Colonial National Park includes Jamestown Island, site of the first permanent English settlement of North America; Williamsburg, the colonial, and first State capital of Virginia; and Yorktown, scene of the decisive victory over and surrender of the British in the Revolutionary War.
(LSD-18: dp. 4,960; l. 457'9"; b. 72'2"; dr. 18'; s. 15 k.; cpl. 326; a. 1 5"; cl. Casa Grande)
Colonial (LSD-18) was launched 28 February 1945 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Newport News, Va.; sponsored by Mrs. L. L. Dean; and commissioned 15 May 1945, Lieutenant Commander J. A. Paterson, USNR, in command.
Colonial cleared Norfolk 26 July 1945 for the Panama Canal, San Francisco and Pearl Harbor, arriving 5 September. Between 11 September and 26 December, she had duty ferrying landing craft among the Pacific Islands and to Okinawa. She sailed from Pearl Harbor 29 December for the Panama Canal and Norfolk, arriving 23 January 1946.
Colonial participated in amphibious training out of Norfolk, conducting local, east coast, and Caribbean operations, and voyaging from Cuba and Puerto Rico as far north as Newfoundland until 15 August 1950, when she cleared Norfolk for Far Eastern duty. Calling at San Diego en route to Kobe, Colonial landed men and tanks of the 1st Marines at Inchon in September, .and troops and equipment at Wonsan and Iwon in December. She acted as "mother ship" for minesweepers on the Korean east coast for a month during this tour, returning to San Diego, her new home port, 27 August. Here she was overhauled and had underway training before returning to Japan and Korea for duty from 17 January to 4 November 1952. During this tour she supported minesweepers working in Wonsan Harbor, and took part in amphibious training.
From the close of the Korean war into I960, Colonial continued to alternate local operations and training out of San Diego with periodic deployments to the Far East. She transported Marines to Korea from 5 August to 9 September 1953, returning to the western Pacific in October for a tour which ended in July 1954. After aiding in the development of the vertical envelopment concept of amphibious assault employing helicopters, she returned to the Orient early in 1955 for a tour of duty which included participation in the evacuation of the Tachen Islands.
In the summer of 1956, Colonial served as a floating laboratory in experiments with balloon-launched rockets, returning to the Far East in 1957. On 30 May she went to the rescue of a grounded Chinese freighter. On her 1958-59 deployment, she provided repair parts and skilled hands for the American merchant tanker Wang Bucaneer, disabled at sea in January.
Colonial received seven battle stars for Korean war service.