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LCS(L)(3)-60 / LSSL-60


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A History of USS LCS(L)(3) 60

 

Adapted from the Diary of Raymond J. Ross, Electrician

 

LCS(L) 60 was built at the Albina Engine and Machine Works, Inc., Portland, Oregon, and launched on 7 October 1944. She was commissioned on 22 November, and in late December she arrived at San Diego Naval Base for training and shakedown.

 

It was on her maiden voyage from San Diego to Pearl Harbor that her crew encountered and survived their first real bout with seasickness. From Pearl Harbor our ship stopped on her way across the Pacific Ocean at Johnston Island, Majuro Atoll, and Eniwetok, and arrived at San Pedro Bay in the Philippines on April 17, 1945. On May 4 we left the Philippines in a convoy of fifty ships bound for Morotai. During the Journey we could see flashes from our large 16-inch naval shipís guns off Mindinao in the southern Philippines in a fierce battle to retake and liberate the Philippines from the Japanese.

 

Our ship arrived at Morotai on May 13 where many British, American and Australian ships were gathering for the invasions of Aussie troops into Borneo to the south. On May 28 we went out to practice for our invasion, and on June 2 we joined the invasion fleet of over 50 ships and craft including a number of minesweepers for the heavily mined waters off Borneo. During the night of June 6 our invasion force was joined by four US Navy cruisers and twelve destroyers.

 

Throughout the next two days of June 7 and 8 the minesweepers worked clearing mines close to the beach and our ship followed them and demolished a number of mines. Our Navy planes (PBMs and PBYs) patrolled with us all day and our B24s flew over and bombed and strafed the beach we were to take. In the morning of the second day we towed our demolition squad into the beach we were to take to blow up obstructions and clear the beachhead while we shelled Labuna Island.

 

Early the next morning we moved toward the beach even though contact mines had been sighted in the immediate area. When these mines were detonated by rifle fire, water and black smoke blew sky high. Just as we were within 1500 yards of the beach, someone shouted "There she comes," and the beach literally blew up in front of us. We next strafed the beach and started a fire in a building about a thousand yards inland. Then the whole sky was filled with trees, stones, mud, and wood and with flares and black smoke going up in every direction. We had hit an ammunition dump!

 

 

 

Presently the demolition squad moved in as we moved up to within 500 yards of the shore, giving them fire cover. The squad jumped overboard and started immediately to explore the ocean floor for booby traps and mines while we fired on the beach over their heads. Two Australian bombers then unleashed their bomb loads while the swimmers were about 50 yards from the beach. The bombs missed the target and fell into the water among the underwater demolition squad.A column of water rose like Niagara in reverse. One man was injured and another could not be found. The net result of our operation: the channel was clear of mines, one ammunition dump was blown up, the beach was reported clear of land mines by the demo squad, and the beach was thoroughly strafed and bombed.

 

After this action we learned from an officer from the demo squad aboard our ship that there were a number of poisonous coral snakes near the beach. A person bitten by these snakes lives for only eight minutes after the bite. Sharks and crocodiles in the area were also serious demo squad hazards. Our informer also told us that in the previous May 1st Allied invasion of Tarakan Island on the Borneo coast, men were killed by the thousands by land mines encountered by the landing troops.

 

On D Day, June 10th, our ship, along with several LCSs and LCI(G)s (Landing Craft Gun Ships) made two runs into the beach at Labuan Island off Brunei strafing the beach and launching 120 rockets. The Aussies in amphibious tanks fell in behind us and our cruisers and destroyers were firing over our heads.

 

The larger shipís guns fired until the Aussies passed us. We waved as their tanks passed and watched the Aussies go onto the beach without a casualty. Within an hour LSMs and LSTs were unloading ammunition trucks and supplies.

 

On June 13 our ship received this message from General MacAthur to the commanding admirals and generals in the Brunei operation: "The execution of the Brunei Bay operation has been flawless. Please convey to the officers and men the pride and gratification I feel in such a splendid performance."

 

During our service in the Labuan invasion, our ship had various duties: on June 14 we covered the progress of the Hydrographic Department as they charted a ship route along the Brunei Bay shore;we served on night picket duty on June 16 and 17;and we worked with minesweepers detonating and sinking approximately 380 mines in the immediate area.

 

On June 20, the next day, our ship, with 5 other LCSs, 6 LCI(G)s, 3 DDs (Destroyers), and one cruiser participated in the invasion at Sarawak in Northern Borneo. We landed 1800 Australian soldiers there and secured the beachhead, and we had no casualties until after the landing was made.

 

Following our service at Sarawak we returned to the Brunei Bay area where needed repairs were made. From there we left with a convoy for Subic Bay in the Philippines where we stayed for most of July and August. While in the Subic Bay area we were able to have liberty in Manila and later at Lucera on the Isle of Luzon. When we arrived on August 31 at San Pedro Bay in Leyte Gulf we were surprised to discover that practically all the Pacific LCS fleet was anchored there. About this same time it was announced that the dysentery epidemic that had plagued the Leyte Gulf area for weeks was finally over.

 

On September 7 further repairs were made to our ship, and two days later our ship joined a convoy of 40 ships bound for Buckner Bay in Okinawa. When we arrived at the bay we were warned that a dangerous typhoon was on its way to the area.

 

Note: What follows below is a series of diary entries by Ross describing what the crew of LCS 60 did to survive the dangerous storm and what the effects of the storm in the bay area were.

 

Sept. 15, 2200: Typhoon storm warning. Lashed all loose gear topside and secured all loose items below decks. Canvas covers on ventilators. Wind gaining velocity. Swells getting larger. 2300 lifted anchor and moved to avoid shifting and swinging into destroyer. 2400 anchor dragging; raised anchor to keep from drifting into destroyer tender.

 

Sept. 16, 0545: Started all main engines--bow on coral reef--beginning to broach. All engines ahead, hard right rudder and we are free. Strain on anchor parted the steel anchor line. Anchor lost. LCS 60 is underway until new line is rigged with spare anchor. Wind still gaining velocity. Rain.1200, larger ships have left bay for open sea. At anchor with two engines in reverse to lessen strain on anchor cable. Full fury of the storm to strike here tomorrow. Ship quivers from swells striking fantail now. Visibility poor.

 

Typhoon passing within 40 miles at 2200 today. Ship straining furiously on anchor cable with all engines full speed astern. Floating debris striking frequently. Largest was a barge with a derrick broken loose from its moorings. 2333, lost second anchor.

 

Sept. 17, 0400-0800 watch. Heavy seas running. We are riding out storm well. Holding position by backing into wind full speed astern. No anchors left. Ships at sea calling for assistance. 0600 visibility poor--rain, high wind. 1100 salvaged a box found floating out to sea with five dozen khaki twill Navy jackets. Enough for the crew. Jackets drying from bow to stern. 1400 tied up to LST. 1900 mooring lines broke loose. Hooked line from LST to our bow.

 

 

 

Sept. 18, Tied up to a DE (Destroyer Escort) to use their plumbing.Today ships were seen aground from the typhoon. PTs (Torpedo Boats) and smaller landing craft were cast 50 yards onto the beach high and dry. Minesweeps setting dry on a coral reef. A merchantman at sea hit a floating mine broken loose from a minefield.Subchasers sunk at sea. Two life rafts not yet found.

 

Sept. 20: Obtained new anchor.

End of series of diary entries.

 

On September 21, the next day, our ship departed Okinawa for Jinsen, Korea, which we found to be much cooler than Okinawa. We arrived in Jinsen on September 26 and were immediately assigned to convoy, with four other U. S. ships, two Japanese subchasers, three destroyers and a tugboat, all surrendered, to a point near Fusan, Korea.We then went on to Fusan and soon discovered that we were the first ships to enter Fusan after the war ended.

 

††††††††† On Sunday, September 30, we watched the hospital ship near us in Fusan Harbor being loaded to the gunwales with Japanese soldiers and their wives to be sent back to Japan.On the return trip, slave Koreans and families were being brought home from Japan.The city was bubbling with activity in the reshuffling with people.The Koreans had a beaten look and some didnít seem to care what happened next for they no doubt had been herded about for a long time and were just all tired out.

 

While in Fusan our ship's volleyball team defeated the LCS 59's team on October 3rd in a warehouse converted into a gymnasium for service men by the Army Command there. On October 11 we departed Fusan for Shanghai, China and on October 14 we were sailing up the famous Yangtze River, and then, on the next day, up the Whang-Po River into Shanghai.

 

Soon after our arrival in Shanghai on October 15 we began to feel emancipated in every way from the war, and we felt that we were back in the civilized world again.

 

††††††††† During October and November we served on mine demolition duty in the waters around Formosa.In December we enjoyed liberty over Christmas in Shanghai where there were a number of LCS crews.In January and February of 1946 we served on mine demolition duty off Hainan Island in the South China Sea and transported supplies between the Hainan Island area and the port of Hong Kong.

 

Our ship left Hong Kong on our homeward trip in March of 1946. We arrived in San Pedro, California in April and from there went down the coast and

through the Panama Canal to New Orleans where the ship was decommissioned on May 30 and put into storage in Green Cove Springs, Florida.


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