USS Tazewell (APA-209)

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USS Tazewell (APA-209).jpg
USS Tazewell (APA-209), moored pier side c. 1945–1946, location unknown.
History
United States
Name: Tazewell
Namesake:
Ordered: as a Type VC2-S-AP5 hull, MCE hull 557[1]
Builder: Permanente Metals Corporation, Richmond, California
Yard number: 557[1]
Laid down: 2 June 1944
Launched: 22 August 1944
Sponsored by: Mrs Samuel I. Rosenman
Commissioned: 25 October 1944
Decommissioned: 27 December 1946
Reclassified: redesignated Amphibious Transport (LPA-209), 1 January 1969
Struck: 1 October 1958
Identification:
Honors and
awards:
1 × battle stars for World War II service
Fate:
Status: sold for scrapping, 11 December 1972, withdrawn, 9 January 1973
General characteristics [2]
Class and type: Haskell-class attack transport
Type: Type VC2-S-AP5
Displacement:
  • 6,873 long tons (6,983 t) (light load)
  • 14,837 long tons (15,075 t) (full load)
Length: 455 ft (139 m)
Beam: 62 ft (19 m)
Draft: 24 ft (7.3 m)
Installed power:
Propulsion:
Speed: 17.7 kn (32.8 km/h; 20.4 mph)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
Capacity:
  • 2,900 long tons (2,900 t) DWT
  • 150,000 cu ft (4,200 m3) (non-refrigerated)
Troops: 87 officers, 1,475 enlisted
Complement: 56 officers, 480 enlisted
Armament:
Service record
Part of: TransRon 17
Operations: Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto (26 March–30 April 1945)
Awards:

USS Tazewell (APA/LPA-209) was a Haskell-class attack transport of the US Navy. She was of the VC2-S-AP5 Victory ship design type. Tazewell was named for Tazewell County, Illinois and Tazewell County, Virginia.

Construction[edit]

Tazewell was laid down on 2 June 1944, under a Maritime Commission (MARCOM) contract, MC hull 557, by Permanente Metals Corporation, Yard No. 2, Richmond, California; launched on 22 August 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Samuel I. Rosenman; and commissioned on 25 October 1944, Commander Herbert S. Olsen, USNR, in command.[3]

Service history[edit]

World War II[edit]

Following her shakedown cruise in the San Pedro-San Diego, California, area, Tazewell arrived at Seattle, Washington, on Christmas Day 1944, and began loading troops and supplies. On 2 January 1945, the transport got underway for Hawaii where she embarked garrison troops for the Palau Islands and steamed onward. She arrived off Peleliu on 31 January, after offloading all cargo and debarking the troops, she joined a Philippine-bound convoy which sortied for Leyte on 6 February, and arrived in San Pedro Bay three days later.[3]

Invasion of Okinawa[edit]

Tazewell was assigned to Transport Squadron 17, which became a unit of Task Group 51.1 for the Okinawa invasion. The transport loaded troops and supplies and participated in amphibious training exercises for the forthcoming operation, on 21 March, the task group sortied for Kerama Retto and arrived off that island on the morning of 26 March. All boats were lowered into the water at 05:30, and the assault troops stormed ashore at 08:00, they met almost no opposition but the ships came under air attack shortly after 06:30 and were forced to remain at general quarters all day.[3]

The task group was steaming in night retirement on 3 April, when it was ordered to proceed to a waiting area approximately 200 mi (320 km) southeast of Okinawa. It arrived there on 4 April, and remained until 13 April. Tazewell and six other APA's left the formation that morning and returned to Hagushi Anchorage, Okinawa, the next day. On the morning of 16 April, the transport got underway for Ie Shima and, at 06:10, launched her boats for the beaches, she departed at 16:00 that afternoon but returned the next day to complete unloading her cargo.[3]

Rescue of survivors[edit]

At 22:00 hours on 27 April, a kamikaze plane crashed a liberty ship some 2,500 yd (1.4 mi; 2.3 km) off Tazewell's port bow. Tazewell promptly lowered her outboard boats to pick up survivors from the ship which sank in eight minutes. Since many other boats were also in the water, Tazewell's boats picked up only seven survivors whom they took to the hospital ship USS Hope (AH-7). The other boats rescued many more survivors, minimizing the loss of life.[3]

Transport missions[edit]

On 30 April, Tazewell received orders to proceed to the Mariana Islands, and she arrived at Saipan on 5 May. On 22 May, she stood out of Saipan en route to the United States and arrived at San Francisco on 6 June. Two days later, she moved up the coast to Seattle for a three-week yard availability period, she departed Seattle on 27 June, bound for the Marianas, and arrived at Tinian on 14 July. By the next morning, the attack transport had debarked all her troops and had unloaded her cargo, she shifted to Saipan that afternoon.[3]

After hostilities[edit]

On 16 July, the ship sailed independently for the West Coast, and she arrived at San Francisco 14 days later. Hostilities with Japan ended while the transport was in dry dock at San Pedro; but, when the ship was ready for sea, she was ordered to the Philippine Islands.[3]

Tazewell arrived at Manila on 18 September, and waited four days for orders to unload. On 22 September, she was routed to Lingayen Gulf where she debarked passengers and unloaded cargo, the ship returned to Manila on 24 September; loaded cargo and 8th Army troops; joined Transport Squadron 19 at Legaspi Harbor on 2 October; and sortied for Japan two days later.[3]

Operation Magic Carpet[edit]

Tazewell remained at Yokohama for 12 days before moving to Sasebo where she embarked approximately 500 marines of the 5th Marine Division to be returned to the United States. She arrived at San Francisco on 9 November, and disembarked her passengers.[3]

Tazewell sailed for the Philippines again on 24 November, to pick up a capacity load of veterans eligible for discharge. She loaded troops at Manila and Subic Bay, the transport began her return voyage on 17 December, and arrived at San Francisco on 5 January 1946. She subsequently made round-trip voyages to Yokosuka to return servicemen to the United States. Upon her arrival at San Francisco on 9 August, from the last of these runs, she was assigned to the Pacific Reserve Fleet there for inactivation.[3]

Decommission[edit]

Tazewell was decommissioned at San Francisco on 27 December 1946, and remained in reserve for the next 12 years.[3] Tazewell was transferred to the Maritime Administration (MARAD) on 25 September 1958, and moved to the Astoria Reserve Fleet, Astoria, Oregon.[4] She was struck from the Navy List on 1 October 1958,[3] she was removed from Astoria, 15 September 1967, due to the closing of this Reserve Fleet, on 18 September 1967, she entered the Olympia Reserve Fleet, Olympia, Washington. Tazewell was again move 13 April 1972, this time to the Bremerton Reserve Fleet, Bremerton, Washington. On 11 December 1972, she was sold to Zidell Explorations, Inc., of Portland, Oregon, for $51,000, under a Non-transportation use (NTU) contract to be scrapped.[3]

Awardss[edit]

Tazewell received one battle star for World War II service.[3]

Notes[edit]

Citations

Bibliography[edit]

Online resources

External links[edit]

  • Photo gallery of USS Tazewell (APA-209) at NavSource Naval History