WWII veteran takes emotional tour of LST 325 at Ingalls Harbor

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DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) -- William Rose recalls memories from his time aboard the USS Electo, a ship very similar to the LST 325 currently docked at Ingalls Harbor.

His family invited WHNT News 19 to take a tour of the LST Friday, because it's a ship that brings these memories flooding back to Rose.

He served in the Navy as a petty officer, working primarily as a radar operator.

He was just 18 years old, and somewhat scrawny [by his own description of his build] when he was first assigned aboard. He tells us his time in the Navy changed his life for the better, mainly because that's how he met the love of his life, his wife of 69 years.

"I grabbed her," he said, "and never let go." In the background, she laughs at his description of their meeting at a port on the East Coast.

But it also changed him physically.

"Gunners' mates, they had cotton in their ears," he said. "But we didn't have nothing! And all that noise, that was the beginning of my hearing loss."

Friday he took a tour of the LST with his family. His daughter Debbie Bailie watched his eyes light up as he walked aboard, pointing out similarities between the ship and the Electo.

"To be able to see where he was during World War II, it's been really exciting. Just to be with him," said Bailie.

Rose has been very eager to share his past with the people he loves.

"They can see the pictures and stuff, but [it's] just the idea that's the ship I was on," he said.

At one point, Bailie's emotions got the best of her. She watched her father showing them where he once slept aboard the Electo using a model of the LST on the lower deck and said, "Just to be able to share [this] with him while he's still alive..."

This time, the ship is a memory the whole family can share.

3 comments

  • terry

    my dad was in WWII aboard LST 181 and I took him to Decatur to tour the ship…He was in complete awe att he ship and served aboard the LST 181 for 26 months.

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