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24th  Edition

September 2003

Old Guys do it Again!
'PRICELESS' Trip up the Mississippi, Ohio rivers raises $500,000


LST-325 welcomed 74,000 visitors during its 78-day trip on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, its captain, Robert D. Jornlin, 64, of Earlville, Ill, said Tuesday after the World War II-era transport ship returned to Mobile.

While LST-325 easily surpassed its goal of earning $500,000 in donations and souvenir sales, Jornlin, said the experience of the trip was "priceless."

"Veterans who served on LSTs and the widows of veterans who served on LSTs would come on the ship and shake your hand and thank you for bringing it to their city. They might have stood in line for two hours in the hot sun, but they would tour the ship and come out with a smile on their face." 

"Some visitors helped build LSTs in shipyards along the Ohio River. Other visitors served on them, and others have gone to see the type of ship their fathers or husbands served on decades ago."

"One veteran who hadn't gotten out of bed in three years came to see the LST-325 in Evansville."

Jornlin said another highlight was when "a 103-year-old lady came to visit the ship in Jeffersonville. She welded LSTs during the war. She wanted to come aboard and see one once again."

The journey, which began in Chickasaw in early June, included visits to Vicksburg, Miss.; and Greenville, Miss.; as well as Memphis, Tenn.; Cape Girardeau, Mo.; St. Louis; Paducah, Ky.; Evansville, Ind.; Jeffersonville, Ind.; and New
Orleans.

By far the biggest crowds to see the ship were in Evansville and Jeffersonville, where thousands of LSTs were built during World War II. Some 27,500 people toured the LST-325 in Evansville

(Continued on page 6)

Old Guy comes Back
Veteran Grateful for Chance To Sail On World War II Ship


When Howard Buhl disembarked in January 1946 from his home of the previous 25 months, the naval transport ship LST-494, he had no intention of ever spending another night aboard such a vessel.

The ship, hastily constructed for service in the European theater of World War II, was designed to be an effective conveyor of military equipment, not a pleasure cruiser. The ship was noisy, cramped and bereft of privacy. It lacked cooling and insulation, so that its interior climate mirrored the outside conditions, whether frigid or sweltering.

"I slept every night on board that thing except three days in Seattle and the 30-day leave we had in Boston when they were working on it," says Buhl, a Lakeland resident. "I was ready to leave."

And so why in the world was Buhl bunking aboard an equally austere ship this summer at the age of 79? After 57 years, the veteran welcomed it as an opportunity he had never expected to come again.

Buhl sailed on the LST-325, the last operational vessel of its kind during a celebratory voyage up the Mississippi River that began in June. He reprised the role of motor machinist mate that he had held during the war, when he assisted in the Allied invasion of Normandy.

"That's the last one there is," Buhl says. "I wanted to get on board."

When the LST-325 arrived in Mobile, Buhl was waiting on the dock, along with many other veterans, family members and military buffs. Buhl, a retired treasury agent, made two more trips to Mobile to contribute his services during the two years of renovations that preceded this summer's voyage.

As plans commenced to show off the ship with a

(Continued on page 7)


President
Marion Goble
(239) 768-1449

president@usswhetstone.net


1st Vice President
Jim Dunn

1stvpres@usswhetstone.net
(858) 566-1745

2nd Vice President
L. E (Rusty) Draper
2ndvpres@usswhetston.net
(361) 364-1917

Secretary/Treasurer
Kay Goble

sectreas@usswhetstone.net
(239) 768-1449

Membership Chairman

membership@usswhetstone.net
(858) 578-8926

Chaplain
Marvin Watson

chaplin@usswhetstone.net
(402) 421-8957

Parliamentarian
Bill Martin

parliamtn@usswhetstone.net
(281) 427-6828

Newsletter Editor
John Worman

newsletter@usswhetstone.net
(505) 437-9872

The Rolling Stone is a Quarterly publication of the USS Whetstone LSD-27
Association, INC. The
Association is a non profit, historical and educational    organization dedicated to promoting fraternal, civic, patriotic and historical memories of those who served aboard.

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