HISTORY OF USS LSSL 16 (ex-LCS(L) 16)
One of the hundreds of unnamed, commissioned amphibious vessels built especially for World War II service in the Pacific Ocean against the Japanese, the USS LCS(L) 16 participated in the initial assault on the enemy bastion at Okinawa and was later on picket duty against suicide planes before the cessation of hostilities. She then served on occupation duty in the Japanese home islands until early 1946 when she returned to the United States and was put into the Pacific Reserve Fleet.
On 25 August, 1944 the keel of the LCS(L) 16 was laid at the George Lawley & Sons Corp. Shipyards at Neponset, Massachusetts, and she was launched on September 4th of the same year.
She was commissioned on 28 September, 1944 under the command of Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Homer O. White, USN and sailed to Boston for five days of provisioning and stowing of ammunition. She sailed on October 3rd for the U.S. Naval Amphibious Training Base, Solomons, Maryland. A stop was made at the U.S. Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia, for an inspection before commencing shakedown training which was concluded by 16 October.
Following an availability period at Lambert Point, Norfolk, Virginia, and a short training cruise, the LCS(L) 16 in company with the USS LCS(L) 15, departed from Norfolk on October 26th and after an over-night refuelling at Key West, Florida, continued on to Coco solo, C.Z., where they reported to the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Transiting the Panama Canal on November 7th, they steamed north to San Diego, where they arrived on 18 November.
Upon her arrival, the LCS(L) 16 was assigned to LCS Flotilla THREE, and LCS Group EIGHT. Following extensive training cruises under the Commander, Amphibious Training Command, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and a yard availability, the LCS(L) 16 departed from San Diego with LCS Group EIGHT on 4 January, 1945.
Arriving at Pearl Harbor on 13 January, 1945, she remained until February 2nd when she departed with a convoy containing miscellaneous types of landing craft and ships. Reaching Purvis Bay, Florida Island on 17 February, the LCS(L)16 commenced a period of upkeep and logistics which was completed by the end of February.
Between 1-8 March the LCS(L) participated in drills off Cape Esperance which were rehearsals for the pending invasion of Okinawa. Underway on 12 March as a part of Tractor Group Baker, the LCS(L) 16 put in at Ulithi for fuel and logistics from 21-25 March and then continued on towards the island of Okinawa.
On 1 April, 1945 the LCS(L) 16 moved in with the first wave of landing craft. She fired her rockets and guns at targets of opportunity on the beaches but received no counterfire. Between the afternoon of April 1st and 25 June the LCS(L) spend 45 days on radar picket duty off Okinawa and splashed one Kamikaze suicide plane some 40 feet from the ship and assisted in downing another attacker. When not on station the LCS(L) replenished logistics during the daylight hours and served on the anti-small boat patrol during the night. In addition she was on duty making smoke in the vicinity of the anchorage to hide the ships from the Kamikaze planes.
On 25 June in company with LCS Group EIGHT the LCS(L) 16 sailed for San Pedro Bay, Leyte, for an extended period of rest, overhaul and logistics. While she was moored in San Pedro Bay her officers and enlisted men heard the welcome news that the Japanese had surrendered.
Upping anchor on 11 September, she sailed with LCS Group EIGHT for the Tokyo Bay area for occupation duty. However, while en route the group had to detour and enter a lee on the western side of Okinawa to escape a typhoon. On September 17th the LCS(L) 16 entered Buckner Bay and anchored for the night. She has suffered no serious material casualties nor had any member of her crew received injuries during the buffeting received during the storm.
Underway once again on September 18th, the LCS(L) 16 and LCS Group EIGHT joined LCS Groups NINE two days later and formed Task Group 34.4. After evading the minefields in Tsugaru Straits the LCS(L) anchored off Ominato on 24 September and the following day participated in the landing of occupation forces at Aomori on the northern part of Honshu Island.
Remaining in the home islands area on general liaison duty, the LCS(L) 16 departed from Sasebo, Japan, on 5 January 1946 and moved to Anzuchi Hansei, Japan, where she anchored until 15 February when she received orders to return to the United States.
After touching at Pearl Harbor, the LCS(L) arrived at San Francisco on 29 March and remained until April 15th when she sailed north. Upon her arrival at Astoria, Oregon, on 18 April she reported to the commander, 19th Reserve Fleet for inactivation. She was decommissioned on 8 June, 1946 and moored in the Columbia River.
On l8 June, 1946 her classification was changed to LSSL 16 or Landing Ship Support Large 16. She was stricken from the Naval Register on 20 December, 1950, and was sold eight days later to the Dulien Steel Products Co., Seattle, Washington, for $8,211.
The USS LCS(L) 16 earned the following medals for service during World War II:AMERICAN AREA CAMPAIGN MEDAL ASIATIC-PACIFIC AREA CAMPAIGN MEDAL
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