A county established in eastern South Dakota on 5 April 1862, named for Wilmot W. Brookings, a pioneer settler of the region and legislator.
(APA-140: dp. 14,837; l. 455'0"; b. 62'0"; dr. 24'0"; s. 19 k.; cpl. 536; trp. 1,561; a. 1 5", 12 40mm., 10 20mm.; cl. Haskell; T. VC2-S-AP5)
Brookings (APA-140) was laid down on 5 September 1944 at Wilmington, Calif., by the California Shipbuilding Corp., under a Maritime Commission contract (MCV hull 24); launched on 20 November 1944; sponsored by Mrs. T. C. Johnson; and commissioned on 6 January 1945, Capt. Herbert C. Berger in command.
After conducting shakedown training, Brookings returned to San Pedro on 17 February for post-shakedown availability before proceeding to San Francisco to load cargo. Sailing through the Golden Gate on 22 March 1945, Brookings steamed westward and reached Pearl Harbor with a cargo of ammunition on the 28th.
For the next four months, Brookings carried troops and cargo to such ports as Hilo and Pearl Harbor; the island of Guam; Ulithi, in the Carolines; Manus, in the Admiralty Islands; Hollandia, New Guinea; Manila, Philippine Islands; and the island of Leyte. The end of the war in mid-August found her sailing en route from Tacloban to Guam.
Brookings was then assigned to forces supporting the occupation of Japan, and she transported elements of the Army's 43d Division to the Tokyo-Yokahama area. The ship remained in Tokyo Bay between 7 and 13 September 1945. After returning to Guam soon thereafter and proceeding thence to Saipan, Brookings sailed for North China in October and landed elements of the 29th Regimental Combat Team of the 6th Marine Division at Tsingtao. Assigned to Operation "Magic Carpet" on 15 November, the attack transport returned American servicemen from Jinsen, Korea, and Sasebo, Japan, to Seattle, Wash., in two voyages between late November 1945 and early March 1946.
Departing San Francisco on 3 April 1946, Brookings sailed for the east coast, touching briefly at the Canal Zone from 12 to 16 April before arriving at Norfolk, Va., on 21 April. Decommissioned at Norfolk on 25 July 1946, Brookings was laid up in the York River berthing area. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 October 1958, and the ship was transferred to the Maritime Commission. Moved to Wilmington, N.C. later in the year, she was berthed in the National Defense Reserve Fleet. Later shifted to the James River berthing area, she remained in the hands of the Maritime Administration into 1984.
Robert J. Cressman
1 December 2005