Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Naval History Division • Washington

USS Lesuth (AK-125)

A star in the constellation Scorpius representing the sting of the scorpion.

(AK-125: dp. 4,023; l. 441'6"; b. 56'11"; dr. 28'4"; s. 12.5 k.; cpl. 237; a. 1 4", 1 3", 8 20mm.; cl. Crater; T. EC2-S-C1)

Lesuth (AK-125) was laid down as William M. Gwin 24 March 1943 by California Shipbuilding Corp., Wilmington, Calif., under a Maritime Commission contract; launched 17 April 1943; sponsored by Miss M.B. Follis; acquired by the Navy 9 October 1943; renamed Lesuth 11 October 1943; converted at United Engineering, Alameda, Calif.; and commissioned 1 November 1943, Lt. Comdr. B.H. Bassett in command.

After loading cargo, Lesuth departed San Pedro 14 November, arriving Pago Pago, Samoa, on the 30th. Four days later she arrived Funafuti, Ellice Islands and for the next 3 months engaged in training exercises in the South Pacific.

From Funafuti she steamed to the Marshall Islands, arriving Kwajalein 6 March 1944 as a unit of Service Squadron 8. Lesuth remained in the Marshall Islands until she departed Kwajalein 6 August for Guadalcanal. She loaded cargo in the Solomons and Russell Islands, then sailed from Manus 14 September en route to the Palau-Western Caroline campaign.

The Palau Islands were of strategic importance as an advance base for the invasion of Leyte. The initial landings took place 15 September, 5 days before Lesuth arrived off Kossol Passage. For the next 2 months she remained off Peleliu unloading cargo needed for the Philippine assault. Sailing to Tulagi and Guadalcanal in late November, the cargo ship departed on the 26th for San Francisco.

After overhaul, Lesuth rejoined Service Squadron 8 at Eniwetok 11 February 1945. Later that month she sailed for the Philippines, arriving San Pedro Bay, Leyte, on the 28th. Following 6 weeks of cargo operations off Leyte, she steamed to the United States during May and June for additional supplies, then returned to Ulithi, 25 July. When the Japanese surrender ended World War II, Lesuth was used to carry provisions to the occupation troops in the Far East. From September 1945 to May 1946, she made cargo runs to Japan, the Philippines, Okinawa, and Saipan, finally departing Saipan 5 May. Arriving San Francisco on the 24th, Lesuth remained there until 2 July when she sailed for Pearl Harbor, and decommissioned there 16 August 1946, Lesuth was returned to the Maritime Commission 29 May 1947 and was struck from the Navy list 17 July.

Lesuth received one battle star for World War II service.

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey (patrick@akamail.com)