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Ozark

 

An Indian tribe of the Quapaw confederacy living in Missouri and Arkansas.

 

III

 

(LSV–2: dp. 5,875; l. 458’; b. 70’; dr. 20’ (max.); s. 20 k.; cpl. 564; a. 2 5”, 8 40mm., 20 20mm.; cl. Catskill.)

 

The third Ozark (LSV–2) was laid down as CM–7 by the Willamette Iron and Steel Corp. of Portland, Oreg. 12 July 1941; launched 15 June 1942; sponsored by Mrs. A. J. Byrholdt; redesignated AP–107 on 1 May 1943; again redesignated LSV–2 on 21 April 1944; and commissioned 23 September 1944, Capt. Frederick P. Williams in command.

 

Following shakedown, Ozark sailed for Manus, Admiralty Islands, where she reported 16 November to Commander, 7th Fleet, for assignment to the 3rd Amphibious Force. After intensive training the new vehicle landing ship departed 31 December for Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, Philippine Islands, as a unit of invasion Task Group 79.1. Subsequent to that successful operation, she steamed for the Marianas where she joined Transport Squadron 15 at Saipan for the invasion of Iwo Jima. She landed three waves of troops there 19 February 1945 and continued logistic support to the beach until 27 February. After transporting wounded Marines to Guam for hospital care, Ozark reported to Transport Squadron 13 at Leyte rehearsing for the invasion of Okinawa. She landed her troops and equipment on Okinawa 1 April and again remained to lend logistic support to beach operations until departing 10 April for Guam.

 

With the end of World War II in the Pacific near, Ozark was chosen to transport select occupational units to Japan. In an operation that took two days working around the clock, 911 officers and men were transferred to her at sea by breeches buoy from 9 aircraft carriers, 3 battleships, 2 cruisers, and 6 destroyers. Ozark entered Tokyo Bay 30 August where she debarked her special landing force.

 

After making two complete tours with the Magic Carpet Fleet returning overseas troops to the U.S. after the war, Ozark transited the Panama Canal and arrived New Orleans 31 January 1946 where she was placed in upkeep status. She commenced pre-inactivation overhaul in Orange, Tex. 14 March and decommissioned 29 June.

 

Ozark’s hull classification was changed 7 February 1955 from LSV–2 to MCS–2. Struck from the Naval Vessel Register 1 September 1961, she was returned to the Maritime Administration and placed in the National Defense Reserve Fleet and berthed at Beaumont, Tex. She was reacquired by the Navy 19 June 1963 for conversion to a Mine Countermeasures Support Ship by the Norfolk Shipbuilding and Drydock Corp. Recommissioned 24 June 1966 complete with the bell from Ozark launched in 1900, she was assigned to MineRon 8 homeported in Charleston where she became flagship for Commander, Mine Forces, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. After shakedown and intensive training at Guantanamo Bay, she remained in port for the rest of the year.

 

With the Navy’s first minesweeping launches (MSL, Mark IV) and helicopters (RH3A) on board, Ozark conducted her first mine countermeasures training in the Charleston area early in 1967. After a cruise to several western European ports in 1967 she continued to operate in the Charleston area until deploying to the Mediterranean 18 November. Returning to Charleston 14 February 1969, she began material maintenance and upkeep followed by periodic deployment to the West Indies and the South Atlantic where she was into July.

 

Ozark earned three battle stars and the Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation Badge for service in WW II.