A Tale Of A 'Kid' And A Mission
It's common to call the captain of a ship "The Old Man."
So it was funny when Bob Jornlin's crew started calling him "The Kid."
Funny, because he was 61. But then … the average age of his crew was 72.
And what a crew it was. And what a ship it was. And what an adventure they had bringing her home.
The ship was an LST or Landing Ship Tank and the captain was Robert Jornlin, a farmer from Earlville in La Salle County, Ill.
Capt. Jornlin has written a book that tells the tale of these old men and the sea — how they repaired and then pushed LST 325 more than 6,000 miles from Greece to America, with a crew of 29 salty, aging veterans. All volunteers.
The book Bringing Back A Hero details the sweat, aching joints — and guts — needed to bring the aging ship home in 2001.
LST 325 was a warhorse, putting men and machines on the beaches, including Omaha Beach in June 1944.
There's a website dedicated to LST 325, and a link to the book.
Jornlin said his book is about never giving up.
He had to fight another war to get the LST home, battling politicians on both sides of the ocean, a jungle of red tape, health issues, mechanical problems and, oh yes, the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.
He had signed up for a six-week project that turned into months.
Jornlin stayed as captain and has taken LST 325 from its port in Evansville, Ind., to more than 45 cities since her return.
And now he has turned the CONN over to a new captain.
But will he walk away?
Of course not. He plans to stay involved.
And no doubt, LST 325 will always stand ready to pipe aboard "The Kid."
I'm Lonny Cain … and this is my perspective.