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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

LST-572


Written by Morris Milstein USS LST-572 Yeoman
HISTORY OF THE U.S.S. LST 572
PART ONE - ATLANTIC OPERATIONS

On 14 June, 1944, LST 572 departed the shipyards of Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Works at Evansville, Indiana, in reduced commission with a Coast Guard ferry crew temporarily in charge, and with what was later to become the ship's complement of officers and men, aboard. After an uneventful trip down the Mississippi River, she arrived in New Orleans on 18 June, and was placed in full Navy commission the following day, Lieutenant James Nelms KINCANON assuming command. The following six days were occupied in effecting various alterations, and on 26 June LST 572 departed New Orleans for Panama City, Florida, for shakedown. From 27 June to 9 July she was thus employed, and, on being found fit for service, left Panama City on 10 July for New Orleans for post-shakedown availability and further assignment.

An additional six days were spent in accomplishing extensive alterations at New Orleans, when LST 572, now assigned to GROUP 48, FLOTILLA 16, based in the Pacific, departed for New York under orders from ComEIGHT, running alone and unescorted. Arriving in New York late on the night of 24 July, LST 572 was immediately fueled, and early on the 25th left New York together with the rest of GROUP 48 in England-bound convey HXM 301, at that time the largest convoy ever to leave New York.

The crossing was uneventful except for a single torpedoing on the night of 25 July, and even in this action LST 572 was not concerned. Originally bound for Milford Haven, Wales, LST 572 (together with most of the rest of GROUP 48) was diverted by radio in mid-Atlantic to Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Upon arrival in Londonderry on 8 August, LST GROUP 48 was assigned the task of transporting to Plymouth, Devon, various miscellaneous cargos from USNOB Londonderry, at that time in the middle stages of decommissioning.

On orders from ComTWELFTHFLEET, LST 572 departed Londonderry independently on 21 August for Plymouth, but on 22 August was again diverted by radio, this time to her original destination, Milford Haven, "for orders". These orders assigned her to a coastal convoy which she immediately joined and accompanied to Falmouth, Cornwall, arriving 24 August.

Unloading was completed on 5 September, and upon receipt of orders from COMLST11thPHIB, LST 572 departed Falmouth on the 7th for Weymouth, England, arriving on the following day. Upon reporting to ComLSTFLOT12 for duty in the channel "shuttle service" (TF 123), she was loaded with field artillery troops and equipment in the short time of two and one-half hours on 9 September, and on the 10th departed for Omaha Beach, Normandy. The 12 hour trip was surprisingly uneventful, and early on the morning of 11 September unloading was completed. Later on the same day, LST 572 was loaded with some of the Army's heavy artillery shells (destined for the siege of Brest) and on 13 September departed, from Omaha Beach for Saint Michele en Greve, Brittany, where she arrived on the following day and was unloaded on 15 September. For two days LST 572 lay at anchor awaiting orders, and on 17 September departed for Plymouth in charge of 12 LSTs, arriving two days later.

The next two weeks were spent in preparation for the return voyage to the United `States, and on 5 October LST 572, together with 17 other LSTs, 20 LCIs, and one tug, departed for the United States with a DE Division escorting. On Friday, 13 October, off the Azores, the convoy was struck without warning by a hurricane which did severe damage to many of the LSTs, although LST 572, excepting for a short period when she could not maintain her course because of the high wind, was always under control and otherwise suffered only minor damage. Finally, on 24 October, three months after leaving the United States, LST 572 arrived in Norfolk, "her home port", for the first time.

In accordance with the leave policy established by ComPhibTraLant for amphibious forces returning from the European Theater of Operations, two-thirds of the crew were immediately sent on a 30 day leave. An additional one-third reported aboard as replacements from Camp Bradford, with the result that during the period 1 November - 1 December, while undergoing repairs, dockings, alterations, trials, and so forth, LST 572 was manned at two thirds strength.

On 1 December, with a full crew composed of new men and old, LST 572 began making final preparations for the trip to the Panama Canal and, eventually, the Pacific. On 5 December LCT 408 was loaded and secured on the main deck and her crew temporarily joined that of the LST. The ships of LST GROUP 48 were assigned en masse to LST GROUP 104 as part of newly-formed LST FLOTILLA THIRTY-FIVE, Captain D.H. JOHNSTON, USN, commanding. Her departure delayed two days by bad weather, LST 572 left Norfolk on 17 December in Task Unit 20.17.13 with eight other LSTs, joining a Canal-bound convoy one day later. Upon arriving at Coco Solo, Panama, on 27 December, LST 572 lay at anchor for two days, and on 29 December, completed her tour of Atlantic duty with passage through the Panama Canal.

HISTORY OF THE U.S.S. LST 572
PART TWO - PACIFIC OPERATIONS

Now under orders from CinCPac, LST 572 departed the Canal on 29 December in company with nine other LSTs and sailed for San Diego with ComLSTFLOT35 in charge. Arriving on 13 January, 1945, she spent four days in provisioning, fueling, and making minor voyage repairs, and on 17 January departed San Diego for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, arriving on the 28th.

On 1 February, LST 572 departed Pearl Harbor independently for Port Allen, Kauai, where she loaded a mobile radio and radar company of the 5th Maine Corps. After returning to Pearl Harbor on 3 February, these troops were unloaded immediately, and LST 572 was unassigned until 16 February, when, in Task Unit 13.10.03, with CTU aboard, she led four other LSTs in training exercises off Maui until 20 February, when she returned to Pearl Harbor.

Again unassigned until 20 March, LST 572 lay at anchor in Pearl Harbor effecting minor repairs and preparing for duty in the Western Pacific. On 20 March, LST 572 loaded mobile replacement equipment for the 5th Marine Division, just returned from Iwo Jima, and proceeded to Hilo, Hawaii, unloading on the 21st. Returning immediately to Pearl Harbor, LST 572 was loaded on 25 March at Kewalo Basin with mobile equipment destined for Guam, and on the following day departed for Eniwetok. After arriving at Eniwetok on 8 April, four days were spent in provisioning and effecting minor repairs, and on 13 April, LST 572 departed Eniwetok for Guam, arriving 18 April. Cargo was discharged on the following day and on 25 April LST 572, loaded with B-29 engines, left Guam for Saipan, where equipment and troops of the 47th Army engineers were loaded for transportation to Okinawa.

LST 572 departed Saipan 25 April in company with five other LSTs, four other vessels, and three escorts, arriving at Hagushi Anchorage, Okinawa, without incident on 8 May. At 1930, on 9 May, during a flash red-control-yellow air condition, LST 572 beached at Orange Beach, Hagushi, just opposite YonTan airfield, without difficulty. During the night of 9 May several strikes were made on YonTan airfield by Japanese aircraft, and although LST 572 was unhit in this action, she was twice narrowly missed by white phosphorous flares which fell close aboard, one on each quarter. She did not open fire, as the existent smoke condition made accurate shooting impossible, and in addition, numerous other friendly craft on the beach at the-time might have been struck.

After unloading her cargo on 10 May, LST 572 anchored off Hagushi and on the following day LCT 408, which had been on the main deck since December, was launched. LST 572 was then assigned the duty of collecting empty fog oil drums and dispensing 20mm and 40mm ammunition, which she performed until her departure for Saipan. While at anchor off Hagushi, enemy air raids and attacks by suicide boats were experienced almost nightly and on the afternoon of 12 May, U.S.S. NEW MEXICO, anchored close by, was severely damaged in a kamikaze attack.

In company with 20 other LSTs, one LSM, and one escort, (U.S.S. HERBERT) as TU 51.29.13, LST 572 departed Okinawa on 20 May. At 2042 on 23 May, LST 122, the last ship in the convoy's port section, reported a torpedo attack off her port quarter. The convoy immediately took evasive action while the HERBERT attempted unsuccessfully to make contact with the submarine. No further action developed, and on 26 May, the Task Unit arrived safely in Saipan.

In the middle of a six-day availability for repairs, the ship was ordered to Tinian where the ship's crew unloaded her cargo of 1,500 empty oil drums on the night of 3 June, army stevedores not appearing for the job. The following day, after returning to Saipan, LST 572 joined convoy S-Li, bound for Leyte, P.I., arriving at Tacloban without incident on 10 June, where the convoy waited for two days before proceeding to San Fabian, Luzon, to pick up 5th Air Force troops. On 16 June, one day after arrival, the 1717th Signal Service Company was embarked and carried to Hagushi, Okinawa, where they were discharged on 25 June. On 26 June, troops and equipment of the 77th Division were loaded, and on 29 June, LST 572 departed Okinawa in TU 31.29.27 for Leyte, where upon arrival she was routed to Cebu. On 7 July the 77th Division was disembarked at Cebu and on 9 July, LST 572 departed Cebu for Subic Bay, Luzon, arriving on the 11th. Here troops and prisoners of the 5th Air Force Stockade were embarked, and on 16 July, LST 572 sailed for Okinawa as part of TU 72.10.3. After spending the night of 17 July in San Fernando, Luzon, because of foul weather, the trip was completed on 23 July, when LST 572 beached at Hamasaki, northwest Okinawa. Troops disembarked on the same date, and on 27 July, troops and equipment of the 96th Infantry Division were loaded at Buckner Bay, Okinawa. During this period numerous enemy night air attacks were experienced by the ships at anchor.

On 1 August, in Task Unit LST Group 62-D, LST 572 departed Buckner Bay for Tacloban, Leyte, in company with 24 other LSTs and DEs JOHNSON, KNOX, and MAJOR, and ComLSTGROUP 67 as OTC. At 0030 on the morning of 4 August, the Task Unit in position Latitude 19 38' North, Longitude 128 33' East, was proceeding on true course 192 at a speed of 10 knots. Gunfire was sighted on the starboard quarter, and LST-572 immediately went to General Quarters. Simultaneously an emergency turn of 40 by the entire formation, placing the escorts between the enemy (as yet unidentified as to form or attack) and the ships in the convoy. U.S.S. MAJOR left the formation and proceeded to attack singly what developed to be a Japanese submarine, driving it to the Southwest. The convoy was brought to its base course again, commenced zig-zagging, and at 0245 headed due East to escape contact with other subs which might possibly be in the vicinity. At 0259 a heavy rain set in, reducing visibility to the point where little could be seen beyond the adjacent column, and also making voice communication with LST FM equipment (SCR) ineffective outside the immediate vicinity of the formation. A message from the OTC at 0305 informed the Task Unit that several torpedoes had been fired at the convoy, but that no ships had sustained damage. Base course was resumed at 0354, and the incident was closed for the ships in formation, but late in the morning a message was received from U.S.S. MAJOR indicating that after firing 45 depth charges, in four runs, she had witnessed a large underwater explosion accompanied by tremendous clouds of white smoke rising from the area she had attacked. This led her to believe that "we think we (MAJOR) sunk the bastard".

The trip was completed without further incident, the TU proceeding as planned to Tacloban, Leyte, P.I., where after lying at anchor for two days (7-9 August), LST 572 departed on the 10th for Mangarin Bay, Mindoro, arriving and discharging her cargo on 12 August.

On 13 August LST 572 proceeded from Mindoro to Batangas, Luzon where she was anchored when the Japanese surrendered. On 29 August, LST 572 proceeded from Batangas to Manila, and on 31 August left Manila for San Fabian, arriving 1 September. On, the 3rd, occupation troops and equipment of the 442nd Signal Batallion were loaded and on 7 September LST 572 departed Lingayen Gulf with 60 other LSTs in TU 33.2.3 for the Tokyo area, arriving in Tokyo Bay on 15 September. Cargo was unloaded two days later, and on 20 September, in TU 32.6.10, LST 572 departed Tokyo with 53 other LSTs for Okinawa, arriving at Buckner Bay, Okinawa, on 24 September. From 28 September to 1 October, LST 572 cruised south and east of Okinawa to avoid a typhoon. On 3 October, LST 572 proceeded to Io Shima, where she beached and loaded Fifth Air Force troops on the 6th. On 7 October proceeding singly to Buckner Bay, who was forced to divert again to the south and east of Okinawa to avoid another Typhoon

Returning to Buckner Bay on the 13th, she was ordered to Hagushi on the same day, and on the 16th departed for the Tokyo area with 12 other LSTs. Leaving Tokyo three days later, LST 572 proceeded with her cargo to Otaru Ko, Hokkaido, Japan, in TU 32.2.26, arriving on 27 October. Cargo was unloaded on 1 November, and on 2 November the Task Unit left Hokkaido and proceeded to Aomori, Honshu, arriving on 4 November. On the 5th, troops and equipment of the 3rd Engineer Shore Battalion were embarked, and on the following day the Task Unit departed Aomori for the Tokyo area, anchoring on 9 November. Troops were unloaded the same day, and on 12 November LST 572 sailed for Saipan without cargo. There she arrived on the 18th, and has remained at anchor effecting repairs until this day, 29 November 1945.

In December, 1945, LST-572 started for home from Saipan, but was called back to Guam to turn the ship over to the Japanese to use to transport their own personnel back to Japan. But when we she got to Guam the order was recinded. LST 572 left for Chinese duty manned by US Naval personnel

LST 572 was decommissioned on 8 March 1946.


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