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A Brief History of LCS(L) 13
Joseph A. Bilodeau, Crew Member
LCS 13 was built by the George Lawley Company of Boston, Massachusetts and was commissioned there on September 21, 1944. The ship then went to the Amphibious Training Base, Solomons, Maryland to have shakedown in the Chesapeake Bay until October 10. From then until October 29 the ship underwent availability and the crew had training sessions at the Norfolk Naval Base.
On October 29 LCS 13 departed Norfolk and stopped over at Key West, Florida on November 5 on its way to the Panama Canal. After clearing the canal by November 12, the ship arrived in San Diego on November 23 where the crew underwent a period of training including maneuvers and practice invasions on the islands off San Diego. On January 4, 1945 our ship left the United States and arrived in Pearl Harbor nine days later.
We left Pearl Harbor on February 2 and crossed the Equator exactly one week later. Two days later we crossed the International Date Line and arrived at Florida Island on February 18. From there we went to Ulithi Atoll where our naval forces in the Pacific were gathering to prepare for the massive invasion of Okinawa on April 1.
On the morning of April 1st our ship supported the invasion of Okinawa in the Hagushi area. Our first duty at Okinawa was anti-aircraft patrol, and on April 6 three of our ship's guns scored hits on a downed enemy plane that had been attacking us. On April 7 our ship was assigned to radar picket patrol but we were ordered to return to Okinawa from our picket station because a Japanese task force had come into our area. We learned later that this force included the Yamato, Japan's super battleship, that was sent down from Japan as a last-ditch attempt to defeat our forces at Okinawa. On our way back to Okinawa we encountered the naval task force being sent out to challenge the Japanese force. This task force was very impressive. It was quite a sight to see.
During our stay at Okinawa our ship had several tours of radar picket patrol duty. While on picket duty on April 12 we were attacked by four Kamakazes. One of our guns got some hits on the first plane. Another gun downed a second attacking plane with hits that, in effect, chewed up and knocked off the plane's tail.
On May 2, we, along with two other LCSs and two destroyers, attempted to give aid to the carrier Sangamon (CVE) whose entire flight deck was on fire and crew members were pushing burning planes over the side. We pulled alongside with fire hoses ready: however the carrier's overhang knocked off our mast and knocked out our radar. We did manage to put our pharmacist's mate aboard the carrier to care for their wounded.
On May 27 while on picket station #5, our ship and three other LCSs gave aid to the destroyer Braine (DD 630) which had been hit by two kamikazes and was on fire and out of control, moving wildly in circles at eighteen knots. Since we were unable to keep up with the Braine we threw out life rafts and life preservers and picked up the men in the water who had jumped off the burning ship. When the Braine finally stopped, we went alongside to fight and put out her fires.
Our ship departed Okinawa on June 25 to go to San Pedro Bay in the Philippines for rest and recreation. We left the Philippines on September 11 to report for occupation duty in Japan. However we ran into a typhoon for three days after leaving and were forced to make port in Okinawa. We left Okinawa on September 18 and arrived in Yokosuka, Japan on September 22.
While at Yokosuka we taxied liberty parties from the fleet ships out in Tokyo Bay and the ocean to Tokyo and Yokohama until October 24. We then departed Tokyo Bay and arrived in Sasebo, Japan on October 28. For the next several weeks, until December 19, we served on mine demolition duty destroying by gunfire mines at sea released by minesweepers at first off Sasebo, where we destroyed 47 mines, and then in the waters in the Formosa Straits. We spent Christmas in Shanghai and I attended midnight Mass at Christ the King Church.
From Shanghai we went back to Sasebo, where our ship went into drydock. We started our long homeward journey on January 25, 1946 and stopped at Saipan and Eniwetok, where we enjoyed a USO show. From there we went on to Hawaii and then to San Francisco, and then on to Astoria, Oregon where the LCS 13 was decommissioned.
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