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D-Day: Muskegon ship was there 75 years ago

By Jon Mills/WZZM-TV • Jun 6, 2019 at 11:00 AM

MUSKEGON — The USS LST-393 is now moored on Muskegon Lake near downtown Muskegon. Seventy-five years ago, it took part in one of the most important events of World War II: D-Day.

The ship made more than 30 round trips to the beaches near Normandy, France, carrying tanks and the supplies necessary to win the war.

It's believed only two LSTs remain. The one in Muskegon is now a museum packed full of exhibits and photos.

Landing ship tanks were useful in the D-Day invasion because of their big front doors that swung open, allowing a ramp to be deployed to get tanks and troops onto the beach.

"It saw action in Italy, Sicily and Normandy, but mostly in Normandy," said Ike Villalpando, LST-393 museum manager.

After unloading, the ship was used to transport wounded soldiers and German prisoners.

It was prepared to unload on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, but the landing location was too congested. So, it anchored offshore for two days, eventually making its first landing on June 8, 1944.

Among the museum's collection is the American flag that flew over the ship during that first beach landing. It was recently located by the son of the ship’s engineering officer and sent to the museum to go on permanent display.

The museum is open seven days a week. There are a number of special events planned all summer long, including ship’s Movies on the Deck film series, with "Saving Private Ryan" to be shown at 8 p.m. today (June 6).

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