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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive



The USS LCS (L)(3) #8 was commissioned on 31 August 1944 at George Lawley and Sons Shipyards, Neponset, Massachusetts.

The following officers reported aboard for duty as assigned:
Lt.(jg) Bert R. Durkee, D-V(S) USNR, Commanding officer
Ens. Sammie J. Harris, D-V(G) USNR, Executive officer
Ens. James W. Kronenberger, D-V(G) USNR, Gunnery officer
Ens. Robert E. Zwick, E-V(G) USNR, Engineering officer
Ens. Bobby N. Herr, D-V(G) USNR, Communication officer
Ens. Harold W. Stoddart, Jr., D-V(G) USNR, First lieutenant

The ship left Boston on 7 September 1944 for Solomons, MD, arriving on 9 September. After a one-week shakedown cruise in the Chesapeake Bay, Ens. Royal T. Daniel, Jr., USN, reported aboard to relieve Lt.(jg) Bert R. Durkee as commanding officer. The ship completed her shakedown cruise on 20 September and had post shakedown availability at Lamberts Point, Norfolk, VA. Availability was completed on 3 October.

In company with LCS (L) 7, the ship departed from Norfolk, VA for the southwest Pacific area. The following ports were visited enroute: Key West, FL – arrived 7 October and departed 11 October; Coco Solo, Panama – arrived 15 October and departed 17 October; Galapagos Islands – arrived 21 October and departed 21 October; Bora Bora, Society Islands – arrived 4 November and departed 6 November; and Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides – arrived 15 November and departed 21 November.

The LCS 8 arrived at Manus Island on 27 November and remained there until 27 December, when orders were received to proceed to Hollandia, New Guinea, to join Commander LCS Flotilla ONE for duty.  Eleven days were spent at Hollandia staging for the pending operations on Luzon, in which LCS Flotilla ONE was due to participate.

On 8 January 1945 the ship departed from Hollandia, in convoy, for San Pedro Bay, Leyte, Philippine Islands.  Upon arrival at Leyte on 15 January the ship reported to Commander Task Group 78.3 for duty.

Our first combat assignment was to participate in the Zambales area landings, scheduled for 29 January. We were part of the close fire support group, Task Unit 78.3.8, commanded by Commander LCS Flotilla ONE. The ship departed from Leyte on 25 January with the other ships in the attack force. At 0605 on 29 January, attack unit 78.3.8, consisting of 3 PCs, 4 SCs, 6 LCI (R)s and 6 LCSs, with other units of TG 78.3, arrived at the rendezvous area. The primary mission was to precede the first assault wave and provide close inshore fire support for it and the following waves. The ship took position at H-hour minus 60, 200 yards inshore from the line of departure. At H-hour, the LCS 8, in company with the rest of the task unit, led the first assault waves to the beach. Fire was withheld in compliance with orders of CTG 78.3. No enemy activity were encountered and the operation proceeded without incident. The 8 was then ordered by CTG 78.3 to proceed independently and investigate enemy activity in Salinguin Bay and Nagasa Bay. No enemy activity was observed and the ship returned to the beaching area and reported to CTG 78.3. The ship was then assigned screening duty in the area south of the beaching area for the night.

TU 78.3.8 departed from the area at 0400 on 30 January for Subic Bay. This task unit was made up of 1 PC, 4 LCI (R)s and 6 LCSs. Together with other ships of the task group, we arrived in the rendezvous area at 0815 on 30 January. The primary mission of the unit was to lead the assault waves to the beach on Grande Island, guarding the mouth of Subic Bay, and to furnish close-in fire support. The ship took position at 1000, a thousand yards from the beach, and preceded the assault waves to the beaching area. We withheld our fire, having been previously instructed to do so. No enemy activity was encountered and the operation proceeded without incident. The next few days were spent in routine work such as minor patrol and smoke screen assignments.

Our rest was ended on 14 February when task unit 78.3.8, consisting of 2 PCs, 6 LCI (R)s and 6 LCS (L)s, in company with other units of TG 78.3, arrived at the rendezvous area outside Mariveles Bay. At 0800, preparatory to launching an amphibious assault on the Mariveles Bay area, our unit was given the task of providing close inshore fire support on both flanks of the boat lane. After preliminary shelling by Destroyers, and high level bombing by B-24 Liberators, this unit proceeded into the bay along the left flank of the boat lane. Opening fire with all guns and rockets, we strafed the left flanks of the harbor area. No enemy activity was observed in our area. At 1100 we proceeded to patrol the entrance of Mariveles Bay with the LCS (L) 26, on orders of CTU 78.3.8.

Prior to sunset we took position in screen and anchored in line with four other LCS (L)s between Gorda Point and Cockines Point, our ship being anchored 500 yards off Gorda Point with the other stations occupied respectively by the LCS(L)s 7, 49, 27 and 26. All ships were ordered to stand a strict condition II watch. The situation remained normal until 0310 on 16 February when General Quarters was sounded. Two LCS(L)s were seen afire (caused by explosions). One was known to be the LCS(L) 7 and the other believed to be the LCS(L) 26. Men and officers on watch claimed to have seen the LCS(L) 49 explode and sink within 30 seconds; the 26 sank prior to the time our battle stations were fully manned. At 0315 our radar picked up a small target bearing 240 relative, range 600 yards. All guns were fired into the water in that area and several men claimed to have seen an explosion, but no known target was authentically observed.At 0320 our ship was underway, making tight circles in our own anchorage area.

At 0330 another target was picked up by radar, bearing 110º relative, range 700 yards. All guns were fired into that area, but no results were observed except that the target disappeared from the radar screen. At 0345 the LCS(L) 7 rolled over on its port side and sank. Its engines were observed to be running. We later picked up from the water one survivor off the LCS(L) 7, and a PT boat transferred 5 more men to us from the ill-fated 7. At 0600, on orders from CTU 78.3.8, we followed the LCS(L) 48 out of the harbor, returning at 0640 to find that the LCS(L)s 7, 26 and 49 had been sunk and the 27 beached and badly damaged.

The remainder of TU 78.3.8 was organized into a close fire support force for the landing on Corregidor. Commencing at 0900 on the morning of February 16th we started our primary mission of providing close-in fire support for the assault waves. During the landing of the first waves on the beach, the LCI(R)s were badly damaged by enemy fire from the beach, and had to be withdrawn.

The LCS(L)s 8 and 48 were left to support the incoming boat waves. The enemy used controlled mines, machine guns and artillery fire to oppose the landing.  Definite targets were taken under fire by our ship and all were silenced before our troops hit the beach.  During the landing we were forced to withdraw several times to let the guns cool.  We received no casualties during the operation but the men were very tired and nervous after their close escape the night before and the day-long firing into Corregidor after the Mariveles attack, with no rest between.  At 1430 our mission was completed and we returned to Mariveles and thence to Subic Bay.

The next week was spent having liberty on Grande Island in Subic Bay.  It was a very welcome respite for all hands.  Our rest ended when we were ordered on 24 February to join the Manila-San Bernadino Straits mine sweeping operation, consisting of TU 78.9.4, made up of 1 Destroyer Escort, 2 LCS(L)s and 1 LCI(FF); and TU 78.9.1, consisting of 1 AM (Minesweeper) and 15 YMSs (Auxiliary minesweeper), which was assigned the task of sweeping the destroying mines from the aforementioned areas.

On 24 February we entered Manila Bay at 0900.  The sweeping proceeded without incident; one floating mine and several floating oil drums were sunk.  At night, we cleared the area and cruised outside the harbor.  The next morning we entered the bay and resumed sweeping the harbor area.  Several native boats in the area were investigated, but only one was found to contain Japanese.  At 1350 we destroyed a Jap barge containing 6 or 7 Japs.  Several Jap suicide swimmers were observed in the area, and several attempts were made on ships of our unit.  The sweeping operations carried us to within 2 miles of the Manila breakwater.  No important enemy activity was observed, although fires and explosions were noted in the old walled city of Manila.  We returned to Subic Bay at sunset, with the Manila Bay operation completed.

The San Bernadino operation began on 27 February.  We proceeded with TU 78.9.4 on sweeps through the straits.  No mines were encountered and no enemy activity was noted.  This operation was completed at 0830 on 1 March 1945, at which time the LCS(L)s 8 and 48 were detached.

The 8 and 48 then proceeded to Catbologan, Samar, to report to the Burias and Ticao attack group.  We then joined task unit 78.9.10, and the LCS(L) 8 was assigned to the Ticao landing.  We departed for Ticao at 1830 in company with the LSM 316.  Several native boats were intercepted enroute to the landing beach, but all proved to be friendly.  We arrived off San Fernando, Ticao, at 0615 on 3 March and were guided into the beach by fires lit by the natives.  The troops disembarked by the LSM 316 met no enemy opposition.  We remained in the beaching area during the daylight hours and patrolled in the vicinity of San Fernando at night.

On 5 March we proceeded to Bulon Cove, Luzon to pick up 5 wounded guerrillas for transport to San Fernando.            On 6 March we departed from Ticao for Allen, Samar, to pick up guerrilla troops for transportation back to Leyte.  The troops were embarked on the LSM and the trip was made without incident.  We stopped off, in company with the LCS(L) 48, at Catbologan Bay.  Both ships anchored in the outer harbor waiting for the return of the LSM from Leyte.  At 2230 we destroyed a small boat that ignored warning shots and kept approaching our ship.

On 10 March we got underway with LSM 217 for Ticao.  The next morning the LSM withdrew the remainder of our troops from the island.  We were then detached from TU 78.9.10 and with the LCS 48 returned to Subic Bay. The 8 was idle for the rest of the month, during which time minor repairs were accomplished.

On the morning of 1 April we arrived at Legaspi, Luzon, Philippine Islands.  This operation was to be carried out by TU 78.4.2, consisting of 2 LCS(L)s, 2 SCs, 1 LCI(L) and 1 LCI(R).  The primary mission of the force was to affect a landing at the town of Legaspi.  Our ship was assigned to accompany TU 78.4.7 (minesweeping unit) into Albay Gulf and Legaspi Harbor as fire support for the unit, and later to provide support and counter-battery for the assault waves in the landing operation.

The sweeping of Albay Gulf and outer Legaspi Harbor proceeded without incident.  At 0630 we accompanied two LCVPs, which were to sweep inner Legaspi Harbor and clear the boat lanes.  During this phase we approached within 350 yards of the beach and at 0845 drew fire from the beaching area.  Three near misses struck simultaneously about fifty feet off our starboard side.  We returned fire with all guns and succeeded in silencing the enemy battery, which was evidenced by two heavy explosions in the target area.  The explosions from the near misses opened seams in our side, but not to a dangerous degree.

Following this phase of the operation, and preliminary air bombardment, we shelled and strafed the beach in our assigned area.  The landing proceeded without further incident.  At 1135, with our primary mission accomplished, we were detached from the task unit 78.4.2 and assigned, along with LCS(L) 48, to accompany TU 78.4.7 in minesweeping operations in the San Bernadino Straits area.  We were engaged in this operation until 1730 on 3 April, at which time we were detached and ordered to proceed to Leyte to report to CTG 78.3.

On 7 April the 8 was ordered to escort a convoy to Iloilo, Panay, by CTG 78.3.  We departed from Leyte that day and arrived at Iloilo at 0900 on 9 April.  Upon arrival the 8 and 48 were ordered to Cebu, where we reported to CTU 78.3.3 for duty.  On 11 April we were assigned as escort for a convoy returning to Leyte.

We had availability at Leyte for minor repairs.  Upon completion of the repairs we were assigned to TU 78.1.5, which was to report to Zamboanga and thence to Tarakan, Borneo.  We departed on 22 April 1945 and arrived off Tarakan on 27 April and were assigned to TU 78.1.31.  Our mission was to support minesweeping operations on Peter (invasion) Day -4, -3, -2 and -1, by gunfire and mine destruction.  In addition we were assigned to support the minor landing on Sadau Island, and the obstacle demolition operation of Peter Day.  On Peter -4 and –3 we were anchored in assigned station as navigational market to the minesweeping units. On Peter –2 we accompanied the minesweeping unit into Tarakan Harbor.  During the operation we exploded 3 mines by gunfire.

At 1315, LCVPs engaged in close inshore sweeping were fired upon and requested our aid.  We immediately proceeded to the beach area, shelling and strafing with all guns.  No further fire was observed from the area.  At 1415 we destroyed two enemy anti-aircraft open emplacements, believed to be of three-inch caliber.  Two more suspected AA emplacements were shelled, but no results could be observed.  On Peter –1 we entered the objective area as standby fire support for demolition units, but we did not take part in the actual operation.  At 0700 on Peter Day we took assigned station with the ships of TU 78.1.3, proceeding with the assault boat waves.  At 0800 we opened fire on our assigned target area, firing all guns and rockets.  At 0815 we ceased firing and stood by to permit passage of boat waves.  Sporadic automatic weapons fire was the only enemy activity noted and the operation was completed as planned.

At 1630 we got underway, in accordance with orders from the Task Unit Commander, to destroy a small boat.  The boat was intercepted and returned to the task group commander for inspection.  During the night we were anchored on our assigned radar picket station and no incidents occurred.  On 2 May we were ordered by the task unit commander to proceed north to Tarakan Island to support the minesweeping unit.  Enroute we intercepted a Jap speed boat and destroyed it by gunfire.  After joining the minesweeping unit, we were ordered to anchor on the outer edge of an influence mine field.  At 1530 the minesweepers were taken under artillery fire from the beach.  We went to general quarters and took the gun position under fire.  After getting underway we closed the target at flank speed in order the get in 40MM range.  As we closed their position the Jap gun shifted fire from the YMSs to the LCS(L)s 8 and 28.  When we were 1800 yards away from the enemy position the YMSs had cleared the area and we were ordered to retire.  Because of the aforementioned gun battle 1 YMS was sunk and 3 received direct hits.  After retiring from the target area we were ordered to proceed back to Tarakan Harbor.  The next few days were spent on picket station without incident.

On 10 May our ship was engaged in the salvaging of an LST off the beach.  The first LST was retracted without difficulty on the morning of 11 May.  That night we went alongside another LST in order to assist in retracting it the next morning.  In the retracting process the next morning both our screws were damaged.  We anchored after clearing the beach on orders of the Task Unit Commander. On 13 May 1945, we were taken in tow by a fleet tug, which took us to Morotai, arriving on 16 May.

We were assigned to TU 78.2.32 on 20 June.  This unit was scheduled to participate in the coming Balikpapan operation.  We arrived in the objective area with the close support unit on 24 June, under temporary orders to work with CTU 78.2.93, supporting underwater demolition operations prior to F-day.  On 25 June we started our work between 0730 and 0930 by supporting the demolition teams, which worked on the alternate beach area.  The only enemy activity noted was sporadic small arms fire, which was silenced by the strafing of the support ships.  At 2020 that night Japanese “Betty” bombers attacked shipping in our immediate area.  We took one plane under fire as it passed over our fantail, but results could not be observed.

On 26 June at 0625 we again took station in the alternate beach area in support of underwater demolition.  Enemy small arms fire was again noted coming from the beach, but effective strafing prevented interference with our operation.

On 28 June at 0730 we shifted to the main landing area with the demolition teams.  A torpex mine field guarded the beaching area.  One exploratory sweep had been made by our minesweeps through this field, resulting in considerable loss of our minesweeps.  The operation had to continue on schedule, so it was decided to send LCS(L)s through the field with the benefit of radar plotting from a DD.  We cut our speed to four knots due to the strong possibility that the torpex mines would be set off by too great a vibration from our engines.  This was accomplished successfully and we anchored in the field 1700 yards from the beach.  Automatic weapons fire was observed coming from the beach, and the small boats carrying the demolition teams were taken under enemy fire.  We opened fire, strafing and shelling the suspected area, and operations proceeded as planned.

At 0945 several near misses were observed on the starboard flank of the LCS(L) support line.  At 1015 our ship was taken directly under fire by an enemy battery and at 1020 we were hit through the base of the conn on the portside, resulting in shrapnel wounds to one officer and two men.  Skillful evasive action by our commanding officer was immediately employed and return fire was directed at the enemy battery, while the wounded were being attended to.  The enemy battery ceased fire soon thereafter and we resumed our station.  At 1045 we were again taken directly under fire by the same battery.  Again evasive maneuvers were employed, but the enemy succeeded in hitting us on the starboard side below the water line, after several near misses.   This hit knocked out our #1 generator, and the live shell remained lodged in the generator’s base.  Effective damage control measures were immediately employed to keep the ship in its assigned station.  At about the same time a third hit was taken through the port flag bag.  At 1050 we withdrew, with other ships of the unit, under sporadic fire from the same battery.  The operation was successfully concluded for the day and no casualties were suffered by the demolition team.

On 1 July we reported to CTU 78.2.8 and were ordered to stand by on call for the F-day landing.  At 0810, while proceeding with other ships of our unit to a new anchorage area, we were taken under fire and were forced to move to a new anchorage.  At 1855, on orders from CTU 78.2.8, we took position in our assigned screening station off the main beach and anchored for the night.  We cleared the beaching area each day and returned each night to our screening station.  Except for an occasional shell burst in the water from Jap artillery, things were quiet on our station.

On the night of 3 July, radar picked up a fast-moving target closing our ship.  General quarters was sounded and a boat was taken under fire when it came into 40MM range.  Due to the shortage of star shells, we were  able to illuminate the target for only a few seconds.  The boat closed our ship to 1100 yards before our 40MM fire stopped it.

On the afternoon of the 4th of July we departed from Balikpapan for Morotai.  As a result of our part in this operation a Silver Star was awarded to the Electrician’s Mate who applied damage control measures after the live shell lodged in the #1 generator.  The Bronze Star was awarded our Commanding Officer for his brilliant ship handling under point-blank enemy fire.  Four Purple Hearts were also awarded for wounds received in action.

We received emergency repairs and a well-needed rest at Morotai, where we remained until 23 July.  We then departed for Subic Bay.  Upon our arrival we were assigned by Commander LCS Flotilla ONE to train new Army personnel for the planned landing of Japan.  The war ended on 15 August and the training program was cut short.  We were then assigned to Task Force 71, the North China occupational force.

The LCS 8’s outstanding success was the direct result of complete coordination achieved by fine training and uninhibited cooperation.

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