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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Staunch

 

(AM-307: dp. 945 (f.) ; l. 184'6"; b. 33'0"; dr. 9'9"; s. 14.8 k. (tl.) ; cpl. 104; a. 1 3", 4 40mm.; cl. Admirable)

 

Staunch (AM-307) was laid down on 5 September 1943 at Seattle, Wash., by Associated Shipbuilders; launched on 15 February 1944; sponsored by Miss Gwendolyn Crosson; and commissioned on 9 September 1944, Lt. Comdr. John C. Kettenring, USNR, in command.

 

Following shakedown training and antisubmarine warfare (ASW) training out of San Pedro and San Diego, Staunch was overhauled at Long Beach and then headed for Hawaii at the end of November. She arrived in Pearl Harbor on 10 December, took on supplies and sweep gear, participated in amphibious exercises, and got underway for the Central Pacific on 22 January 1945. The minesweeper stopped at Eniwetok for fuel and provisions from 3 to 5 February, before continuing on to the Marianas. She conducted ASW patrols for several days and took on fuel and supplies at Tinian; then, on 13 February, sailed with Task Unit (TU) 52.3.18 in the screen of Terror (CM-5). Staunch arrived off Iwo Jima early on the 16th and made a sweep of the shoreline. On the 17th and 18th, she served as an antisubmarine picket and bombarded the shore on the eve of the assault. Staunch spent D-day assisting in the refueling of the smaller minesweepers. All during her stay at Iwo Jima, she joined other minesweepers in screening Terror during nightly retirements to the transport area.

 

After the landings on the 19th, Staunch remained in the Bonins until 7 March. While there, she served on several patrol stations and helped rescue sailors who fell overboard during a collision between Logan (APA-196) and Napa (APA-157). She cleared the Bonins on 7 March and reached Ulithi, in the western Carolines, four days later. After eight days of repairs, provisioning, and fueling, Staunch exited Ulithi lagoon on 19 March. She reached the Ryukyus on 25 March and immediately streamed her gear to sweep mines around Kerama Retto. Between 26 and 29 March, Staunch and the other minesweepers swept mines from the approaches to the assault beaches on Okinawa, fueled the smaller minesweepers, and periodically fought off air attacks. Each night she retired seaward.

 

Duty in the antisubmarine screen occupied her time on the day before the invasion. On 1 April, the assault troops stormed the Hagushi beaches on Okinawa; and Staunch settled into the routine of patrols and ASW screening. Until 31 May, she came under frequent air attacks, though most were directed at the larger ships, particularly against the radar pickets. During the night of 16 and 17 May, she picked up a small surface contact on her radar screen and found a large boat pulling a raft. Staunch opened fire on the strange enemy craft, and all but one of the Japanese took to the water. The remaining soldier blew himself up with a hand grenade.

 

On 31 May, Staunch joined in a practice sweep in preparation for the occupation of Iheya Shima. At 0000 on the following day, she approached the objective, but the operation was called off, and she retired rapidly. On 2 June, she and her sister minesweepers swept the waters around the island, and the marines stormed ashore. Then, after watching a Japanese “Val” splash, the minesweeper cleared the area for Okinawa. From then until 8 July, she concentrated on an offensive sweep off Sakishima Gunto, known as operation “Zebra,” putting into Kerama Retto periodically for fuel, provisions, and availability. On two occasions while at the anchorage, she joined the other ships in fighting off an enemy aircraft or two. On the morning of 8 July, she put to sea and shaped a course to the Philippines and entered San Pedro Bay, Leyte, four days later. Staunch was overhauled while her crew enjoyed liberty.

 

The minesweeper was still at Leyte in mid-August when Japan's capitulation was announced; but, instead of going home, she got underway on the 25th for Okinawa, reaching Buckner Bay on the 31st. After several days sweeping mines around Okinawa, she headed for Japan. Staunch spent the next three months participating' in the extensive postwar sweep of the waters around the Japanese home islands. She swept the area around Nagasaki and Sasebo until 17 September; then, after two days of availability at Sasebo, she sailed off to sweep the area of the Bungo Suido until the 29th. Between 1 and 21 October, she continued sweeping mines-in between typhoons. She returned to the Bungo Suido on the 30th. In November, Staunch joined the major sweep conducted in the Tsushima Strait. That operation continued into December with Staunch putting into Sasebo periodically for availability. At the completion of that operation, she put into Sasebo for fuel and provisions; then got underway on 11 December for the United States, via Eniwetok and Pearl Harbor.

 

Staunch reached San Diego on 12 January 1946 and remained there for a month. On 11 February, she headed for the Panama Canal and transited it on the night of 21 and 22 February. She made Galveston, Tex., on the 28th and stayed there until 11 April, when she moved to Orange, Tex., to join the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. On 7 February 1955, she was redesignated MSF-307. She remained there until 1 April 1967, when her name was struck from the Navy list. Her hulk was sold on 9 October 1969 to Luria Bros. Co., Inc., for scrapping.

 

Staunch earned four battle stars during World War II.