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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive


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Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (3) - World War II Victory Medal
Bottom Row - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp) - Philippines Presidential Unit Citation - Philippines Liberation Medal (2)

LST-542 Class Tank Landing Ship:
  • Laid down, 24 May 1944, at Chicago Bridge & Iron Co., Seneca, IL.
  • Launched, 18 August 1944
  • Commissioned USS LST-637, 5 September 1944, LT. C. E. Helfrich, USNR, in command
  • During World War II USS LST-637 was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the and participated in the following campaigns:

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaign
    Luzon operation
    Lingayen Gulf landings, 4 to 18 January 1945
    Borneo operation
    Tarakan Island operation, 27 April to 5 May 1945
    Brunei Bay operation, 10 to 12 June 1945
    Consolidation and capture of Southern Philippines
    Visayan Island landings, 18 March and 29 March to 5 April 1945

  • Following World War II USS LST-637 was assigned to Occupation service in the Far East for the following periods:

    Navy Occupation Service Medal
    15 September to 5 October 1945
    20 to 30 October 1945

  • Decommissioned, 29 March 1946
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 5 June 1946
  • USS LST-637 earned three battle stars for World War II service
  • Final Disposition, sold to the Ships & Power Equipment Corp., Barber, N.J., 18 December 1947, and subsequently scrapped
    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 Contributed
    LST-637 87k USS LST-637 at anchor off Morotai, fully loaded and waiting to get underway with the rest of the invasion fleet for the four day trip to Tarakan Island, Borneo, 27 April 1945.
    Australian War Memorial photo # 090897.
    Australian War Memorial
    LST-590 57k USS LST-637, USS LST-590 and an unidentified LST at Morotai, Halmahera Islands, Netherlands, East Indies, 29 May 1945. From a crowded waterfront that only six months earlier had been a deserted tropical beach hundreds of heavily laden Royal Australian Air Force vehicles were embarked at Morotai before the invasion fleet sailed for Labuan, British North Borneo.
    Australian War Memorial photo # OG2802.
    Australian War Memorial
    LST-637 78k USS LST-637 beach at Morotai, Halmahera Island, Netherlands East Indies, 30 May 1945, while Australian and US soldiers load an LVT named Scotch & Soda into an unidentified LST in preparation for the landings at Tarakan, Borneo.
    Australian War Memorial, Photo No. 018425
    Mike Green
    LST-637 171k USS LST-637 and two unidentified LST's load troops, equipment and supplies before departure for Tarakan, Borneo Submitted by Adrain K
    'for educational purposes'
    Source-"Pictorial History of Australia at War 39-45",
    5 Volumes. 1959
    LST-942 213k Brown Beach, Brunei Bay Borneo, June 10-12, 1945. USS LST-942, USS LSM-638, USS LST-637, and the remaining 14 LST's of the Brown Assault Unit offload their men and equipment. LST-942 delivered elements of the RAAF 4th Airfield Construction Battalion. Brian Miller

    USS LST-637
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01LT. Helfrich, Carl E., USNR5 September 1944 - 6 April 1945
    02LT. Vielhaber, Robert A., USNR6 April 1945 - 1 March 1946
    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 Homeport
    State LST Chapters
    United States LST Association
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 24 November 2017