By Albert Emil Klumpp
Landing Ship, Tank (LST), or tank landing ship, is the naval designation for ships first developed during World War II (1939-1945) to support amphibious operations by carrying tanks, vehicles, cargo, and landing troops directly onto shore with no docks or piers. They were fondly called “Large Slow Targets” by the crew.
March-28-1943 Sunday – Solomon’s, MD
From barracks #9, in the Solomon’s, Maryland, we left for Washington, D.C. We went by bus at 13.00. It was a clear cool day. Our bus was first to arrive. Al MacIntyre, Richard Grant, Halbraum, Craig and others had one hour before train departure in which to see Washington. After buying some small trinkets, we boarded our train and headed toward Philly. We laid over North Philly Station for a quarter of an hour. We stopped directly over Broad St. We than made our way through Philly, past Frankford and other sections of our city and then headed toward NJ. After passing through Newark, we then pulled into Grand Central Station. Instead of boarding our ship we were taken to Pier #92, the worst place that I have ever been in my life. We did not unpack. We slept in our dress clothes and most fellows walked the floor all night to keep warm and to protect their belongings. I, of course, slept.
March-29-1943 Monday – Bayonne, NJ
This day we got our things together and were taken to Bayonne, NJ. We found our ship here. It was a new L.S.T.
March-30-1943 Tuesday – Bayonne, NJ
I stood my first watch. It was in the port troop compartment. That night we were invited to the Hotel Plaza. It was an affair given for our flotilla. I went with Kipley and Kenny. Kep got separated from us and Kenny and I continued on together.
March-31-1943 Wednesday – Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
After the six of us, the new firemen, painted the officer’s quarters, we were given Liberty. I arrived home at 24.30, that night. I sat and talked with mother, Dad and Ed (Al’s brother), before retiring.
March-32-1943 Thursday (as written wrong date) – Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
I visited Lt. Forsyth in the Wiedner Bldg. I also visited Ens. Hunter, Lt. Commander Holt, Lt. Borlick, Chief Grieves, all of the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
April-3-1943 Saturday – Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Today our Liberty expires. I met Johnson and others at 0:400 at Philadelphia Station and proceeded to our ship.
April-10-1943 Saturday – Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Between April 3 to the 10th our ship was being completed at Todds. Today we left for Brooklyn to have our L.C.T. (Landing Craft Tank) put on. This took two hrs. after which time we returned to Todds.
April-11-1943 Sunday – Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Workers are finishing their jobs.
April-12-1943 Monday – Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Today I was given our pay accounts and took them to Pier 45. After straightening our pay accounts I was granted special liberty to the next morning.
April-13-1943 Tuesday – Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
We left for Pier 42, where we took on medical soldiers.
April-14-1943 Wednesday – At Sea
We left Pier 42 for sea. It was early in the morning when we passed the Statue of Liberty; we then joined our convoy.
April-15-1943 Thursday – At Sea
The water got quite rough and sea sickness occurred.
April-17-1943 Saturday – Bermuda
Up to this date we had no trouble. We arrived at Bermuda. It was late in the afternoon when we reached there.
Al in the LST 351 Engine Room
LST 351 Landing in Normandy