Last operational Landing Ship Tank (LST) visits La Crosse

Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 4:27 PM CDT
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (KTTC) – The last operational Landing Ship Tank, LST-325, is open for tours from Thursday till Monday at La Crosse’s Riverside Park.

LST-325 crew says these ships played a crucial role in World War II. It was designed to be a supply ship that can land on beaches to support Allied soldiers.

“These weren’t the sexy ships like the aircraft carriers or battleships. These were the truckers of the war. So, as you can imagine after an invasion, you got to have an ungodly amount of supplies delivered and that’s what these ships did.”

LST-325 Captain Bob Kubota

According to the crew, there were no ships of this kind before World War 2. They said Winston Churchill remarked these ships as one of the reasons for winning the war.

“Of the 1051 ships, this is the last one that operates. That’s why it is so important. It’s not just an old ship but it is historic. Without this ship, the English would say we’d be speaking German today. And it’s probably true. Hitler would have gone into the UK and taken over the entire Europe, and that’s why it is really important.”

Retired Navy Captain Bob Hargrove

For many people visiting this floating museum, there is a special connection as their past family were on board this ship once.

“One thing I found out over the years is that a lot of people would come out and they would say, ‘I know my dad landed at Normandy from an LST.’ Even if it wasn’t this ship, it was identical to this, so it helps them get some personal history involved as to what their grandfather or great-grandfather did.”

LST-325 Captain Bob Kubota

Visitors can tour the historic ship at La Crosse’s Riverside Park from Thursday till Monday between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.