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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Strength

 

(AM-309: dp. 850; l. 184'6"; b. 33'; dr. 9'9"; s. 14.8 k.; cpl. 104; a. 1. 3", 4 40mm.; cl. Admirable)

 

Strength (AM-309) was laid down on 4 October 1943 by Associated Shipbuilders, Seattle, Wash.; launched on 28 March 1944; sponsored by Mrs. H. W. McCurdy; and commissioned on 30 September 1944, Lt. Comdr. W. D. White, USNR, in command.

 

Strength completed fitting out at Seattle; sailed with Strategy (AM-308) on 20 October for San Pedro, Calif.; and held her shakedown in Los Angeles Harbor. After training at the Sound School in San Diego, the ship returned to San Pedro and got underway on 3 December for Hawaii, arriving at Pearl Harbor on 10 December 1944. Strength was assigned to Mine Division 36 and began training with that unit at Lahaina Roads, Maui, rehearsing for the forthcoming invasion of Iwo Jima.

 

On 22 January 1945, Strength got underway for Ulithi with Task Group 51, LST Flotilla One, in the screen for Tractor Group Able. The ships remained there from 3 to 5 February before steaming for the Marianas where final staging for the assault on Iwo Jima was held. Strength, was detached from the screen to rejoin the other minesweepers of her division and they departed for the Volcanoes on the 13th.

 

Strength arrived off Iwo Jima on 16 February and began sweeping operations to clear the way for the invasion fleet which arrived three days later. She continued sweeping operations and antisubmarine patrols until the end of the month when she steamed to Saipan. Her division sailed for the Carolines and arrived at Ulithi the next day.

 

Strength and her sister ships sortied for the Ryukyus on 19 March. They began sweeping mines from the Kerama Retto area on 25 March in preparation for the assault the next day. On 26 March, a partially surfaced midget submarine was sighted at 1118 hours. Four torpedoes were fired at Strength. Two passed underneath her, and two sped by astern. She opened fire with her secondary batteries, but no damage was ascertained. She then assisted in clearing the approaches to the beaches off Okinawa for the impending assault on that island which began on 1 April. The Japanese launched their heaviest air attack by suicide planes against the American fleet on 6 April. One chose the minesweeper for its target, but her gunners set it afire, and it splashed several hundred yards astern. Strength operated off Okinawa until retiring to Ulithi for repairs. She reached the lagoon on 24 May and remained for a month awaiting parts. Once the repairs had been completed, the minesweeper was assigned antisubmarine patrol in the waters surrounding Ulithi.

 

Strength was at Ulithi when the Japanese ceased hostilities. She sailed for Okinawa on 4 September and operated from 8 September until ordered to Sasebo where she rejoined her division. They swept known minefields between Kyushu and Korea until early December. Strength was ordered to return to the United States, and she sailed from Sasebo on 10 December. She refueled at Ulithi; called at Pearl Harbor on 28 December 1945; and arrived at San Diego on 12 January 1946. The ship was routed onward to the east coast for final disposition.

 

Strength arrived at Galyeston, Tex., on 10 February and began a preinactivation overhaul. She moved to Orange, Tex., on 16 May and was assigned to the 16th Fleet. The ship was placed out of commission, in reserve, on 19 July 1946. On 7 February 1955, Strength was reclassified MSF-309. Strength was struck from the Navy list on 1 April 1967.

 

Strength received three battle stars for World War II service.