He was a retired Navy LST officer who wanted one last tour around a Landing Ship Tank’s bridge.
He made it. Almost.
Mathias Joseph Wey became a rarity among Navy men in 1957; the University of Notre Dame grad was a Navy ship “plank holder” for USS LST 1171. That means he was on the very first crew at her commissioning, June 10, 1958. Ensign Matt Wey was the communications officer listed on the invitation to the formal commissioning ceremonies at U.S. Naval Station New Orlean.
After his ship landed on Omaha Beach at Normandy, sailor Paul Grambsch carefully lowered a tattered American flag to the deck. He rolled up the soiled fabric and tucked it into a sea bag that would be found more than 50 years later, upon his death.
That flag saved by the Midwesterner is just one of many artifacts preserved on the World War II ship where it was first hoisted. Next weekend, people will journey to the west coast of Michigan to visit the USS LST 393, which delivered soldiers and tanks to the battle that led to the liberation of Europe and the defeat of Adolf Hitler.
The nation’s top historic ship group honored the founding father of Muskegon’s USS LST 393 Veterans Museum with its most prestigious award this year.
But all Daniel Weikel wants to do is share the honor … with all the volunteers who have made the warship museum successful over the past 13 years.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” said Weikel when he was presented the large crystal-onyx award at the museum board’s annual year-end dinner. “But it belongs to all of you and all the other volunteers who done such amazing work.”
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USS LST 393 passed one of its most rigorous inspections this weekend with flying colors.
Cdr. G. Wayne Hessemer, USNR (Ret.), former captain of two LSTs, came aboard and looked over Muskegon’s historic World War II landing craft from top to bottom. He inspected the tank deck, the crew’s quarters, the galley, officers’ wardroom and the wheelhouse. In all, he climbed five steep navy ladders from water level to the top of the ship, the conning tower deck, his former battle station.
Hessemer is 100 years old.
"These ladders were easier when I was in the Navy," he said with a grin while leaning on his cane, “but I'm doing OK."
No one knows LSTs like Hessemer.
MUSKEGON, MI -- The stars came out Saturday night, May 17 for the Muskegon Catholic Central High School prom, which was held at an unusual venue.
The school's junior class, which organized the prom, chose the USS LST 393 for the formal spring dance. The World War II Landing Ship Tank is docked in downtown Muskegon at 560 Mart St.
In May 2012 - the first year that a Veterans' Job Fair was held in Muskegon - Robert Wells was an attendee hired to sell insurance.
Two years later, on Friday, May 16, he was the one doing the recruiting.
"The companies that come here are serious," Wells said. "They're willing to hire you even if it's outside of your field."
Wells said that the Grandville-based agency for which he works -- which exclusively sells Allstate products – is looking to open new offices.
The job fair Friday targeting veterans was a success, organizers said. The event on board the LST-393 Veterans Museum attracted about 400 attendees and more than 90 businesses. It's the third year the event has been held in Muskegon.
A months-long World War II community lecture series presented by Muskegon Community College will cover everything from the War in the Pacific to the German Blitzkrieg, and from Muskegon's own "Arsenal of Democracy" to the Holocaust.
The lecture series is being presented in conjunction with the USS Silversides Submarine Museum and the USS LST 393 and will include several guest lecturers. Lectures also will be streamed live on the Internet, and will be offered as a for-credit college course.
Beginning on Jan. 6 and lasting through April 21, the public will have the chance to attend any or all of the Monday evening lectures that will be held at the Silversides museum, 1346 Bluff St.
MUSKEGON, MI – The USS LST 393 Veterans Museum at Mart Dock seemed more a living room party on Saturday as dozens gathered to watch the University of Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State University Spartans football game.
The event, which served as a family-friendly fundraiser for Big Brother Big Sisters of the Lakeshore, allowed Muskegon-area residents to donate to a local nonprofit while enjoying the annual competition between the state’s two elite college football programs.
MUSKEGON, MI -- Veterans and scouts honored their country Sunday at the USS LST 393 Veterans Museum with a flag-retirement ceremony.
The event, the first time hosted by the museum, was conducted on the day before Veterans Day.
Scouts from Boy Scout Troop 1053, Venture Scout Crew 9053 and veterans from the American Legion Post #9 conducted the ceremony, saluting the flags as they burned.
A 7,500 pound three inch canon used during WWII for shooting down enemy planes was moved onboard the USS LST 393 on August 22, 2013. The turret is on loan from the Fruitport VFW.
MUSKEGON, MI – People sit inside of the USS LST 393 during the "Movies on Deck" showing of Jurassic Park on July 26, 2013 in Muskegon. More than 130 people came to watch the movie.
MUSKEGON, MI – About 80 businesses and organizations set up to meet veterans and job seekers Friday, May 17, in the hold of the USS LST 393, a retired tank transport ship.
The event was geared for, but not limited to, veterans of the U.S. armed forces. Organizers said a steady stream of a few hundred attendees cycled through the event, which started in the morning and ran into the afternoon.
MUSKEGON, MI (MLIVE) - The 14-foot-high bow doors of the USS LST 393 that Sherman tanks drove through in 1944 on D-Day were covered with dirt and rust. LST 393 restoration work on Muskegon Lake.
That was a sore spot for the board of directors of the USS LST 393 Preservation Association, which has been operating a nationally known veterans museum out of the ship at the Mart Dock on Muskegon Lake since 2007.
The gigantic bow doors of USS LST 393 are getting a fresh coat of paint ... the first in 70 years.
Whatever we do, it cannot be done without loyal and dedicated volunteers. You can help! Visit our Support Page for information on how you can become a part of this important mission.
Muskegon has graciously climbed on board to save USS LST 393’s “Movies on Deck” film series for 2012.
The free movie program was imperiled by high fees charged by Hollywood studios. But supporters of the historic World War II warship's veterans museum, located at the Mart Dock on the downtown waterfront, stepped up in a big way to fund the series for the whole summer.