A Historic WWII Ship is Docked in Wisconsin for Labor Day Weekend

Visitors will be able to explore the ship’s interior, uncover its historical significance, and get a deeper understanding of what day-to-day life looked like for those who bravely served and lived aboard the LTS 325. Photo Courtesy Jeff Boyne

By Salina Heller

August 29, 2023

The USS LST 325, used on D-Day to bring troops and equipment to storm the beach, is hosting tours in La Crosse this weekend.

A one-of-a-kind ship that helped turn the tide for the Allies will be open for visitors one weekend only in Wisconsin.

The USS LST 325 is permanently docked and open for tours in Evansville, Indiana. But once a year, crews take the last fully-functional ship of its kind out for a cruise.

Then

A Historic WWII Ship is Docked in Wisconsin for Labor Day Weekend

The LST 325 beached while unloading equipment and supplies at Kulusuk, East Greenland around 1960. Photo Courtesy NavSource Online

LSTs were first used during World War II to help Allied forces invade areas held by the enemy.

Their specially-designed hulls and flat bottoms allowed them to run their bow directly onto beaches and unload cargo quickly, according to the United States LST Association. They could land on just about any type of shore.

LSTs were massive and could carry twenty Sherman tanks, in addition to 40 trucks, fuel, ammunition, supplies, and, of course, soldiers.

RELATED: Wisconsin’s Surprising Contributions to World War II

Now

A Historic WWII Ship is Docked in Wisconsin for Labor Day Weekend

The LST 325 just after docking in La Crosse. Photo Courtesy Jeff Boyne

The LST makes its annual cruises to share its mission with more people. The ship is outfitted to look exactly as it did during WWII. Visitors can explore the main deck, troop berthing area, the tank deck, mess, galley, wheelhouse, officers’ areas, and the captain’s cabin. That’s possible thanks to a crew of about 50 volunteers. 

“The average age of our crew today is 70 or 71 years old,” Chris Donahue, a member of the ship’s board of directors, explained. Many veterans who once volunteered onboard are no longer able to do so due to age. “We’ve got to have more youth injected.”

If You Go

 

The LST 325 will be docked along the Mississippi River from Aug. 31-Sept. 4 near downtown La Crosse’s Riverside Park.

Visitors will be able to tour the ship between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. It’s $15 for adults, $7 for children ages 6 to 17, and free for children 5 and younger.

Next, the ship will head south to Dubuque, Iowa, from Sept. 7-12 and Hannibal, Missouri from Sept. 15-18.

You can learn more about the ship and the cruise here.

A Historic WWII Ship is Docked in Wisconsin for Labor Day Weekend

The Navy transport vessel is at La Crosse’s Riverside Park on the Mississippi River and will be open for self-guided tours. Photo Courtesy Jeff Boyne

 

 

Author

  • Salina Heller

    A former 15-year veteran of reporting local news for western Wisconsin TV and radio stations, Salina Heller also volunteers in community theater, helps organize the Chippewa Valley Air Show, and is kept busy by her daughter’s elementary school PTA meetings. She is a UW-Eau Claire alum.

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