War History of the U.S.S. LST-1097

The war history of the U.S.S. LST-1097 began with a precommissioning ceremony at the Jeffersonville Boat and Machine Company, Jeffersonville, Indiana, on 1 February 1945. The ship was placed in full commission at New Orleans, Louisiana on 8 February 1945 by a representative of the Commandant, Eight Naval District, after a seven day journey down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Ship's complement consisted of nine (9) officers and one hundred six (106) enlisted men.

All necessary alterations effected, provisions and fuel aboard, our next destination was St. Andrew's Bay, Panama City, Florida and shakedown -- a period of 14 days when all hands made mistakes. During these hectic days, we learned how little we actually knew about the wartime operation of a ship. The intensive training given the crew at the Amphibious Training Base, Camp Bradford, Norfolk Virginia, now began to function. It became an endless series of fire drills, general quarters, abandon ship and various other drills, in addition to beachings, moorings, refueling at sea and other necessary operations. Yes, we endured it and finally sailed back to New Orleans for our final check-up period.

The next few weeks were spent at New Orleans, Louisiana; Gulfport, Mississippi; and Mobile, Alabama respectively; making preparations for departure to the Pacific theater.

On 19 March 1945, we set sail from Mobile, Alabama with a capacity load of ammunition and pontoon barges enroute to Eniwetok, where we hoped we would find a ready market for our cargo.

Colon, Panama Canal Zone, served as our last source of supplies before our long journey across.

Most of the crew of officers and enlisted men gazed upon the Pacific Ocean for their first time at daybreak, March 1945. Following a few hours of anti-aircraft practice, we set sail for Eniwetok Atoll, alone, without sight of land for 30 days.

Nobody seemed interested in our cargo at Eniwetok, so a load of personnel was placed aboard -- destination Guam. Additional personnel were assigned to us to transport to Ulithi, West Caroline Islands, where we were sure we would unload our precious cargo.

Naval authorities at Ulithi informed us that our destination was Okinawa, a campaign launched since our departure from the Panama Canal Zone. We soon became a part of a large convoy headed for Okinawa.

An inexperienced crew with only few exceptions, spent their first sleepless night as we approached Kerama Retto Channel early the next morning; we saw the results of a few unfriendly visitors on the previous night.

During the following six weeks we became an integral part of the logistics support forces, supplying battleships, cruisers, carriers, and destroyers with ammunition so necessary in this phase of the campaign. At any hour of the night or day we might expect a ship of the line alongside for a supply of ammo. With this schedule, in addition to the weather, the many air raids and alerts, most all hands experienced a new type of life.

On 1 July 1945, we were ordered to Leyte, Philippine Islands, with ammunition consigned to the army air corps. For the remainder of July and August, we discharged our cargo and made all necessary repairs, which included a new paint job. Days began to get quite long as we were placed on a four hour alert. It was during these long days, while peace terms were being discussed, that rumors of the next mission were being exchanged. Our loading was delayed for several days until the announcement of the premature peace offer.

On 27 August 1945, we were ordered to Batangas, Southern Luzon, Philippine Islands, to load army personnel and equipment. Having received our load, we spent a short period of watchful waiting during the signing of the peace terms.

On 6 September 1945, we set sail for Japan with army occupation forces, arriving in Tokyo Bay, Japan, on 15 September 1945. Between this date and 6 November 1945, we were engaged in shuttle runs between various parts of Okinawa and Japan with occupation forces to Sendai in Northern Honshu and the Tokyo Bay area.

Two typhoons interrupted our regular scheduled operations - the first occurring on September 29 and 30 and the latter on October 9 and 10. On both occasions we put to sea, barely escaping the fury of the first; but not so lucky on the latter. We endured two most unusual days in the history of our lives, returning to Nago Wan, Western Okinawa, with most of our ship intact.

We were ordered to Guam, from Tokyo Bay, on 6 November 1945. Arriving there on 12 November, we were assigned a load of army personnel, destination San Pedro, California.

Our first "Magic Carpet" run began at Guam on 15 November when we set sail for Pearl Harbor with 492 army personnel, and ended with a change of orders at Pearl Harbor.

On 1 December 1945, the U.S.S. LST-1097 ended her duty as a part of the Third Amphibious Fleet, buy being assigned to the Service Force, Pacific Fleet, for supply duty.

Thus, the war history of the U.S.S. LST-1097 ends in Pearl Harbor, awaiting entry into Navy Yard for conversion, with thirty-three percent of the original crew aboard. The remainder of the crew of officers and men having been transferred -- low point men remaining in the forward areas and the high point men being discharged. As to the future, we are yet waiting further assignment to duty.

Wanderings Abroad of the U.S.S. LST-1097
Left   Arrived   Miles
Mobile March 19   Panama March 26   1280
Panama March 30   Eniwetok April 30   6600
Eniwetok May 2   Guam May y   1380
Gaum May 10   Ulithi May 12   360
Ulithi May 15   Kerama Retto May 21   1500
Kerama Retto July 1   Leyte (Samar) July 6   960
Leyte (Samar) August 26   Batangas Bay August 29   600
Btangas Bay September 6   Tokyo Bay September 15   2640
Tokyo Bay September 20   Okinawa September 24   900
Okinawa October 18   Sendai October 24   1140
Sendai October 27   Yokohama October 29   300
Yokohama November 6   Guam November 12   1650
Guam November 15   Saipan November 16   150
Saipan November 16   Pearl Harbor November 19   3230
Pearl Harbor April 1   San Diego April 10   2400
  TOTAL   25,090

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey