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A BRIEF HISTORY OF LCS 76
Kenneth DeBoer, RM 3/C
The keel of the USS LCS(L) (3) 76 was laid on January 9, 1945. She was launched February 6, 1945 and commissioned March 12, 1945 at the Albina Engine & Machine Works in Portland, Oregon.
A crew of 65 men and 6 officers boarded at 0800 on March 12, 1945, also known as training crew 3855 from Solomonís Island. The ship was commissioned and the Ensign was raised for the very first time.
Departed March 25, 1945 for Astoria and the Pacific Ocean accompanied by LCS 75 and 107. Ran into fierce storm heading for San Diego, referred to by the news media as the Coos Bay Storm. Ships lost considerable deck equipment, including ready boxes & armament.
Arrived San Diego April 3 and made repairs, made some trial runs and speed trips, including shakedown cruise at San Clemente Island. Continued training, took on supplies, applied war paint to ship and headed for Pearl Harbor on May 3, 1945.
Had a very fine trip from San Diego to Pearl Harbor arriving on May 12 and moored at a place called West Loch. More repairs and modifications, more training, some liberty, then departed Pearl Harbor on June 25, accompanied by LCSs 3, 105, 107, 126, 128 and Flagship LCFF 1083.
Arrived Eniwetok Atoll on June 5, took on fuel, water and stores and left for Guam on June 9.
Entered the harbor at Guam on June 13, seemed to be a lot of damaged ships anchored there. Got to shore very briefly only once, left June 20 with same ships.
We arrived at Saipan on June 21, which appears to be a very short trip from Guam, like one day. Iím not really sure about that. Many damaged ships in the harbor, both from action and storm.
Departed Saipan June 26, have added PC804 to our accompanying ships. We are headed for Okinawa, our final destination at this time. We arrived Buckner Bay on June 2 and met with LCS Groups 13, 14 and 15.
On July 4, we moved to the other side of the island and began duty with the AA defense screen. Air raids are frequent in the whole area, mostly at night, but I do not remember seeing any hostile aircraft at all.
We returned to Buckner Bay on July 13, two days later left of Ie Shima to relieve other LCSs at that location. Until the end of July we assumed many other Radar Screening locations. I remember such names as the "outer flycatcher patrol" and a "picket line."
Near the end of July, we assumed escort duty for LSTs delivering supplies to various locations around Okinawa including Aguni, Kume and Kori Shima. This continued for about seven days and then we rejoined other ships on radar patrol. Somewhere during this same time we escorted a sea-going tugboat to pull an LST off a sandbar, but I donít know where that particular operation really fit in.
During the time in the first two weeks of August we continued air defense assignments, and this also was the beginning of the typhoon season. I think that, at the time of our stay there, we experienced four to six storms, usually taking refuge in a place called "Unten Ko." At one time during this period, we were part of a picket line with the Destroyers Evans, Cunningham and Irving. I would be remiss not to mention the number of times we were assigned to protect larger ships at anchorage during the nights with smoke coverage. The words "make smoke" became sort of a call to arms and we became very prolific on that type of duty. It was at one of these times when we fired our only shot of the war, an accidental shot from a 20mm when I believe the gunner was laying in his harness and maybe fell asleep and fired one shot straight up into the air. If the shot did not wake him up, the Captainís roar did.
It reminds me of another one of our few mistakes at gunnery when, traveling to the war zone, a plane arrived towing a target sleeve. We were supposed to shoot behind the sleeve for target practice, but our first salvos brought down the sleeve. I donít believe we missed the plane by a great distance either.
On August 14 we returned to Buckner Bay and discovered there were a lot more ships there than previously. This began the final series of events that led to the end of hostilities. We continued some AA defense, had a few night air raids, the big bombs were dropped on Japan and I believe peace negotiations started. So it appeared as if we were all just hanging around waiting for further developments. When peace negotiations were completed, many of our crew immediately left for the United States, but we continued to operate very well with a partial crew.
During the last part of August, the propulsion system on our ship became disabled, so we spent several weeks waiting for Dry Dock. We finally completed repairs on September 12 and left ARD 13 and began
HECP (Harbor Entrance Control Post) duty in Buckner Bay, experiencing a few more typhoons Ė one of which we did not make the refuge cover in time and had to ride it out in open sea.
About that time we bunched up with the rest of our flotilla and headed for Jinsen, Korea where we were assigned to patrol the coast during the day searching for floating mines. We would anchor at night anywhere we could so we would not get blown up. We never found any mines.
On December 7, the anniversary, we upped anchor with LCSs 4, 54, 57 and 126 and departed for Tsingtao, China to begin the trip home. We joined Flotillas One and Five and began the island hopping return to the United States. We arrived in Seattle, Washington on January 24.
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