This often-overlooked Muskegon attraction is one of only two LSTs (landing ship tanks) remaining in the world. Relics of World War II, these mighty warships were designed with hulls big enough to transport troops and tanks overseas to the United Kingdom, and from there, on to battlefields throughout Europe. LSTs reached new levels of fame on D-Day, when they delivered soldiers to Omaha Beach in the Allied invasion of Normandy, France.
Inside the craft's holding area, where as many as 28 tanks once fit, the LST 393 now houses a Veterans Museum with a hodgepodge of automatic rifles, WWII propaganda posters and a replica living room circa 1944. The thrill of visiting LST 393, though, lies not in its museum displays, but in the opportunity to explore all her nooks and crannies. Metal staircases lead to crowded bunks where troops slept and the community bathrooms the soldiers used. Visitors can also see the kitchen, the mess hall, the helm and the radio room where news of the progress at Normandy was broadcast. Seeing the ship firsthand, it’s hard not to imagine the thoughts that must have gone through young soldiers’ minds as they approached this decisive battle.
Operated entirely by volunteers, the USS LST 393 is open for public tours from April through October.