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St. Mary's

 

A town and river in Georgia and a county in Maryland. The first St. Mary's was named for the community in Georgia. The second, third, and fourth ships of that name were named for the county in Maryland. The third St. Mary's retained her former name.

 

IV

 

(APA-126: dp. 14,833; l. 455'3"; b. 61'1"; dr. 28'1"; s. 17 k.; cpl. 536; trp. 1,562; a. 1 5", 12 40mm., 10 20mm.; cl. Haskell; T. VC2-S-AP5)

 

The fourth St. Mary's (APA-126) was laid down under Maritime Commission contract (MCV hull 40) on 29 June 1944 by the California Shipbuilding Corp., Wilmington, Calif.; launched on 4 September 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Arthur S. Tode; acquired by the Navy on loan charter and delivered on 14 November 1944; and commissioned on 15 November 1944, Capt. Edward R. Glosten, USNR, in command.

 

Assigned to Transport Squadron 17 (TransRon 17) following shakedown, St. Mary's departed Los Angeles on 1 January 1945; loaded bulldozers, airplane engines, bomb service trucks, and other equipment at San Diego; and, on the 4th, sailed for Manus, Admiralty Islands. Arriving in Seeadler Harbor on the 21st, she offloaded her cargo and steamed to Humboldt Bay, New Guinea, whence she carried troops to Leyte, 31 January to 6 February.

 

During the remainder of February and most of March, she trained with units of the 77th Division for Operation “Iceberg,” the assault on Okinawa. On 21 March, she cleared Leyte Gulf with TG 51.1 and headed north. Five days later, she landed some of her troops on Kerama Retto, then stood by to take on casualties. On 13 April, she shifted to the Hagushi anchorage area; and, on the 16th, sent troops ashore on le Shima. On the 19th, she moved around to Okinawa's southern coast for a diversionary landing; then returned to Hagushi to discharge the remainder of her cargo and troops.

 

On 26 April, St. Mary's departed the kamikaze target area. Three weeks at Ulithi followed. On 24 May, she steamed for Guam; exchanged landing boats; and got underway to return to the Philippines. From 31 May to 26 June, she remained in the Subic Bay-Manila Bay areas. In July, she trained with units of the 81st Division at Leyte; and, in early August, trained with other troops off Iloilo.

 

In mid-August, hostilities ended. St. Mary's embarked occupation troops and sailed for Japan, arriving in Tokyo Bay on 2 September, just prior to the signing of the official surrender documents. Two days later, she disembarked troops of the 1st Cavalry Division at Yokohama, then returned to the Philippines. From Mindanao, she lifted troops to Kure, then steamed to Okinawa; whence, as a unit of the “Magic Carpet” fleet, she carried veterans back to the United States.

 

In December, the APA returned to Okinawa for a second group of returning servicemen. Departing Buckner Bay on the 19th, she developed engine trouble on 3 January 1946, 450 miles from her destination. Nashville, however, took her in tow, and she reached San Francisco on 6 January 1946.

 

Six days later, St. Mary's reported for inactivation. On 15 February, she was decommissioned and returned to the Maritime Commission. Her name was struck from the Navy list on the 21st.

 

St. Mary's earned one battle star for World War II service.