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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive


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Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from left to right
American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (2) - World War II Victory Medal

LST-1 Class Tank Landing Ship:
  • Laid down, 31 August 1942, at Kaiser, Inc., Richmond, CA.
  • Launched, 23 November 1942
  • Commissioned USS LST-480, 3 May 1943, W. H. Johnson, USN, in command
  • During World War II USS LST-480 was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following campaigns:

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Gilbert Islands operation, 21 November to 8 December 1943 Marshall Islands operation
    Occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls, 1 to 6 February 1944

  • Lost in the accidental explosion of ammunition in West Loch Pearl Harbor, 21 May 1944
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 8 May 1946
  • USS LST-480 earned two battle stars for World War II service
    1,625 t.(lt)
    4,080 t.(fl) (sea-going draft w/1675 ton load)
    2,366 t. (beaching displacement)
    Length 328' o.a.
    Beam 50'
    light 2' 4" fwd, 7' 6" aft
    sea-going 8' 3" fwd, 14' 1" aft
    landing 3' 11" fwd, 9' 10" aft (landing w/500 ton load)
    limiting 11' 2"
    maximum navigation 14' 1"
    Speed 11.6 kts. (trial)
    Endurance 24,000 miles @ 9kts. while displacing 3960 tons
    13 officers
    104 enlisted
    Troop Accommodations
    16 officers
    147 enlisted
    Boats 2 LCVP
    Cargo Capacity (varied with mission - payloads between 1600 and 1900 tons)
    Typical loads
    One Landing Craft Tank (LCT), tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment and military supplies. A ramp or elevator forward allowed vehicles access to tank deck from main deck
    Additional capacity included sectional pontoons carried on each side of vessel amidships, to either build Rhino Barges or use as causeways. Married to the bow ramp, the causeways would enabled payloads to be delivered ashore from deeper water or where a beachhead would not allow the vessel to be grounded forward after ballasting
    Armament (varied with availability when each vessel was outfitted. Retro-fitting was accomplished throughout WWII. The ultimate armament design for United States vessels was
    2 - Twin 40MM gun mounts w/Mk. 51 directors
    4 - Single 40MM gun mounts
    12 single 20MM gun mounts
    Fuel Capacity
    Diesel 4,300 Bbls
    two General Motors 12-567A, 900hp Diesel engines
    single Falk Main Reduction Gears
    three Diesel-drive 100Kw 230V D.C. Ship's Service Generators
    two propellers, 1,700shp
    twin rudders

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Source
    LST-480 72k USS LST-480 beached with an unidentified LST and LCT-314 while unloading cargo and troops, possibly in the Aleutian Islands, date unknown. R. Michael Harpe
    LST-480 1127k Men watch as fire fighters battle flames in USS LST-480 in the West Loch at Pearl Harbor, 22 May 1944, the day after the disaster. Note the men working from the LVT(2) amphibious tractor in the center. The LVT wears the nickname "Captain Blood".
    Army Signal Corps photo # SC 427949 from the US Army Signal Corps. collection in the US National Archives.
    Dave Kerr
    SC 187501
    1793k USS LST-39 on fire, 22 May 1944, as crew men work on her bow ramp, probably removing cargo into waiting small craft and tugs attempt to put her fires out. Note smoke rising from the wreck of USS LST-480, at right, tugs and other craft try to put out her fires. Photos dated 22 May 1944, the day after the West Loch explosion. Photo from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the US National Archives. Photo #'s SC 185701 and SC 185701 Cropped Dave Kerr (SC 187501)
    Robert Hurst (SC 187501 Cropped)
    SC 187501 Cropped
    LST-480 96k Overhead photo of the USS LST-480 on fire again, 22 May 1944. The sunken remains of the USS LST-353 are off her starboard bow, while the beached and burnt out hulk of USS LST-39 is in the left distance.
    US National Archives, Photo # 80-G-276945
    Mike Green
    LST-480 1307k Overhead view of the burning hulk of USS LST-480 in the West Loch at Pearl Harbor, 22 May 1944. The vessel with her bow on the stern of LST-480 is the US Coast Guard Buoy Tender USCG Woodbine (WAGL-289).
    US Army Signal Corps. photo # SC 27644 from the Army Signal Corps Collection at the US National Archives
    Dave Kerr and Mike Green
    355k USS LST-480 after the explosion and fire in West Loch, 22 May 1944, with LCVP taking off cargo and Coast Guard Buoy Tender USCG Woodbine (WAGL-289) standing by.
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-306116, a US Navy photo now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    Rick Davis
    LST-480 61k The hulk of ex-USS LST-480 on the beach in West Loch, Pearl Harbor the site of the second major disaster at Pearl Harbor during World War II. (See related story link in Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest below). Photo taken circa 2003. Photo by EN1 (SW) Peter E. Skoutas USS Frederick (LST-1184) A Div.
    LST-480 303k The rusted hull of ex USS LST-480 in the water of the West Loch, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, 21 May 2003. 59 years after explosions rang out in Pearl Harbors West Loch, a memorial of disaster reminds all of a quiet Sunday afternoon on May 21, 1944. More than two dozen ammunition ships moored there preparing for an attack on Saipan when there was a sudden explosion which caused a deadly chain reaction. The total casualties from the tragedy were 163 dead and 396 injured and eight ships were also lost.
    US Navy photo # 030521-N-8157C-040 by PH2 Dennis Cantrel.
    Robert Hurst
    LST-480 448k The rusted hull of ex USS LST-480 remains in the water at West Loch, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. The remains honor the 163 Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines who died and 396 wounded when a fuel and ammunition explosion occurred at West Loch during World War II on May 21, 1944.
    US Navy photo # 130521-N-IU636-085 PEARL HARBOR (May 21, 2013) by MCSN Johans Chavarro.
    Lee Wahler
    HABS HI,2-PEHA,1031
    62k Undated photos of the hulk of ex-USS LST-480 on the beach at Naval Magazine Lualualei, West Loch, Pearl Harbor, HI.
    Library of Congress photo #s HABS HI,2-PEHA,1031, HABS HI,2-PEHA,1032 and HABS HI,2-PEHA,1033
    Robert Stoner and Mike Green
    HABS HI,2-PEHA,1032
    HABS HI,2-PEHA,1033

    USS LST-480
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01LT. Johnson, W. H., USN3 May 1943 - 21 May 1944
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

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

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    The USS LST Ship Memorial
    LST Home Port
    State LST Chapters
    United States LST Association
    West Loch Disaster
    Back To The Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To the Amphibious Ship Type Index Back To The Tank Landing Ship (LST) Photo Index
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    This page is created by David W. Almond and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 23 October 2020