HISTORY of the USS LSSL 128 (ex-LCS (L) 128)
The USS LCS(L) 128 began her place in history as one of forty-seven amphibious Landing Craft Support vessels produced by the George Lawley & Sons Corporation Shipyard in Neponset, Massachusetts.
On 1 December 1944 the keel of the LCS(L) 128 was laid and several days later, on 9 December, she was launched.
As the USS LCS(L) 128 was nearing completion, the crew was billeted in the Fargo Building in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. Six of the crew was assigned gangway duty at the Lawley Shipyard while the ship was having Radar and other US Navy equipment installed. These men were assigned sleeping quarters in a private residence near the shipyard.
On Friday, 29 December 1944 at 0815 Lieutenant Commander E. S. Fleming, USNR representing the Commandant of the First Naval District, presented orders to Lieutenant (jg) James B. Myers, USNR. Lieutenant Meyers was ordered to take command of the newly commissioned USS LCS(L) 128. The starboard watch was set and Ensign Richard J. Schmadel; First Lieutenant was assigned to the first Officer-of-the-Deck watch.
After taking on supplies and performing shakedown activities, the ship was under way to Norfolk, Virginia where ammunition was taken aboard. She then headed for the Panama Canal and once through the Canal to San Diego, California. After arriving at San Diego, electrical cables were placed throughout the ship. The purpose of the cables was to Degauss (neutralize the ships magnetism) the ship and prevent her from attracting mines. While in San Diego, repairs, maintenance and re-supply of stores were made and maneuvers completed.
On 28 March 1945 LCS(L)s: 71, 98, 99 and 128 as well as LSMs: 120, 124, 356, 369 and 370 in formation were all bound for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. After Pearl Harbor she sailed to Guam, Marianas Islands, stopping briefly at Eniwetok, Marshall Islands. Then in formation with LC(FF) 1083 and LCS(L)s: 3, 76, 105, 107 and 128 sailed to Saipan, Marianas Islands. It was on the way to Saipan that they learned that Vice Admiral Turner had nicknamed the ships "Mighty Midgets" and that Tokyo Rose had called them "Miniature Destroyers". After taking on supplies and having PC 804 join the formation, the ships sailed for Okinawa, Ryukas Islands. On the 29 and 30 June 1945, as they approached Okinawa the formation was called to General Quarters many times due to enemy aircraft in the vacinity.
On 2 July 1945 the ship anchored in Hugushi Anchorage, Okinawa. The ship was assigned to lay smoke for major ships at anchor during night air attacks and to perform "anti-suicide boat patrols" in the anchorage. Several days later she was on patrol between Chinen Saka Island and Katuka Island. The next stop was in Dry Dock (AFD 14) for repairs to the landing skegs. After Dry Dock she returned to the previous assignments.
On 18 July the LCS(L) 128 was assigned and reported to "Radar Picket Station 9-A" along with the LCS(L)s: 96, 98, 129 and three Destroyers. Okinawa was within range of Japanese aircraft based on Kyushu, the Southern most Japanese home island, and the occupied island of Formosa. Fifteen (some say Sixteen) Radar Picket Stations, on the West Coast of Okinawa were established. The Radar Picket Ships provided the island with an Early Warning System.
On 28 July 1945 the LCS(L)s: 125, 128, 129, 130, Destroyers: Prittchet (DD 561), Callahagn (DD 792) and Cassin Young (DD 793) were on patrol in Station 9-A. The following day, the Callahagn, while on patrol, was sunk and the Prichett was damaged during an air attack. On 30 July the Cassin Young was damaged during a Japanese air attack after being at another Picket Station a little over 4 hours.
After dodging a typhoon, the LC(FF)1081, LCS(L)s: 96, 98, 100, 125, 128, 129 and 130 in formation sailed from Okinawa to Leyte, Philippine Islands. After many days of maneuvers and practice for "Operation Coronation", (Invasion of Japan) the ships sailed back to Okinawa. On 2 October 1945 Flotilla Five, Group 13, Division 26 with Captain J. McIsaac, USN aboard LC(FF) 1081 the ships left Buckner Bay enroute to Hiro Wan, Honshu, Japan for Occupation Duty. On 15 October 1945 the flotilla sailed to Subic Bay in the Philippines. Late in October, the ships sailed to Manila Bay passing between Corrigedor and the Battan Peninsula.
On 10 December 1945 she left for Saipan via San Juanico Straights in formation with: LCIs, LC(FF)s and 30 LCS(L)s. They stopped briefly at Eniwetok, Johnson Atoll and Pearl Harbor, arriving in San Pedro, CA on 12 February 1946. They then sailed to Acapulco and Salina, Mexico and Panama City in the Canal Zone. After passing through the Panama Canal they stopped at Key West, Florida and then Little Creek, Virginia. On 20 April 1946 the ship reported to the Commander, Atlantic Fleet and was put in Caretaker Status. The ship was Decommissioned on 26 November 1946.
On 29 January 1947 the ship was placed back in service. She was assigned to the Naval Reserve Training Command on 1 April 1949 and spent time in New Orleans, Louisiana. On 28 February 1949 the ship was reclassified LSSL 128 (Landing Ship Support Large).
On 3 July 1950 the ship was declared surplus to Naval needs and its sale was authorized. On 9 August 1950 the ship was stripped and made ready for sale. She was delivered to Southwest Steel Corporation Inc., Memphis, Tennessee on 14 December 1950 and Stricken from the Naval Register 20 December 1950.
The USS LCS(L) 128 earned the following awards for service during World War II:
Written by Robert Cowell