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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

LCS(L)(3)-63 / LSSL-63





Launched exactly one month from the day her keel was laid, the USS LCS(L) 63 received her baptism of fire during the sanguinary invasion of Okinawa.


Built at the Albina Engine and Machine Works, Inc., Portland, Oregon, the 63’s keel plates were laid on 2 October 1944 and on the 2nd of November she slid down the ways into the Willamette River.  Lt. William E. Pfau, USNR, read his orders taking command of the ship on 11 December 1944 and immediately her commissioning pennant was hoisted.


The following day LT. Pfau moved the vessel from the docks, down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean and then he laid a course south to San Diego, California, where the ship underwent shakedown training.  She was then assigned to LCS(L) Group Eleven of LCS(L) Flotilla Four.


When the six officers and 65 enlisted men of the support craft’s crew were battle-ready, the 63 sailed for Pearl Harbor on 11 February, and then to Johnston Island and Eniwetok before finally arriving at Saipan where she participated in all practice exercises for the pending invasion of Okinawa.  However, when the invasion fleet departed, LCS 63 remained behind since she had been assigned to the Reserve Force.


The kamikaze suicide plane attacks developed into a nightmare along the picket stations off Okinawa, and the Reserve Force was immediately called up.  The LCS 63 arrived off the island on 16 April and immediately was assigned to patrol the entrance to Nakagusuku Wan to protect the anchored ships from suicide boat attacks and dive-bombing Japanese planes.  The 63 destroyed three boats and one plane during her patrols and then was assigned to Radar Picket duty.


On 10 July the LCS 63 departed from Okinawa with Task Unit 99.1.28 for Tacloban, Leyte, Philippine Islands, and arrived there four days later.  The ship’s crew enjoyed various periods of recreation between the frequent anti-aircraft practice firing during landing support exercises.


Following the capitulation of Japan to the Allies, the LCS 63 was ordered to Tokyo Bay for occupation duty along with LCS Flotilla Four.  Until 3 December the LCS 63 operated under Commander Fleet Activities, Yokosuka, doing picket, dispatch and utility craft duty.


Departing from Japan, the LCS 63 sailed to Pearl Harbor and then through the Panama Canal before proceeding to Green Cove Springs, Florida, where she was decommissioned in May 1946.


On 28 February 1949 her designation was changed to LSSL 63, or Landing Ship Support, Large.  Transferred to the Republic of Italy under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program in July 1951, the USS LSSL 63 was renamed the MOLOSSO.




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