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WWII vet, 92, running along Coast, nation as fundraiser for ship

GULFPORT -- It was a cold, gray day as Ernie Andrus ran along the beach on U.S. 90 from Long Beach to Biloxi.

But for the 92-year-old World War II Navy veteran, the 8-mile run was just another day on his journey.

Andrus decided in 2013 he wanted to run from the coast of California to Brunswick, Ga., a few miles at a time.

"I plan to be on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean a day before I turn 93 in August," he said.

During his trot along Gulfport's beachfront, he was joined by several people waving American flags.

"I meet people in every town," he said. "Meeting people has been one of the best things about my trip."

Andrus is using his trip to raise money for something he said he believes is very important.

"I was on a ship in the Greek islands during World War II," he said. "I want to get that ship back to Normandy where it belongs."

The ship is the USS LST 325, he said, which has been the subject of documentaries, including one on the History channel.

He said he has not yet reached his goal.

"I'm way short of the money that I wanted to raise," he said. "It will take a lot of money to get that ship back to Normandy."

But he said he is optimistic.

"I'm going to keep on running," he said. "Hopefully, I will make my goal. But if not, at least I will have reached my goal ton across the country through nine states."

Andrus will be running to the Biloxi Lighthouse on Saturday, then will cross the Biloxi Bay Bridge.

To donate Andrus' cause, go to