A BRIEF HISTORY OF U.S.S. LCS(L) 81
Lieut. Clifford C. Lockwood, Commanding Officer
At the Commercial Iron Works of Portland, Oregon the USS LCS(L)(3) 81 was commissioned on 24 November 1944. She was sponsored by the Women’s Emergency Corps of that city. These wonderful ladies contributed much to make our commissioning a success.
On 7 December after the outfitting period the 81 proudly sailed in company with the USS LCS 82 down the Columbia River for San Diego. The journey southward was uneventful, and she arrived 11 December.
The officers and men had undergone many months of intense training at Amphibious bases at Fort Pierce, Florida and Solomons, Maryland in preparation for their LCS duty. This training proved its worth during ensuing weeks that were spent on shakedown.
On 12 January 1945 this mighty little ship sailed off to the forward area. After a brief stay in Pearl Harbor, she set out with other ships of her type, and convoyed a number of ships safely into Guam.
On 16 April the LCS 81 arrived in the Okinawa area for its real test and first taste of battle. In the Okinawa campaign our duties were twofold. (1) Radar Picket Patrol, and (2) Anti-Suicide Boat Patrol.
On the radar picket stations the ship remained on its isolated outpost for approximately 10 days, and then returned to its home anchorage for a four day logistics and maintenance period. Our collateral duries while in maintenance and logistics consisted of anti-suicide boat patrol and laying smoke screens during alerts.
On 4 May 1945 under attack on the picket line, the USS LSM(R) 190 and destroyer USS LUCE were sunk by suicide planes on our station. With the “kamikaze kids” orbiting overhead the 81 began immediate rescue work. A number of lives were saved by getting the men aboard quickly and administering blood plasma and morphine for shock. All ships on our station were under threat of attack continuously during this rescue operation.
On 6 May the officers and men of the USS LCS 81 considered themselves seasoned veterans as they splashed their first kamikaze plane. On the nights of 6-7-8 June, with the aid of radar and alert lookouts we captured three Jap small boats and a total of 39 prisoners, and sank a fourth which tried to escape.
On 22 June the 81 fired upon and splashed another Jap suicide plane trying to claim another victim on the dangerous radar picket patrol stations.
The officers and men of the 81 left Okinawa area for a much deserved rest on 10 July with the satisfaction of having done a good job. The ship arrived in Leyte on 14 July for maintenance to fully prepare for what we considered the final phase of the war. It was there that the long-awaited news of the Jap surrender came to us, and it touched off probably the biggest and most colorful demonstration that San Pedro Bay had ever seen. The end of World War II was at hand.
On 2 September orders came through informing us that we were to be part of the occupational forces of Japan. This was good news as it meant the last lap of a long and hard fought battle across the Pacific, bringing us to our final destination – Tokyo.
On 11 September we arrived in Tokyo Bay, Honshu, Japan, and it was a truly inspiring and memorable sight to see the stars and strips flying over the country that had so treacherously involved us in one of the bloodiest wars in the history of the world.
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