Counties in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.
(APA 190: dp. 14,833 (f.); l. 455’; b. 62’; dr. 28’1”; s. 17 k.; cpl. 501; trp. 1,562; a. 1 5”, 12 40mm.; cl. Haskell; T. VC2–S–AP5)
Pickens (APA–190), built under Maritime Commission contract (MCV hull 658), was laid down by the Kaiser Shipbuilding Co., Vancouver, Wash., 22 April 1944; launched 21 July 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Howard Denhart; delivered to the Navy and commissioned 18 September 1944, Comdr. John V. McElduff in command.
Following shakedown, Pickens steamed west, engaged in amphibious training in Hawaiian waters, and on 27 January 1945, got underway for the western Pacific with elements of the 4th Marine Division embarked. A unit of TransDiv 45 she arrived off Iwo Jima on the morning of 19 February and despite cold weather and high seas stood off the assault beach, 0730–1800, to land troops and equipment. Retiring at night, she returned daily to continue offloading cargo and to take on casualties. On the 28th she got underway for Saipan, thence, to Guam to disembark her casualty passengers.
For the next month Pickens, with 2nd Division Marines embarked, rehearsed for operation “Iceberg”. On 27 March she departed the Marianas and on 1 April participated in the diversionary landings on Okinawa’s southeastern coast, during which she assumed duties of Division Commander (TransDiv 44) after Hinsdale (APA–120) was kamikazed. She effected the rescue of survivors from that APA, LST–884, and LST–724. On the 2nd she repeated the feint, then swung around to the stand-by area where she remained until the 9th. Pickens then returned to Saipan and on the 14th debarked her troops.
On 4 June Pickens sailed for Noumea, whence she carried cargo back to the Marianas before heading back to California and availability. Arriving at San Francisco 3 August, she completed availability after the end of the war and at the end of the month joined others of her type in carrying occupation troops to the Far East and bringing back veterans. She completed “Magic Carpet” duty at San Francisco 7 January 1946, then got underway for the east coast and inactivation. Decommissioning at Norfolk 12 April 1946, she was redelivered to the Maritime Commission 18 April and on 1 May her name was struck from the Navy List. Into 1970 she remains with the National Defense Reserve Fleet, laid up at the James River Berthing area.
Pickens earned two battle stars during World War II.