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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski

Contributed by Al Grazevich

USS Tortuga (LSD-26)

/International Radio Call Sign:
November - Alpha - Echo - Uniform
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Navy Unit Commendation - China Service Medal (extended)
Second Row - American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal - World War II Victory Medal
Third Row - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp) - National Defense Service Medal (2) - Korean Service Medal (5)
Fourth Row - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Vietnam) - Vietnam Service Medal (7) - Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation (6)
Fifth Row - United Nations Service Medal - Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal - Republic of Korea War Service Medal (retroactive)

Casa Grande Class Dock Landing Ship:
  • Laid down, 16 October 1944, at Boston Navy Yard, Boston, MA.
  • Launched, 21 January 1945
  • Commissioned USS Tortuga (LSD-26), 8 June 1945, LCDR. George R. Brown, USNR in command
  • Decommissioned, 18 August 1947, at San Diego
  • Laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet, San Diego Group
  • Recommissioned, 15 September 1950
  • During the Korean War USS Tortuga (LSD-26) participated in the following campaigns:

    Korean War Campaigns
    Campaigns and Dates Campaigns and Dates
    First UN Counter Offensive
    7 February to 8 March 1951
    20 to 21 April 1951
    Korean Defense Summer-Fall 1952
    17 to 18 October 1952
    Communist China Spring Offensive
    22 April to 20 June 1951
    Third Korean Winter
    7 to 16 December 1952
    19 to 20 December 1952
    18 February 1953
    26 February to 7 March 1953
    10 March 1953
    UN Summer-Fall Offensive
    23 September to 3 November 1951
    6 November 1951
  • During the Vietnam War USS Tortuga (LSD-26) participated in the following campaigns:

    Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Vietnam Service Medal
    Campaigns and Dates Campaigns and Dates
    Vietnam Advisory Campaign
    9 August to 28 September 1964
    4 to 9 June 1965
    Vietnam Counteroffensive - Phase III
    5 to 28 September 1967
    6 October to 12 November 1967
    19 to 23 November 1967
    1 to 5 December 1967
    11 to 17 December 1967
    27 to 31 December 1967
    Vietnam Defense
    6 to 9 July 1965
    Tet Counteroffensive
    30 January to 2 February 1968
    Vietnam Counteroffensive
    16 April to 30 June 1966
    12 to 16 March 1969
    23 March to 3 April 1969
    15 to 20 April 1969
    23 April to 28 May 1969
    Vietnam Counteroffensive - Phase II
    1 July to 15 September 1966
    Vietnam Summer-Fall 1969
    30 June to 4 July 1969
    13 to 21 July 1969
    7 to 10 August 1969
    12 to 16 August1969

  • Decommissioned, 26 January 1970, at the Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility (NISMF), Mare Island, Vallejo, CA.
  • Transferred to the Maritime Administration (MARAD), 10 June 1970, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet Suisun Bay, Benecia, CA.
  • Permanent custody assigned to MARAD, 1 September 1971
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 15 October 1976
  • USS Tortuga earned five battle stars for Korean War service and for Vietnam War service Tortuga earned the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal with seven campaign stars
  • Withdrawn from the National Defense Reserve Fleet, 26 May 1983, by the US Navy for stripping
  • Final Disposition, scuttled, 21 August 1988 after grounding on San Miguel Island while being used as a target, the ship was partially dismantled, raised and towed offshore and scuttled on this date
    Specifications: (as reported by Office of Naval Intelligence, 7 April 1944)
    Displacement 4,032 (light draft), 7,930 (seagoing - loaded)
    Length 457' 9" o.a.
    Beam 72"
    8' 2 ½" fwd, 10' ½" aft (light draft)
    15' 5 ½" fwd, 16' 2" aft (seagoing loaded)
    Speed 17 kts (design speed)
    Endurance 8,000 miles @ 15 knots
    Officers 17
    Enlisted 237
    Troop Accommodations
    Officers 22
    Enlisted 218
    Well Deck Capacity (varies with mission)
    three LCT (Mk V or VI) each w/ 5 medium tanks or
    two LCT (Mk III or IV) each w/ 12 medium tanks or
    fourteen LCM (Mk III) each w/ 1 medium tank or 1, 500 long tons cargo or
    forty-seven DUKW or
    forty-one LVT or
    Any combination of landing vehicles and landing craft up to capacity
    Aircraft (still in commission in late 40's or early 50's) were fitted/retro-fitted with a prefabricated steel grated "Portable Deck" suspended between the wing walls and supported by removable I-beam girders. The aft end of the portable deck contained a wooden helicopter platform, enabling the ship to land and launch 1 helicopter at a time. Stowage of helicopters was limited to capacity of the portable deck installed for the mission. Aircraft servicing was limited to re-fueling. With portable deck and aircraft platform installed, the Landing ship, dock was still capable of transporting, launching and repairing smaller amphibious craft and vehicles up to the size of a Landing craft, utility (LCU) in their well decks.
    one single 5"/38 cal dual purpose gun mount in open tub (w/director)
    two quad 40mm AA gun mounts (w/directors)
    two twin 40mm AA gun mounts (w/directors)
    sixteen single 20mm AA gun mounts (local control)
    Fuel Capacities
    NSFO 11,720 Bbls
    Diesel 160 Bbls
    Gasoline 5,085 Gals
    two Newport News Shipbuilding steam turbines
    two Babcock and Wilcox oil fired D-type boilers, two drum, single furnace, single uptake, 250psi
    single Newport News Shipbuilding Main Reduction Gears
    two turbo-drive 300Kw 120V/240V D.C. Ship' Service Generators
    twin propellers, 7,000shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    Tortuga 142k Tortuga (LSD-26) under way off Boston Navy Yard, 4 June 1945, four days before being commissioned.
    Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collections
    Mike Green
    Tortuga 67k USS Tortuga (LSD-26) under way, photo pre 1958 Charles Westbrook MM2c
    USS Tortuga, 1956-1960
    Tortuga 35k USS Tortuga (LSD-26) under way, date and location unknown. .
    Tortuga 46k USS Tortuga (LSD-26) at anchor and ballasted down to flood her well deck, date and location unknown. USS Ashland Association web site
    Tortuga 60k USS Tortuga (LSD-26) leaving San Diego in October 1950 for her first shakedown cruise off the coast of California after her re-commissioning, 15 September 1950. Photo by Jack Davidson of San Diego. Richard A. Bowman QM2 USS Tortuga, 1950-52
    Tortuga 52k USS Tortuga (LSD-26) leaving San Diego in October 1950 for her first shakedown cruise off the coast of California after her re-commissioning, 15 September 1950. Photo by Jack Davidson of San Diego. Richard A. Bowman QM2 USS Tortuga, 1950-52
    Tortuga 34k USS Tortuga (LSD-26) at Sasebo, Japan, 1951. Richard A. Bowman QM2 USS Tortuga, 1950-52
    Tortuga 100k USS Tortuga (LSD-26) disgorges LVTs and LVT(A)s during tests conducted at Sagami Bay, Japan, (date unknown)
    US Navy photo from "All Hands" magazine August 1953 issue
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    Tortuga 47k USS Tortuga (LSD-26) at anchor, location unknown, 1966 Photo by LT. Richard Dawson USS Renville
    Tortuga 30k USS Tortuga (LSD-26) ship's plaque. Tommy Trampp

    USS Tortuga (LSD-26)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01LCDR. Brown, Raymond George, USNR8 June 1945 - 8 June 1946
    02CDR. Langley, Thomas Rhodes8 June 1946 - 18 August 1947
      Decommissioned18 August 1947 - 12 September 1950
    03CDR. Shook, Kenneth Sydney12 September 1950 - 22 August 1951
    04CDR. Hermanson, Elof Walter22 August 1951 - 10 November 1952
    05CDR. Winne, George Morris 10 November 1952 - 15 January 1954
    06CDR. Brenner Jr., James Emmet15 January 1954 - 27 December 1954
    07LCDR. Young, Vincent Joseph27 December 1954 - 5 January 1955
    08CDR. Biggers, Charlie Craig5 January 1955 - 29 March 1955
    09CDR. Purdie, Samuel Bulla29 March 1955 - 3 July 1956
    10CDR. Davis Jr., Landon Leslie3 July 1956 - 23 November 1957
    11CDR. Eder, Willard E.23 November 1957 - 29 October 1958
    12CDR. Silverman, Milton Joseph29 October 1958 - 12 January 1960
    13CDR. Walton, Nelson Collins12 January 1960 - 24 February 1962
    14CDR. Hayes, George M.24 February 1962 - 15 August 1963
    15CDR. Cannon, Herbert B.15 August 1963 - 10 October 1964
    16CDR. Heinberg, Wolf10 October 1964 - 28 November 1966
    17CDR. Bauman, Robert Walter28 November 1966 - 22 July 1968
    18CDR. Vogel, Oscar John23 July 1968 - 26 January 1970
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log

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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 19 October 2018