Thursday, September 01, 2005


Old warship expected to dock in Evansville weathers Katrina


August 30, 2005

LST 325.

EVANSVILLE, IND. -- A World War II-era warship that is to be moored in the city this fall rode out a storm surge from Hurricane Katrina in Mobile, Ala., its captain said.

Late Monday afternoon, Capt. Robert Jornlin, who was not on the LST 325, said his second-in-command Bruce Voges and his crew had a tough day of it trying to keep the ship docked. They had to loosen lines to allow the vessel, pushed upward by a 15-foot surge, to remain in its slip on Mobile Bay.

"We're fortunate again that we missed the direct hit," said Jornlin from his home in Earlville, Ill. "I feel for all those people along the Gulf."

Jornlin had just gotten back home after a month in Iceland for filming of a movie "Flags of Our Fathers," based on the famous photograph showing the raising of the American flag on Iwo Jima.

He was there to discuss the possibility of filming some scenes in Evansville using the ship, which he did not want hauled to Iceland.

Now he's trying to decide which route to take to Evansville.

Jornlin said he hopes he can sail the ship to the city, which means reaching the Ohio River near Paducah, Ky., via the Tennessee River.

Otherwise, the ship would have to be towed via the Mississippi River. Downriver current is swift on the Mississippi, and the trip to Evansville would take too long under LST 325's own power, Jornlin said.

The warship will be permanently docked on Evansville's riverfront as part of a World War II museum. The ship is identical to vessels built at the Evansville Shipyard during 1942-45.

"I'd better have it up there Oct. 1," Jornlin said. "Or else, I'd better go back to Iceland and stay there."


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