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NavSource Online: Mine Warfare Vessel Photo Archive

Kestrel (MHC 26)
ex-Kestral (AMCU 26)

Call sign:
November - Xray - Golf - Quebec

LCI(L)-351 Class Landing Craft, Infantry (Large)/AMCU-7 Class Coastal Minesweeper (Underwater Locator): Laid down 7 September 1944 as LCI(L)-874 by the New Jersey Shipbuilding Co., Barber, NJ; Launched, 6 October 1944; Commissioned USS LSI(L)-874, 13 October 1944; Decommissioned, 10 July 1946; Named Kestrel and reclassified a Coastal Minesweeper (Underwater Locator), AMCU-26, 7 March 1952; Conversion to AMCU-26 began, 24 August 1953 at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, WA; Conversion completed, 1 March 1954; Recommissioned, 8 February 1954; Reclassified a Coastal Minehunter, MHC-26, February 1955; Decommissioned, 2 December 1957; Sold 28 June 1960 to Murphy Marine Service. Fate unknown.

LCI Specifications: Displacement 216 t.(light), 234 t.(landing), 389 t.(loaded); Length 158' 5"; Beam 23' 3"; Draft, Light 3'1" mean, Landing, 2' 8" forward, 41'10" aft, Landing, 5'4"forward, 5'11" aft; Speed 16 kts (max.), 14 kts maximum continuous; Complement two officer, 21 enlisted; Troop Capacity, six Officers, 182 Enlisted; Cargo Capacity, 75 tons; Armor, 2" plastic splinter protection on gun turrets, conning tower and pilot house; Endurance 4,000 miles at 12 kts, loaded, 500 miles at 15 knots; and 110 tons of fuel; Armament four single 20mm guns one forward, one amidship, two aft, later added two .50 cal. machine guns; Fuel Capacity, 130 tons, lube oil 200 gal.; Propulsion two sets of four General Motors diesels, 4 per shaft, 1,600 bhp, twin variable pitch propellers.

Click on thumbnail
for full size image
Size Image Description Source
Kestral 74k c. September 1945
Palau Islands
From the collection of Joseph C. Ritchotte, MoMM2/c
Thomas A. Jarvis
Kestral 121k c. September 1945
Palau Islands
Top row, sixth from the right is MoMM2/c Joseph C. Ritchotte.
From the collection of Joseph C. Ritchotte, MoMM2/c
Thomas A. Jarvis

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships: LCI(L)-874 was laid down by New Jersey Shipbuilding Corp., Barber, N.J., 7 September 1944; launched 6 October; and commissioned 13 October, Lt. (j.g.) J. 0. Harrison
in command.

Following shakedown and training off the Atlantic coast, LCI(L)-874 departed Key West 25 November for the Pacific. She engaged in additional training after arriving San Diego 13 December. Departing 29 January 1945, she touched Pearl Harbor, Eniwetok, and Guam before arriving Peleliu 12 April. She performed picket and patrol duty in the Palau Islands during the remaining months of World War II.

From September 1945 to February 1946, LCI(L)-874 operated between the Palau and Mariana Islands, providing mail and shuttle service among the Islands. Departing Eniwetok 4 February she arrived San Pedro, Calif., 1 month later. Sailing to Oregon in May LCI(L)-874 decommissioned there 10 July 1946 and joined the Pacific Reserve Fleet.

She was reclassified and named Kestrel (AMCU-26) 7 March 1952; then recommissioned 8 February 1954, Lt. Gurley P. Chatelain in command. After shakdown and training, she arrived San Diego 27 March for operations in the 11th Naval District. From 1954 to 1957, Kestrel operated out of San Diego on underwater mine location exercises. She was reclassified MHC-26 in February 1955. Kestrel decommissioned at San Diego 2 December 1957. She was sold to Murphy Marine Service on 28 June 1960.

Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
Naval Minewarfare Association
Association of Minemen
USS Landing Craft Infantry National Association
Back To The Main Photo Index Back to the Amphibious Ship Index Back To The Landing Ship Infantry (LSI) Photo Index Back To the Mine Warfare Ship Photo Index Back to the Coastal Minesweeper (Underwater Locator) - (AMCU) Photo Index Back to the Coastal Minehunter (MHC) Photo Index

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