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In One Ear: Power to spare

D-Day ship finds new life as passenger ferry
By Elleda Wilson

The Daily Astorian

Published on February 2, 2018 12:01AM


Astoria writer Peter Marsh (sea-to-summit.net) came across a maritime history nugget: What is believed to be the last World War II D-Day ship is still in active service as a ferry in New England according to ProfessionalMariner.com (tinyurl.com/DDayferry).

USS LST 510 delivered soldiers, tanks and jeeps to Omaha Beach during the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, and stayed offshore to serve as a hospital ship. Then for three months the vessel made trips back and forth to England, taking wounded soldiers there, and bringing supplies back to the front, risking attack from enemy submarines and aircraft. She received a Battle Star for her efforts.

Decommissioned in 1946, and part of the Reserve Fleet in the 1950s, the renamed USS Buncombe County was sold several times to various ferry companies, finally winding up at her current berth at Cross Sound Ferry Services in New London, Connecticut, as the M/V Cape Helopen (tinyurl.com/lst510). She is pictured, courtesy of ProfessionalMariner.com

The historic vessel was in the news recently because she was repowered with two new engines and state-of-the-art transmission and control systems, making her one of the very few members of the Mothball Fleet that is still in good working order. Long may she rule the waves.



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