Ernie Andrus, a 93-year-old World War II Navy veteran, has completed what may well be his last major mission. The nonagenarian has finally finished a coast-to-coast run to raise money for a cause near and dear to the old vet’s heart.
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Andrus’ run was an effort to raise money to get LST 325, which is currently in Indiana, back to the coast of Normandy, France in time to commemorate the ship’s role in the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.
Andrus saw service on a similar ship. He was a medic. Andrus is one of a very few WWII vets still alive, and one of very few capable of making such a run.
Back in 1999, Andrus helped crew LST 325 when the old girl set from Greece where it has been in service with the Greek Navy since the end of WWII. And now it is time to take the ship back across the Atlantic.
The History Channel produced a documentary on the voyage called “Return of LST 325.” The documentary follows the ship back to the U.S., where it landed in the Port of Mobile–where many WWII era ships were built.
Andrus started his expedition run in San Diego, California. He ran clean across the south in the hottest months of the year. He ran all the way to St. Simmons Island, Georgia. And now, after turning 93 along the way, he’s finally arrived at the Atlantic.
Along the way, Andrus ran the equivalent of a marathon a week for ten straight months. he met many people–some of whom ran portions of the distance with him. Many of those showed up in Georgia for the final leg. When he finally saw the Atlantic, there were a couple of hundred people with him, shouting “Ernie, Ernie.”
He has a website set for donations to help get LST 325 get back to France: http://coast2coastruns.com/.