Compiled by Ship’s Officers

The U.S.S. LCS 83 joined the long list of ships in the United States Navy when she was commissioned on 30 November 1944 at Commercial Iron Works, Portland, Oregon. She pushed her way out into the Pacific Ocean bound for San Diego, California, twelve days later.

Arriving at San Diego on 15 December, the ship, commanded by Lieutenant James M. Faddis, USN, of Waynesburg, PA, joined a group of LCSs for a shakedown and training period during which all guns were fired, rockets were launched and men became familiar with their battle stations. Mock invasions, in which the LCSs supported the landing parties, were held on San Clemente Island, long a staging area for the Navy.

At 1600, 12 January1945, the 71 officers and men that made up the crew of the ship had their last look at the United States as the ship took her assigned position in a group of 9 LCSs bound for Pearl Harbor and the war. The trip to Hawaii went off with little more trouble than seventy-one cases of seasickness. Drills held every day were beginning to show more speed and polish than the ones held off San Diego.

After twenty-five days at Hawaii, twelve of which were spent escorting LCTs to Kauai and back, the 83 was escorting LCT flotilla 36, to Guam via Johnston Island, Majuro, and Eniwetok in the Marshalls group.

At Johnston Island the ships merely anchored for one day, while the minesweepers took on fuel for the next leg of the journey to Majuro. At Majuro several days were spent in logistics. Many of the LCTs split some of their seams between Majuro and Eniwetok. Thirty-eight days and 3400 miles later the convoy reached Guam without having lost any ships either to storm or enemy. At Guam the convoy was dissolved, and after 72 hours rest and provisioning the LCSs were underway for Ulithi, the fleet staging anchorage.

Easter Sunday, D-Day at Okinawa, the 83 arrived at Ulithi, too late for the initial landing. At Ulithi the ship was squared away for the coming operations, 90 days provisions being brought aboard. On 9 April, the day before leaving for Okinawa, the final gunnery practice was held. Everyone knew from then on they’d be shooting for their lives.

The next day the ship, 4 other LCSs, 2 ocean salvage tugs, a floating drydock and a repair ship were underway for one of Japan’s pre-war bases, and former fleet anchorage, at Okinawa. Even as the ship was entering Kerama Retto, 20 miles southwest of Okinawa, on 16 April, one of the destroyers in the convoy escort was attacked and hit by a blazing Kamikaze plane. That gave us some idea of what we were in for, quite an unexpected calling card to say the least. We had heard about the enemy’s special attack corps, the kamikazes, and now we knew.

Upon arrival at Okinawa proper the next day, the 83 was assigned Radar Picket duty on station 14, 70 miles west of Okinawa and already the scene of many raids. Four days after reporting there the picket was attacked by 37 suicide planes and in the ensuing action the LCS 15 was sunk. It took her about 3½ minutes to disappear into the deep. We picked up three survivors. No more action was seen during the grueling days of rough weather and on 29 April the ship was ordered into Okinawa for logistics. Approximately half way between the picket station and Hagushi anchorage, a Japanese torpedo plane launched an aerial torpedo at the ship but somehow missed. Its self destruction explosion caused great shock. The ship traveled the rest of the way in at top speed, all hands in suspense and praying that no other Kamikaze Kid would spy our fluorescent wake in the moonlight.

After a short logistics period at Hagushi anchorage, the 83 was assigned to RP 10 just in time for another big raid. The action was on 3 May, about two hours before sunset. Very little warning was given the ships, which consisted of the LITTLE (DD-803), AARON WARD (DM-34), LSM[R] 195, LCS’s 14, 25 and 83. The destroyers reported enemy planes about 30 miles to eastward of them. The weather was clear with a few scattered clouds in the sky. About 1630, planes began making suicide dives on the destroyers and in a very few minutes these ships were burning badly. The DD-803 stopped, but the DM-34, apparently out of control, moved some distance off to the northeast of the DD-803. The LCS’s 14 and 25 headed for the DM-34> to give her aid. The LCS 83 and LSM[R] 195 took after the DD-803. Shortly thereafter the LSM[R] signaled that they had developed engine trouble and were falling behind, but for the 83 to go ahead. About this time the LITTLE was breaking in half, sinking, its bow and stern rising. The AARON WARD seemed to gain control of her movements and was still firing at the attacking planes. A plane came in from the west making a suicide run on the LSM[R]. Another plane came in from the southwest toward the LCS 83. The one attacking the LSM[R] crashed into its port side causing huge fires aboard the ship immediately. The plane astern of the LCS 83 was very low on the water and was finally shot down about yards astern, after bouncing once on the water with its guns firing over the mast of the 83. The had sunk.

A plane made an attack on the other two LCSs, the 14 and 25. It seemed to crash on the 25 but missed, taking off the mast. About this time a plane was coming in from the port quarter in a long low run on the LCS 83, at which time the 83 was forced to stop picking up survivors. The plane, identified as an Oscar, appeared to be going to crash us amidships, but was hit, swerved and barely missed our bow, crashing among the LITTLE and WARD survivors to starboard. Two more planes were observed making runs on the DM-34, one crashing into the bridge. It was getting dark and becoming more difficult to get survivors aboard. The LSM[R] was burning furiously and suddenly exploded, as many rockets were stowed aboard it. The 83 then made fast alongside the DM-34, helped them to extinguish their fire, control flooding and care for their wounded. No damage was sustained by the LCS 83. The LITTLE and the LSM[R] 195 were sunk. The DM-34 was extensively damaged and left dead in the water. The mast was knocked off LCS 25. The LCS 14 was left without antennas for communications. It took only a week for the 83 to get into another battle, this time on RP 15, thirty-five miles northwest of Hagushi anchorage at Okinawa. The action started about 0805 when a twin float seaplane, identified as a Jake, attacked the picket station, which consisted of the HADLEY (DD-774), EVANS (DD-552), LCS’s 82, 83, 84 and LSM[R] 193. The destroyers took it under fire, soon after which the plane made a spectacular upward loop before plunging to the sea. A few minutes later a large number of planes was reported coming in. At 0832 the formation was attacked. The LSM[R] and LCSs were in a diamond formation; the "cans" maneuvering radially around and through the formation. Two planes attacked the destroyers and were splashed. They then came in from all directions and altitudes, several attacking from very high altitudes. One came in low astern of the LSM[R] and was splashed within 50 yards of the ship by one 5-inch burst from its stern gun.

Several planes made a run on the DD-774. We shot at one and splashed it astern of the destroyer. Another came in after the LCS 82. Both the 82 and 83 took it under fire and it exploded 800 feet directly above the 82 and fell in the ship’s wake. Both DD’s had been hit by this time. A Kate made a long lazy climb between the 83 and 84, but the 84 was busy shooting at another plane. The 83 took the Kate under fire as it dived for the 84 because no flak was coming from 84. The after 40mm on the 83 cut off the tail of the plane and, before it completed its dive, the 84 opened fire on it. The plane fell short of its mark, barely missing the bow of the 84. We had just finished firing at the one that dived at the 84 when we discovered a plane coming in on us from almost dead ahead in a 75-degree power dive. The forward guns immediately switched to it and blew off the wing in the first few bursts. A few more rounds were put into the fuselage and the plane burst into a thousand pieces. The whole forward part of the ship was sprayed with gasoline that had by some miracle failed to ignite. Planes were still diving on the already damaged destroyers, most of them missed or were splashed before they hit. Both DDs were hit 3 or 4 times. Corsairs and Hellcats arrived for CAP air cover and the raid ended. The two destroyers were heavily damaged. The LCS 83 tied up alongside the HADLEY, after picking up many of her survivors, and for five hours towed and kept her afloat until the salvage tugs arrived from Okinawa. None of the support craft had been hit, and 42 Jap planes had been shot down by the six ships and the Combat Air Patrol. Including those shot down by the CAP, 150 or more enemy suicide planes had been destroyed.

Trouble seemed to be following the 83, but of the remaining time spent at Okinawa, no other large scale attacks were experienced by the LCS 83. However, many smaller ones were encountered. When the records were compiled it was found that the LCS 83 had: 44 days of Radar Picket duty, 12 nights of small boat patrol (motor suicide boats), destroyed 8 Jap planes, 2 deadly horned mines, salvaged two sinking destroyers, rescued over 120 survivors and participated in the toughest duty Navy men have had to face in this war. LCS 83 fired 9,476 rounds of ammunition at enemy targets during this campaign. On 10 July, three weeks after the island of Okinawa was declared secured, LCS 83 was ordered to Leyte Gulf for rest and operational repairs. The day after arrival the first shore liberty in over three months was experienced by the crew. Shore activity was limited to a softball tournament and a USO show. A small variety of native souvenirs available for purchase held an added interest. Due to a contagious disease and restrictions ashore, the time spent in this area was not as enjoyable as had been expected. It was while the ship was in Leyte that word of the Japanese surrender was received, and the occasion was duly celebrated. LCS 83 was then assigned to Admiral Halsey’s Third Fleet and ordered to take an active part in the occupation of Japan.

LCS(L) Flotilla Four, of which LCS 83 was a member, was the first of the landing craft in the Tokyo Bay area. The crew of the 83 were some of the first American Blue Jackets to set foot on the "sacred" soil of Japan.

During the 3 months of duty in the Tokyo Bay area, the ship rendered most valuable liberty transportation services to many of the major combatant fleet units, both American and British. Few days passed finding the ship moored or anchored with no job to do except during the typhoons when operations were at a complete standstill. The third of December 1945 was a great day for officers and crew of the 83, for it was that day that saw the ship point its bow homeward. No need to say what a joy it was to have the lands of Oriental peoples disappear over the horizon. The trip to Saipan in the Marianas Islands could have been considerably smoother sailing, but no appreciable damage was sustained by the numerous 40 degree rolls.

Upon completion of personnel screening at Saipan, the ship again put to sea for its longest non-stop voyage of 3200 miles. The course took us within sight of Wake Island near Christmas day. Never before aboard ship had it been possible to cruise so leisurely.

We got our second look at Pearl Harbor on 30 December 1945. Many changes had taken place since we last were there about a year ago, the most welcome being extended liberty hours and a less crowded condition. Having conducted necessary voyage repairs, the 83 and 87 set sail for Seattle, Washington on 7 January 1946.

The time at sea passed slowly while counting the days and hours to the coast. Puget Sound shoreline provided a sight for sore eyes while proceeding anxiously, with the 87 in tow, toward Seattle’s docking area. There was no waste of time for this group of sailors in getting ashore to become engulfed in the most welcomed U.S. entertainment and hospitality. Everyone was truly happy, some met their wives or sweethearts, others married. Unfortunately only enough time was allowed us at Seattle to unload ammunition, and on the 23rd we left again, this time with high hopes of seeing salt water for the last time. Coming down the coast proved to be a rough ride since the ship was so lightly loaded, but all was quiet and still again after mooring to a wooden pier at the Naval Station, Astoria, Oregon.

The ship stayed at Astoria little more than a week while awaiting instructions to proceed to Portland for overhaul and repair. While at Astoria our Captain received orders to take command of an LCS on active duty. So it was that on 4 February 1946 Lt. James J. Faddis bade farewell to his crew and ship where he served in a most honorable and praiseworthy manner from the States to the far stretches of the Pacific, through the period of heaviest Japanese resistance in the war, and back again to home shores. Lt.[jg] William D. Fleck from Brooklyn, U.S.A., former Executive Officer, took command of LCS 83 at this time. On 6 February a pilot accompanied the ship up the Columbia and Willamette rivers to a temporary mooring station for ships undergoing future drydocking at the yards in Portland. Upon completion of overhaul and painting, the 83 was prepared for inactivation and decommissioning, thereafter to be moored to docks at Tongue Point on the Columbia river near Astoria as a vessel in reserve. LCS 83 was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation, her Captain the Silver Star, Ship’s Cook Heiser the Bronze Star for treating wounded.


"For extraordinary heroism as a ship when on the morning of 11 May 1945 she fought fiercely against intense enemy suicide attacks, shooting down three (3) planes and assisting in the shooting down of one (1) other. Subsequently while still under enemy attack she picked up survivors of the U.S.S. HUGH W. HADLEY, many of which were badly burned and wounded. This ship then moored to the disabled destroyer and conducted salvage operations which were instrumental in saving the vessel. The gallantry and determination in action of this small ship during hazardous conditions were outstanding and merit the highest praise."

Submitted by Frank McElroy.

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