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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

LCS(L)(3)-64 / LSSL-64


A BRIEF HISTORY OF U

 

A BRIEF HISTORY OF U.S.S. LCS(L) 64

 

Small in size but potent in firepower, the USS LCS 64 proved her mettle during the bloody battle for Okinawa when she shot down two enemy kamikaze suicide planes and aided in the rescue of 95 survivors from the USS BUSH (DD-529), which had been sunk by one of the human-bomb airplanes.

 

Exactly 28 days from the time her keel was laid until she was launched on 7 November 1944 was all the time that was needed to build the Landing Craft, Support (Large) at the Albina Engine & Machine Works, Inc., Portland, Oregon.On 18 December she was commissioned under the command of Lieutenant Charles W. Fogg, USNR.

 

Departing from Portland the following day, the LCS 64 sailed south to San Diego to undergo shakedown training and then, when her crew was battle-ready, moved west to Pearl Harbor, arriving there on 20 February 1945.She was placed in LCS(L) Group Eleven of LCS(L) Flotilla Four.

 

LCS 64 stopped at Eniwetok on 9 March and at Saipan on March 18th before departing with an invasion force for the Okinawa invasion.As the Naval gunfire barrage lifted off the beaches on 1 April the assault waves moved forward accompanied by the LCS 64 which provided close inshore gunfire support.However, when the landing craft were within a few yards of Sakibaru Saki, they turned and returned to sea.The operation was only a feint to draw some of the enemy away from the true invasion area.

 

Following the establishment and expansion of the Okinawa beachhead, the battle for the island shifted to the air as the Japanese launched their suicide planes from the home islands against the American fleet.The U.S. Navy plan called for the placing around the island of a number of picket stations to warn the main fleet of the arrival of the kamikaze planes.

 

To assist the larger ships in their own defense when on picket patrol, LCSs were designated radar picket support craft and were assigned to serve with the larger ships on the picket stations surrounding Okinawa.They remained on station for ten days and then returned to Hagushi Anchorage for four days of reprovisioning and rearming.

 

The LCS 64 was assigned to Radar Picket Station No. 1, which was 15 miles northwest of Iheya Jima, on 2 April 1945.At 0400 the following day the LCS 64 splashed one enemy aircraft which was confirmed by the USS PRITCHETT (DD-561), also on duty at the station.This splash was the first recorded by an LCS in combat.

 

The Japanese attempted to break the radar ring around the island on the 6th of April by concentrating their attack on picket stations 1 and 2.The brunt of the attack was aimed at station 1 where the USS BUSH (DD-529) and the USS COLHOUN (DD-301) were on duty with LCS 64.

 

The sky was a veritable hornetís nest of kamikaze planes soon after the sun rose.The BUSH shuddered as two planes hit her in succession and then four kamikaze pilots succeeded in penetrating the anti-aircraft barrage to crash in the COLHOUN.†††††††† But the tiny LCS 64 evaded all attempts to end her life.Twisting and turning in tight circles and zigzags, her six 40MM and two 20MM guns glowed with heat as they fired.One enemy plane was downed before the horde went on for other targets.Thus, LCS 64 splashed two planes while on her initial tour of duty on the picket station.The 64 then started searching for survivors of the BUSH.The COLHOUN, while severely damaged, was still afloat and fighting the raging fires.Over 95 men from the BUSH were pulled aboard the LCS 64 before we headed back toward the anchorage.

 

By 10 July the island had been secured and the kamikaze attacks broken.That day the 64, with the majority of LCS Flotilla Four departed from Okinawa for Tacloban, Leyte, Philippine Islands, for a temporary rest and training for the expected invasion of Japan.She had spent 56 days and nights on Radar Picket duty.

 

The swift capitulation of Japan following the advent of the A-bomb eliminated the invasion, but LCS Flotilla Four, to which we belonged, was needed for occupation duty.On 2 September the Flotilla sailed north to Tokyo Bay where the unit was placed under the Commander Fleet Activities, Yokosuka, who used the craft for picket, dispatch and utility duty.

 

Departing from Japan on 3 December the LCS 64 stopped at Pearl Harbor before continuing to the Panama Canal and then Green Cove Springs, Florida, where she was decommissioned in May 1946.

 

On 28 February 1949 her designation was changed to USS LSSL 64, or Landing Ship Support, Large.Under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program, the LSSL 64 was transferred to the Republic of Italy in July 1951 and renamed SEGUGIO.

 


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