Paul Gerolstein Story - LST 515

PAUL GEROLSTEIN - U. S. Navy – LST 515 - Gunners Mate 2nd Class 
(Deceased May 2018)

I remember it as if it were yesterday.  We board the troops in South Hampton.  We all thought this was the invasion as the troops were armed and had hand grenades hanging from their jackets.  We put out into the Channel and our  LST,  the 515,  was  the flagship.   We  awakened at  some time  around  02:00  by  the  alarm  of  General  Quarters.  I  grabbed  my  life  jacket  and  went to  my battle station which  was  a  20mm  gun,  amidships  on  the  port side.  When  I  went  out on  deck,  I  couldn’t believe how dark it was.  Literally, you could not see your hand in front of your face.  Then the Germans started shooting flares over our ships and illuminated our convoy.  One of my shipmates, Gilley, said a torpedo had passed under our ship.  I looked aft and saw one of our LSTs get hit.  A fire ball rose 60 to 70 feet in the air.  Our radar gave us the German positions and we started to return fire.  I vividly remember the German tracers were light green while our tracers were red.  The convoy was given orders to scatter and the battle was over before we knew it.  As it was approaching daylight, our captain, John Doyle, decided to stay on station to pick up survivors.  “We came here to fight the Germans and we will stay here and fight!” he ordered.  We threw cargo nets over the side to pick up survivors.  Many of the crew went down the nets to assist the survivors.  A fellow crew member named Gerhard Jensen, from Norway, and I worked side by side.  I recall that he was a rather big man and very strong.  I wrapped my legs around the cargo net so as not to fall in myself.  I believe he and I picked up four or five survivors.  I don’t remember the exact number of troops our ship picked out of the water, but I believe it was around 170.  We put back into port and the wounded were transferred to the hospital.  The medical personnel were ordered, under threat of court martial, not to ask anybody as to what happened.  It was imperative that the Germans did not know what we were doing.  

Paul Gerolstein, Sr., Far Right  (Deceased) at German E-Boat S130 Restoration Site 2009
Nathan Resnick, LST 511, Left
Frank Derby, LST 496, Center (Deceased)


LST 515

Remember When  -  Written by Paul Gerolstein, Sr.


Way back in 1941,

World War II had just begun.

The call to arms was loud and clear,

The men came running from far and near.

We joined the Navy to do our part,

We left our loved ones with a saddened heart.

We went to sea as sailors do,

On mighty ships as part of the crew.

We swabbed the decks like sailors should,

And we manned the guns like I knew we would.

We hit the beaches without a doubt,

Brought in the troops and the wounded out.

We did our jobs and we did them well,

And victory was ours when the enemy fell.

But that was years, long gone by.

When we think of them now, it brings a tear to your eye.

And now we’re old, our hair is gray,

And we lost some sight along the way.

And in parades our numbers are small,

But we who are left can stand real tall.

Because we were there and can say to one and all….

Our proudest days were way back then,

When we served our country as fighting men.


An original poem written by Paul Gerolstein

Exercise Tiger – LST 515