Step Aboard History at the USS LST 393 Veterans Museum!

Calling all history, WWII and maritime buffs! Set sail for adventure in Muskegon, Michigan, at the one-of-a-kind USS LST 393 Veterans Museum. Leave behind the ordinary museum experience – here, you'll step aboard a piece of living history, the historic Landing Ship Tank (LST), a vital vessel from World War II. She's one of only two LSTs left in their original configuration! So, climb aboard, and take journey through time and discover the legacy of this remarkable ship.

USS LST 393 Captains chair and wheel in pilot house

The Birth of a Legend

The story of the USS LST 393 began in 1942. Her keel was laid down on July 27th at the Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Company. Just a few months later, on November 11th, she was launched, ready to be fitted for service. By December 11th, the USS LST 393 was officially commissioned, standing tall and ready to play her part in the fight for freedom.

USS LST 393 mannequins dressed in WW1 uniforms

A Hero of WWII

Assigned to the European Theater during World War II, the USS LST 393 played a pivotal role in major campaigns, including

  • Sicilian occupation (July 1943)
  • Salerno landings (September 1943)
  • Invasion of Normandy (June 1944), earning three battle stars
  • She was also prepared for the invasion of Japan, painted in tropical camouflage

During its service, the USS LST 393 carried over 9,000 soldiers and 3,200 vehicles and made 30 round trips to Omaha Beach. Across 75 voyages to foreign shores, the LST 393 covered an impressive 51,817 nautical miles throughout the war.

Engine room below deck at the USS LST 393 museum

Airborne Advantage

LST 393 stands out among its Landing Ship Tank (LST) counterparts for its unique aircraft capability. Unlike most LSTs, it was equipped with the Brodie landing system for deploying and recovering a light aircraft. This innovative system utilized a wire strung from the bow to the stern on the port side. A small plane, typically an L-4 Grasshopper, could then take off and land using a snare pole. This provided valuable reconnaissance and scouting capabilities.

In 1946, the USS LST 393's distinguished military service concluded with a decommissioning on March 1st. It was subsequently removed from the Naval Vessel Register on March 14th.

USS LST 393 Exterior Deck and conning station

From War Hero to Auto Ferry: A Unique History

After her wartime service, the LST embarked on a new chapter. Sold to the Sand Products Corporation in 1948, she was converted for merchant service. Renamed Highway 16, the ship spent years transporting new automobiles across Lake Michigan! Now, at the museum, you can learn all about this unique period in the ship's history.

LST bow entrance and lake

The Journey Continues

The story of the USS LST 393 didn't end with her military service. Restoration efforts began in 2000, with dedicated individuals striving to preserve this piece of history. Despite initial setbacks, a renewed effort in 2005 by Muskegon residents Dan Weikel and Bob Wygant reignited the project. Their perseverance paid off – in 2007, the LST's bow doors swung open for the first time since the 1940s, marking a significant milestone. The museum welcomed its first visitors that same year. For his dedication, Weikel received the Historic Naval Ships Association's Casper J. Knight Jr. Award in 2018. The collection continues to grow, with the addition of an 18,000-pound anti-aircraft cannon in 2019.

Overview of USS LST 393 museum displays

Walk the Decks of History

Learn about the pivotal role the USS LST 393 played in major WWII campaigns like the Sicilian occupation, Salerno landings, and the D-Day invasion. Imagine the roar of engines and the bravery of the crew as you walk her decks. Discover displays brimming with artifacts that whisper tales of wartime courage and sacrifice.

First aid room aboard of USS LST 393 museum shows mannequin in WWII naval uniform standing next to cot in small room with medical supplies

Interactive Exhibits Bring History to Life

Forget dusty displays! At the USS LST 393 Veterans Museum, history comes alive through interactive exhibits. Descend into the engine room or explore restored living quarters – imagine bunking down like a WWII sailor! Don't miss exhibits honoring the contributions of women in the military, America's courageous war dogs, display of WWII uniforms, hats, helmets, weaponry, and more.

WWII reenactor in WW2 outfit stands before A three-inch 50 caliber naval gun on deck of USS LST 393 museum

More Than a Museum

The USS LST 393 Veterans Museum is more than just a history lesson – it also offers unique events. Relax with yoga sessions on the deck under the summer sky, enjoy movie nights under the stars, or step back in time with the annual D-Day commemoration, featuring a USO-style swing dance, reenactments, and WWII plane flyovers.

Bronze statue of ww2 soldier playing trumpet with ww2 landing ship docked in distance

Strike a Pose with the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy!

Don't forget to snap a photo with the life-size bronze statue of Clarence Zylman, the iconic "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" who inspired the famous WWII song! You will find Clarence blowing his bugle on the lawn of the museum. 

aeriel view of bikers on bike trail bridge going over water with WWII landing ship tank in background

A Designated Scenic Stop

History buffs and road trip enthusiasts, take note! The museum is a designated stop along the scenic West Michigan Pike, a Historic Byway. It's named by Pure Michigan as one of 20 particularly scenic stops along the Byway.

Display of military helmets and headgear from around the world at the USS LST 393 museum

Tailor Your Trip

Customize your experience with self-guided or guided tours. Explore at your own pace with self-guided tours, or dive deep into history with guided tours led by expert storytellers. Some decks may require navigating stairs or ladders, but the tank deck is wheelchair accessible. Let the museum know of any accessibility needs in advance, and they'll be happy to assist.

Military jeep at entrance to the USS LST 393 museum

Plan Your Adventure

Ready to delve into American history, honor veterans, and explore captivating exhibits? All aboard the USS LST 393 Veterans Museum! Open seasonally from 10 AM to 5 PM. Weekends only in the months of May and September. Tuesday through Sunday June through August. 

Photo of bow of uss lst 393 museum ship with text on right that reads VIEW VISITOR GUIDE