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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Okaloosa

 

A county in Florida.

 

(APA–219: dp. 12,450 (lim.); l. 455’; b. 62’; dr. 24’; s. 17.7 k.; cpl. 536; trp. 1,562; a. 15”, 12 40mm, 10 20mm; cl. Haskell; T. VC2–S–AP5)

 

Okaloosa (APA–219), formerly MCV Hull 567, was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract 8 August 1944 by Permanente Metals Corp., Richmond, Calif.; launched 22 October 1944; acquired by the Navy on a loan charter basis 28 November 1944; and commissioned the same day, Capt. R. E. Jasperson in command.

 

Following commissioning and fitting out, Okaloosa departed Seattle with troops 26 January 1945 for Honolulu, then operated out of Pearl Harbor until sailing 29 March with Army units for Eniwetok, Ulithi, and Okinawa. She arrived off Okinawa 26 April and offloaded troops without incident during the next four days, despite frequent enemy air attacks. The transport then returned to the West Coast, arriving San Francisco 22 May. Her stay was short, however, and she embarked troops and cargo immediately, leaving 30 May for Manila and Leyte, Philippines.

 

Except for a brief voyage to New Guinea in early July, Okaloosa shuttled troops and cargo among the Philippine Islands until departing Manila Bay 7 September for Tokyo Bay with occupation units. From there she sailed, in turn, to Guam; Tsingtao, China; Manila; and Haiphong, French Indo-China, where she loaded elements of the Chinese 52nd Army bound for the Gulf of Pohai, China.

 

Assigned “Magic-Carpet” duty 16 November, Okaloosa sailed to Jinsen, Korea, took on her full capacity of returning troops, and sailed 30 November for Takoma, Wash., arriving 17 December. Four days later she entered Puget Sound Navy Yard for overhaul. She sailed 11 January via the Panama Canal for Norfolk, arriving on the last day of the month. Also, on the 14th, she came under full ownership of the Navy.

 

For the next few Years, Okaloosa operated out of Norfolk, many times with marines from nearby bases. Three times, in June and July 1947 and June 1948, she conducted cruises for large numbers of east coast reservists, sailing to Bermuda on the last two. In addition, amphibious exercises took her to Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands on a number of month-long cruises and several shorter ones.

 

On 15 April 1949 Okaloosa sailed from Norfolk for Orange, Tex., and deactivation. After overhaul she decommissioned on 21 July and entered the Texas Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 October 1958 and transferred to the Maritime Administration 23 September. In 1970 she is berthed at Mobile, Ala. as part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet.

 

Okaloosa received 1 battle star for World War II service.