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A BRIEF HISTORY OF U.S.S. LCS(L) (3) 65
The USS LCS (L)(3) 65 was built by Albina Engine and Machine Works at Portland, Oregon. She was placed in full commission by Capt. L. D. Whitgrove, USN, representing the Commandant of the 13th Naval District, on 26 December 1944.
The crew, consisting of 6 officers and 65 enlisted men, was assembled in Solomons, Maryland, and left Solomons on 24 November 1944, arriving in Portland on 29 November. The ship was 159 feet long with a beam of 23’3”. Its draft forward was 4’9”, aft was 6’6”.
On January 5, 1945, the ship left Portland and immediately was tested by a storm off the Astoria Bar. The LCS 69 and 89 were also with the 65 in this storm. This was to be the worst storm the 65 was ever to encounter. All ships arrived at San Diego on January 10, 1945. After several weeks of training and availability, ship and crew left San Diego on February 15, 1945.
On February 22nd, the LCS 65 was airing bedding when a lifeline broke and two men fell overboard. One man was lost at sea and the other was rescued by the LCS 89. The ships arrived at Pearl Harbor on February 24th and had 3 days availability at Kewalo Basin, Honolulu. The next 2 weeks were spent off Maui Island, Hawaii, providing a berthing space for a UDT Group (underwater demolition) while awaiting a court of inquiry into the man lost at sea. The Admiral wanted to relieve the skipper, Lt. Bannister, but a shortage of qualified skippers prevented the replacement.
Following the weeks at Maui, the 65 trained in shore bombardment and anti-aircraft fire, in the vicinity of Kahoolawe Island, Hawaii. The ship returned to Pearl Harbor on April 17, five days after President Roosevelt died on April 12th.
The LCS 65 left Pearl Harbor April 13th for its final destination of Okinawa Gunto. She arrived at Eniwetok Atoll, Marshall Islands on 24 April. Three days were spent there in preparation for further sailing. She departed Eniwetok Atoll on 27 April, arriving Saipan, Marianas Islands, on 3 May. She left Saipan on 5 May, reaching Okinawa, Ryukyus Islands on 10 May. The 65 was nearby when the battleship New Mexico was hit by Kamikaze planes. Tokyo Rose reported the New Mexico sunk, but this was not true.
The LCS 65 belonged to Group 12, Flotilla 4. Also in Group 12 were the LCSs 66, 67, 68, 69, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94 and 95.
On 14 May the ship was assigned to radar picket station #9. Kamikaze planes attacked the LCS 65 on 19 May while she patrolled on this picket station. The 65 left picket station 9 on 24 May and was engaged in 6 days of logistics, at the same time serving on anti-suicide boat patrol and smoke screening for the “big boys.” From 1 June to 15 June the 65 participated with the Eastern Gun Support Group in patrol off southern Okinawa.
On 15 June the ship was ordered to duty with the Northern Gun Support Group, acting as anti-aircraft screen and smoke screening. On 8 July 1945 the 65 picked up 2 Japanese swimmers who may have been trying to plant explosives. To save face they asked to be shot, but were turned over to the authorities for further interrogation. On 17 July the ship was relieved and departed Okinawa on 22 July, destination Leyte, Philippine Islands. The 65 arrived in Tacloban, Leyte, on 26 July.
At Tacloban, the ship engaged in repairs and supply, much liberty ashore, and preparation for the invasion of Japan in October 1945. World War II ended on 11 August, with great celebration in the anchorage. The LCS 65 left Tacloban on 3 September with the entire Flotilla 4 as part of the occupation forces, and arrived at Tokyo Bay on 11 September. From 11 September until 15 February, 1946 the ship sailed in and around Tokyo Bay carrying liberty parties to cities in the bay area. During this time, many of the original crew went home, and it was difficult to completely man the ship. On 15 February the ship departed Tokyo Bay for home.
We returned to the USA via Guam, Eniwetok and Honolulu, and arrived in Long Beach (San Pedro), California on 1 April 1946. The LCS 65 was then ordered to sail for Green Cove Springs, Florida for decommissioning, but during the rest stop in Long Beach, the engine room flooded, nearly sinking the ship. The flooding was never fully explained. The entire engine room was rebuilt and after 30 days of repair the 65 departed Long Beach on 20 June in company with LCS 69. These two ships sailed the Panama Canal and arrived in New Orleans on 14 July, 1946.
The LCS 65 was decommissioned in October 1946, but was recommissioned the following March and began serving as a reserve training ship in the Great Lakes Naval District area. In September 1952 the 65 was still training reservists but was working out of Wheeling, West Virginia, serving Naval Reserve Training Centers up and down the Ohio River. She would take reservists on one, two or three day training cruises. During this period the ship’s commanding officer was frequently frustrated by the fact that river pilots were always completely in control of the ship when they were underway.
This service went on until October 1953 when the ship was ordered to proceed to the Reserve Fleet for mothballing and storage at Sabine in southwest Texas. However while the crew was working hard readying the ship for mothball storage in Sabine, they received orders to proceed to New Orleans where they were to get the ship in good order and then train naval personnel from Indochina (which would later become South Vietnam) to operate the ship. And this did happen in late January 1954.
For this description of LCS 65’s “Second Life” we are indebted to Robert Mullins who served as a yeoman on the ship from September 1952 to December 1953. Incidentally, while Mullens was rated a yeoman, he found himself doing almost every duty on the ship (even as a deckhand handling lines) because their crew, during the time they were training reservists, had been reduced from six officers and 65 men to just one officer and 20 enlisted men.
After her service in Indochina (South Vietnam) the 65 was given to the Navy of Greece in 1958 and renamed the Maridakis, in honor of Lt. Maridakis who lost his life during the sinking of the submarine H.S. Proteus. On 10 July 1976 the 65 was placed on the inactive list.
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