OSWEGO — The H. Lee White Maritime Museum will unite D-Day and World War II veterans with the museum’s U.S. Army Transport, LT-5, the last functional U.S. Army vessel that participated in the Normandy landings, at a commemorative event Sunday, June 6, the 77th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.
The tug is owned by the Port of Oswego Authority and maintained by the museum. The H. Lee White Maritime Museum is located at 1 W. First St., Oswego, at the West First Street Pier overlooking Oswego Harbor.
“We think it most fitting to welcome veterans of World War II, the D-Day invasion and their families at the LT-5,” said Museum Executive Director Mercedes Niess. “These veterans and this veteran tug are symbols of one of the greatest undertakings in world history and we continue to honor their service. “
The LT-5 will be open for tours to the general public free of charge from 1-4:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 5 and Sunday, June 6. A commemorative ceremony and tours of the vessel exclusively for WWII veterans and their families will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, June 6.
The LT-5 Major Elisha K. Henson was one of the first large tug class built to transport equipment for the Normandy invasion. According to the U.S. Naval Institute, fewer than 30 documented vessels that served on D-Day are still afloat, and only five are barely above water. According to the National Park Service, this makes Oswego’s LT-5 the last functional U.S. Army vessel that participated in the Normandy landings.
Port of Oswego Authority Executive Director William Scriber, a decorated military veteran who served in Desert Storm/Desert Shield with the U.S. Army Special Operations Airborne Command, says he is looking forward to welcoming fellow veterans to this special event. “We are very proud to have preserved and maintained the LT-5 so that our veterans and members of the public can see a unique piece of history docked right here in Oswego at the West Pier.”
World War II veterans and their family members who would like to attend the June 6 ceremony are asked to call the museum for more information at 315-342-0480. For more information about the maritime museum visit https://hlwmm.org or call 315-342-0480. For more Oswego County history, go to http://visitoswegocounty.com.
On June 6, 1944, LT-5 left Exmouth, England as part of a fleet of tugs, barges, merchant ships and concrete caissons with the mission of establishing artificial harbors to ensure the steady supply of men and materials needed for the continued assault on German forces. Delayed by heavy winds, LT-5 arrived off the coast of Normandy in the early morning hours of June 7.
After waiting for instructions, LT-5 moored her barges to a sunken LST and began the logistical tasks for which it was assigned. Tugboats were not spared from enemy attack, and as recorded by her logbook entry for June 9th, — “Planes Overhead. Everyone shooting at them. Starboard gunner got an F.W.” — A German Luftwaffe fighter plane known as Focke Wulf. For the remainder of the month, LT-5 towed barges and landing craft to the artificial harbor code-named “Mulberry A” off Omaha Beach. “Mulberry A” — the American harbor — was completed on June 14, 1944 (D-Day +8), and in just four days had landed 11,000 troops, 2,000 vehicles, and 9,000 tons of equipment and supplies.
After remaining in service throughout the war in Great Britain, LT-5 returned to the United States and was assigned to the Buffalo, NY District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in May 1946.