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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Onslow

 

A bay on the coast of North Carolina.

 

(AVP–48: dp. 2,800; l. 310’9”; b. 41’2”; dr. 13’6”; s. 18.2 k.; cpl. 367; a. 15”, 8 40mm; cl. Barnegat)

 

Onslow (AVP–48) was laid down 18 May 1942 by Lake Washington S.Y., Houghton, Wash.; launched 20 September 1942; sponsored by Mrs. W. W. Fitts; and commissioned 22 December 1943, Comdr. Alden D. Schwarz in command.

 

After shakedown, Onslow sailed, on 19 March 1944, for Kwajalein via Pearl Harbor and Majuro for duty with Task Group 57.3.

 

On 20 April, Onslow was given the task of cleaning up Ujelang, a small island in the Marshalls, occupied by enemy troops. Embarking troops of the 111th Infantry, U. S. Army, she rendezvoused with YMS91 on the 21st. The following morning, 160 men were put ashore to cover the island. They met resistance at the center of the island from 18 entrenched Japanese soldiers, who were killed, with no American casualties. During this time, Onslow came under attack by a twin-engined “Betty”, which was driven off by 5 inch fire. Onslow returned to Kwajalein on the 25th and resumed tending planes.

 

After six weeks, Onslow was sent to Eniwetok, arriving 10 June. On the 15th, in company with Downes (DD–375), she screened for Pocomoke (AV–9) enroute to Saipan. While on this passage she rescued a downed fighter pilot who was adrift in a raft, 25 miles off Saipan. Three days after the initial landings Onslow took up duties tending the planes of Patrol Squadron 16.

 

On the morning of 10 September, two Japanese swam from the island and succeeded in climbing aboard one of the moored Cues undetected. They proceeded to blow the plane up with and grenades and a boat was dispatched from the ship to assist the plane crew. The first boat was driven back under fire, but two additional boats joined in and they were then able to reach the plane and kill the boarders. However gunfire set the plane’s fuel ablaze destroying it; the crew was saved.

 

Onslow with Chandeleur (AV–10), Yakutat (AVP–32), Mackinac (AVP–13), and Pocomoke sailed on 12 September to participate in the invasion of the Palau Islands. At noon on the 16th the formation entered Kossol Passage. For 12 days they tended planes under adverse conditions: floating mines, dangerous coral heads and rough water, not to mention the presence of enemy planes and subs.

 

On 13 November Onslow sped out to recover a Mariner seaplane down at sea with engine failure and towed it 275 miles to Ulithi.

 

She then returned to Kossol Passage. On 12 January, three midget enemy submarines entered the harbor, and the ships spent the day dodging coral heads trying to ferret out the elusive little subs. One of the midget submarines was sunk with the other two escaping.

 

17 January 1945, Onslow moved to Ulithi and on the 19th she steamed for Guam. She then spent two months at Saipan beginning 20 January, providing services to CASU 48 bowser boats and the crews of two crash boats.

 

On 23 March, she got underway for the invasion of Okinawa. Along with Yakutat, Shelikof (AVP–52), and Bering Strait (AVP–34), she convoyed Hamlin (AV–15), St. George (AV–16), and Chandeleur from Saipan to Kerama Retto, arriving on 28 March. Upon anchoring, the ships began to lay out a seadrome and by the next day, were operating on a regular schedule with 60 Mariner seaplanes.

 

Here the tender’s work was more difficult than ever before. Many of the planes were damaged by the enemy or by the heavy seas. Because of their frequency, it became necessary to ignore enemy air raids at times. On one occassion she assisted in splashing one Japanese fighter which was making a dive on her.

 

Beginning about 1 June many of the enemy troops isolated on the small islands began coming to the beaches to surrender. Onslow would notify the proper commands and often furnish shallow draft boats to assist the Army in picking them up.

 

On 6 August, Onslow received orders to escort Chandeleur to Eniwetok via Saipan. She transferred all squadron personnel and equipment to Duxbury Bay (AVP–38) and departed Okinawa. The cessation of hostilities was declared on 15 August, the same day she entered port.

 

Upon leaving Eniwetok, Onslow embarked military passengers for Pearl Harbor and the States, beginning a tour on “Magic Carpet” duty.

 

Onslow remained active for some time following the end of the war, participating in the Asian occupation until 10 January 1947. She was placed out of commission in reserve in June 1947, but was reactivated in January 1951 to serve in the Korean conflict. She operated on a rotational basis, finishing four tours in the Western Pacific prior to 1955. During these tour periods, she spent most of her time in Iwakuni, Japan tendering planes. She provided services during the initial establishment of ‘,he Naval Air Station there in 1952.

 

From 24 June 1955 to 3 April 1956, Onslow began a long tour of stateside duty, homeported at Alameda, Calif. Following this tour she began another WestPac cruise, which brought her into 1957.

 

Returning stateside again, Onslow provided services for various commands on the West Coast, with interim periods for upkeep and training.

 

Onslow decommissioned 22 April 1960 and was struck from the U. S. Naval Register on 1 June 1960. She was sold on 18 October to the Philippine Presidents Line, Inc.

 

Onslow earned four battle stars for service in World War II.