug and Boats removing the elevator cover in preparation of moving the vehicles to the tank deck for the winter.
#9 It's good to see Joe back in the galley. He shares a coffee break with visitors.
#10 Gene plumbing new lines to heat pump. It'll be nice to get that going this winter.
#11 Kenny and Anna working on getting the ambulance started. It's been sitting for a while and is a little cranky.
#12 Ray lends a hand with the ambulance.
#13 Kenny up close and personal with the carburetor on the ambulance. Sweet talk and patience gets it running.
#14 After lowering the jeep to the tank deck it is pushed off the elevator. It'll be on the tank deck for the winter.
#15 Harry and his crew work on the shore power cable. This is a big job that is finally coming to a close.
#16 Harry (green jacket) has no problem at all getting directions from his helpers.
#17 Ray did a fine job of fabricating a support for the shore power cable.
#18 Doug and Ray work on a safe opening in the life lines for access when we have a vessel tie up along side the 325.
#19 Doug is adapting an old cable spool to be used for line storage. This is mounted next to the stern anchor winch.
#20 Ray and Doug position the line storage spool while Pete looks on.
#21 Pete works on an electrical circuit in the galley.
#22 While all the work is being performed on aboard the tours are still going on. This is part of a group of 100. Our tour guides always step up when they are needed.
#23 Say hello to our new Board of Directors President. Terry Tull. Terry was elected at the last board meeting.

Progress Report Update
Posted December 19, 2007

#1 Temporary lighting has been installed in the boiler room in preparations for the removal of the boiler. The removal work will be contracted out to a private construction company.
#2 Millard Wilke, the official ships bugler, plays for memorial ceremonies.
#3 Reitz High School students interview Charlie for the production of their television program that can be seen on the public access channel.
#4 Cotton and John are continuing to refurbish the twin forty mount on the stern of the ship. It is coming along very nicely.
#5 Mike briefing tour guides prior to the arrival of more than a hundred elementary school students.
#6 Students from Scott School arrive for their tour. This was a very well behaved group. It was a pleasure to show them around the ship.
#7 As the Scott group finished their tour they gathered on the main deck to ask questions of Mike.
#8 Tour guides speaking to groups of reunion attendees.
#9 Ray making repairs on aft fire control tub.
#10 Ray and Gene are welding brackets for the large cable that supplies shore power to the ship. Up to now this cable has been draped across the ship but now it will be very neatly strung in it's own brackets. The next several photos will show the progress on this project.
#11 Ray welding on one of the many brackets that are needed to hold this cable in place.
#12 Harry moves chop saw to cut brackets. (It's really not that heavy.)
#13 Harry cuts more brackets to be welded along bulkhead.
#14 Gene takes his turn with the stinger.
#15 This photo shows the cable nested in the brackets that have been installed.
#16 Harry, Ray and Doug wrestle the shore power cable in to the disconnect box.
#17a Same crew continue the termination. Of course someone always has to be in charge.
#17 Final termination of shore power cable.
#18 Pete needle guns on the aft Fire Control Tub.
#19 Dave, on one end of the wire, helps Harry to ring out electric circuits.
#20 Harry on the other end of the circuit checks to make sure the wires go where they are supposed to.
#21 Openings in the starboard life line are made safe by Doug. More on this in the next report.
#22 There is nothing like having a happy painter on board. Here Marvin is applying a coat of primer to the aft Fire Control Tub.
#23 When you paint it's always nice to have a good apprentice to help out. Here Larry paints on the same F. C. Tub. You will notice that Larry is painting under Marvin. Maybe that's the reason for Marvin's big smile ...

Progress Report Update
Posted November 20, 2007
Captain's Update

Hi LST Fans --

Just a short update on LST 325 and Annual meeting info.

We held the seventh annual meeting on Nov. 14, 2007 at 1000 hrs in the Executive Inn, Evansville, IN. We had about 25 members in attendance. The main business is to elect 3 board members for a three year term and one replacement for a two year term. Close to 450 votes/proxies were sent to the CPA. We had one floor nomination. Those elected to the board were: Ray Rappold, Ray Cashen, Garry Hisel, and Bruce Voges. Many thanks to Terry Leahy and Don Chapman who retired from the board and have given many years of valuable service. 

A general summary of the past year was given, a treasurer's report, minutes from last year's meeting were handed out. The floor was opened for comments, motions, new and old business, etc. The meeting was adjourned.

The LST Memorial Board meeting was then called to order by President Robert Jornlin, roll taken, new members introduced, minutes of the Aug. board meeting read, another treasurer's report and the call for nominations for 2008 Memorial Officers was made.

I requested that I not be nominated for President. I have asked to be replaced several times, feeling that I have been in the President's job for all seven years since we have been back with the ship. I firmly believe that all offices should be rotated, especially the president of an organization. New people come with new ideas, new ways, new enthusiasm. They also can learn what the job of President is all about on LST 325.

They can start fresh with an open mind, they can see things from a different view. They do not carry the scars of battle, the differences of opinion that have come up in the course of trying to do what is best for the 325.

I am very happy and satisfied with the job I have done. It has not been perfect; I am not perfect and never said I was. It certainly has not been easy. I have always tried to do what is best for the ship. I have made some very tough decisions, but I am not sorry for any of them. I have absolutely no regrets. I plan to stay on the board, and I am still the Captain. I will give 100% support to the new President, Mr. Terry Tull, and to all of the board members, and Mike and Sandy Whicker.

New Memorial Board officers are:

Terry Tull, President
Ron Bezouska, Vice-President
Bruce Voges, Treasurer
Ray Cashen, Asst. Treasurer
Kenny Adams, Secretary
Garry Hisel, Asst. Secretary
Directors: Ron Maranto, Ray Rappold, Bob Jornlin

A couple highlights of the meeting: 

Work Week in April to be April 5 - 13th. 

Clarification of hours the ship is open:  Will now read closed at 4:00pm instead of last ticket sold at 4:00pm.  The tour guides asked for this.  People were thinking we still sold tickets until 5:00pm. 

Discussion on forming a Memorial Foundation to protect the financial future of the ship.

 The ship has come a long way in restoration; we have made many trips, have a great home in Evansville, and have hundreds of supporters and volunteers. We have always paid our bills and the Memorial is financially sound. I was told you will never get the ship away from the Souda, Crete pier -- we did against all odds. I was told it would never make it across the Atlantic -- it did. I was told it would never sail again -- it has. I was told you cannot run a ship with volunteers -- we have. I was told people will not continue to come and see an LST -- they have and they do. My personal goal (one of them) was to emphasize and make everyone aware of the important role LSTs have played in our wars. This is something that historians have missed or just left out. When the "Hero ships" segment to be on the History Channel soon comes out,  I believe that goal will be fulfilled.  Watch your listings for the "Hero Ships" and be sure to see the one on LST's which features our LST 325.

Bob Jornlin

Progress Report Update
Posted October 21, 2007
An LST Week Recap by Susie Bloom

Many have asked about the experiences of LST Week 2007.   To relate the atmosphere, we must take a voyage - a voyage back in time.   NOW HEAR THIS!  Captain Jornlin orders:  “Set the Special Sea Detail!”  later followed by the Bo’sun’s cry  “Single up all lines!“    The Bo’sun soon cries  “Cast off all lines!”  A long blast from the Ship’s horn echoes…

We drift back...  30 years to Vietnam...  50 years to Korea...  or 60 years to WWII...  and to times and places during all of the years in between.  Hands reach out to grasp the memories eagerly, pulling in the lines that connect us to other places and other times, to each other, to a very special ship….

Special surprise events were held throughout the week.  An excellent presentation (given many times to overflow crowds) on the Brodie Gear by Ken Crawford; special appearances by dignitaries including the Lt. Governor of Indiana, the Honorable Becky Skillman; Art Pope who did a marvelous presentation as Gen. George Patton were all very well received and attended.  One of the highlights late in the week was a very special surprise - a viewing of a rough cut edition of the upcoming "Hero Ships" saluting LST's.  Shuttles and buses were provided throughout LST Week to ease transportation needs.  Food and snacks were plentiful for all who wanted to partake.

Poignant moments...   a Veteran standing quietly at the rail, gazing out at the river but in truth voyaging back to the seas of his youth.  Private moments, quietly supported by a son standing at attention beside his father; seeing back through the years in his father's words and memories.  A silence of honor and respect as he listened to the tides of memories his father was sharing.   A Veteran seated in a chair along the rail with tears flowing freely as he thought of his shipmates and knew that they were sharing the experience with him in spirit.  He honors them by remembering.  The widow who exclaimed with smiles that she felt so close to her husband at this particular time - even though he had passed away several years before - their love still vital and alive.

Ship mates, now bound more closely together by their reunion.   The sons and daughters who reveled in the experience of being on an operational LST, anxious to savor every moment of this dream come true. The professionalism of the sailing crew who, while feeling the strong appreciation of their guests, attended to the ship's operation with skilled efforts in their assigned duties.

A veteran who quietly shared that this would be his last sail in this life, wanting to make sure that those who organized the event knew how much it meant to him.  I paused to give thanks to God above for each and every Veteran who fought for our freedom to enjoy this occasion; for each member of our Gold Crew who toiled to return this ship for us to experience; the Board who plans for the ship's future; for each pair of hands that have chipped paint, wielded a paintbrush, welded steel, coiled lines, oiled machinery, hoisted signal flags, obtained permits and plans, investigated voyage routes, operated LCVPs, folded letters, sold souvenirs, answered the telephone, donated money or materials and equipment and prepared meals to fuel the force.  Each is an integral part of the whole that has become The Ship Memorial. 

Memories fashioned those lines in the best tradition of marlinspike seamanship with patterns of thought and experience intertwined to show the finished product – a history of preservation of freedom, a beautiful work of art presented by those work-worn hands.

One evening, when returning to the Executive Inn, I stepped into the elevator to go to the Hospitality Room. Getting into the elevator behind me was a World War II Veteran. As I turned, I saw him looking at the men in the elevator behind us. He looked up at them and held out his hand. His words were so simple, yet moved me deeply. "I see you served on the York County…" One of the Vietnam Veterans raised his eyes and looked into those of the WWII Veteran, holding out his hand. Their hands clasped firmly, the WWII Veteran continued, "I want to thank you for your service… so many of you have never been thanked properly, and I want you to know how much you are appreciated." As the elevator doors opened, I discovered tears in my eyes and a very full heart; I knew that I had been
privileged to observe a very special event between very honorable men. Each of us went our own way, forever changed, forever grateful.

Many Gator Sailors enjoyed touring the displays at Marina Pointe, looking at the vehicles of those who are affiliated with the River City Thunderbolts Military Vehicle Collectors Club.  The Thunderbolts will be integral in the 2009 MVPA Convention in Evansville and the World Water Week that for the first time will be held outside of Europe, and of course our LST.  Their love of the vehicles and equipment that our LST's carried makes the partnership perfect.All too soon, Sunday morning dawned.  The hotel lobby was full as Sailors and their families preparing to disembark, on leave and headed for home.   Tearful goodbyes were said with smiles and heartfelt hugs were shared with promises to make plans to meet for LST Week 2008.  Smiles were seen on every face, hearts were overflowing with newly created memories and the fresh recall of past events.  Many exclaimed that they would need a vacation from the vacation…  and a few days to ‘rest up’. 

Out on the Ohio River, I thought about how many people I have been blessed to meet, being involved with the LST 325 and Ohio LST/Amphibs.  Each one has their own story to share, each one very special in their own way.  Each one an important part of the LST family.  The actions of 28 men who had a dream began all of this.  28 men from very different backgrounds had the same heart’s desire.  28 men who refused to hear the word “can’t”.  28 men who set an example of what it means to work for something worthwhile.  28 men who weren’t afraid to do whatever it took to achieve their goal.  Each one is a gentleman, each one a hero.  Let us all learn from them.  We are very fortunate to call them friends.  We are blessed to know them.  Their lives and actions are like a ship’s bow cutting through the sea…  the water breaks against the bow, the waves ripple out expanding and spreading their pattern over the surface. 

These 28 men of the Greatest Generation are sharing their mission with us.  The very least we can do is join them.  We must haul in our share of the line by volunteering, doing public relations, sending donations or any one of numerous tasks to be performed.  It is our time to learn and recruit others to learn.  By doing so, we honor the Gold Crew who returned the ship to us.  We honor all of our Veterans, our fathers, uncles, brothers and friends who served.  We ensure that LST 325 will be shared. 

We draw on our gloves and will learn to handle the lines, a promise in our heart to honor and thank them always.  The waves ripple outward….

Progress Report Update
Posted October 13, 2007
More LST Week 2007 Photos
Visit by Indiana Lt. Governor, LST Week Banquet and Canteena

Can't wait 'til LST Week 2008!

Progress Report Update
Posted October 11, 2007
Captain's Update

The river trip is over, LST WEEK is over, summer is over, and all have been great! The year 2007 is winding down, but will be long remembered -- how fast they go when you are having fun! As you know already our trip up the Illinois River was a Huge success with over 38,000 LST FANS coming aboard to see this historic, great ship. Someone in Peoria said "Who is going to come here and see an LST?" I love it and so do the ones who worked hard in Peoria to get us there. Then they worked harder to make our stay a success; but they smile when the line of kids and adults gets two blocks long! This statement is made in every city we have stopped and when we open the doors -those disbelievers eat their words in big gulps. When will these people learn that LST 325 is an IRON MARVEL, a kid's fancy, a deck full of memories, an impossible dream, the veterans greatest wish, the biggest traveling WW II museum ever, the real thing, history that's alive, haze gray and underway. It is liked by young and old, and truly loved by those not so old - that remember when. It was said that when a Veteran sees that ship his mind, his thoughts, his every feeling goes back to 1945. He is not here in the US, he is somewhere -- Normandy or the South Pacific, maybe Korea or Vietnam. Don't even try to talk to him; he will be telling you of his encounters and experiences once he is aboard and has a moment to his thoughts and memories.

LST WEEK was also like that on Thursday, Sept 27, 2007 -- a day not many will forget -- when they got another ride on an LST. They got to see friends, make new ones, felt that rolling deck, smelled the exhaust of the two mighty GM 12-567's as they came to life, and the ship pulled away from the dock into the Ohio River. I cannot imagine the thoughts of these Navy veterans. All I know was the many hand shakes and thank yous given to the crew and to me.

The whole week was super; everything went as planned even though we more than doubled our crowd. The hotel, Executive Inn, did a fabulous job. The Evansville CENTRE that served the banquet to almost 700 people also did a great job. Mike and Sandy Whicker deserve most of the credit; but they had some great volunteers that worked hard to make all happy, feel welcome, have a good time, and make this LST WEEK a big success. Thanks to everyone who helped.

All of you LST FANS have a big surprise coming this fall -- I wish I had the dates, but LST 325 will again be a star on the History Channel. There will be a 13 part show called "Hero Ships" and the LST will finally get the recognition it deserves. One segment of this show will be on the importance of LSTs in the Wars with LST 325 being featured throughout the story - the bloody battles, invasions in the Mediterranean Sea, Normandy and many of the South Pacific Islands being told. It tells how and why there came to be a ship like the LST, how they were built in the Midwest, how D-Day was set back so more could be built. It is one true story that has never been told up until now, but this fall it will be told from the failed "Operation Tiger" and "West Loch" disasters to success after success because the LST brought the goods to the beach. I can hardly wait fans. Oh! I forgot, there will be the story at the end of how 29 Vets returned an LST to the US! Now how could I forget that part?

Bob Jornlin, Capt.

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