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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Seaward

 

II

 

(IX-209: dp. 3,776; l. 327'9"; b. 50'; dr. 10'4"; s. 10 k.; a. 1 3")

 

The second Seaward was laid down as LST-278 on 16 June 1943 by the American Bridge Company, Am-bridge, Pa.; launched on 12 September 1943; and commissioned on 22 October 1943.

 

The new tank landing ship departed New Orleans and arrived at Panama City, Fla., on 1 November for shakedown. Departing on 12 November for Mobile, she arrived at the Alabama Dry Dock Corporation the next day for work on her port bow door. Repairs completed, she returned to Panama City on 20 November, where she conducted target practice, collision drills, and beaching operations.

 

After proceeding to the Pacific in the spring of 1944, LST-278 departed Maalaea Bay, Hawaii, on 25 May; and headed for the Marshalls and arrived at Eniwetok on 7 June. Two days later, LST-278 got underway for the Saipan landings with 456 persons on board, including the crew, soldiers, seabees, and marines.

 

At 0714 on 15 June, the LST's ramp was in the water, and troop-laden LVT's left the ship led by amphibious tanks. At 0930, she unloaded her “hot cargo,” ammunition, gasoline, and oil, into LVT's returning from assault troop landings. One LVT was taken on board, damage from a 37 millimeter hit on her starboard side was repaired, and the tracked landing vehicle returned to action the next day.

 

On 16 June, after an early morning air attack, LST-278 resumed unloading assault ammunition into boats and tractors. At 0815, an LVT sank alongside the ship while attempting to repair herself. Between 1623 and 1807, LST-278 loaded 755 rounds of 5-inch ammunition onto Bailey (DD-492). She continued to unload cargo the next day, sending ashore her last ammunition by 1035. On 21 June, the ship departed Saipan and sailed back to Eniwetok, arriving on the 27th. She remained there until 12 July, fueling, watering, and loading a small quantity of provisions.

 

On 18 July, the LST, in Tanapag Harbor, Saipan, took on board ammunition, water, rations, and barbed wire for the assault on Tinian on the 23d. She embarked 212 marines of the 4th Marine Division.

 

The next morning, off Tinian, she disembarked 17 LVTs in five minutes; reembarked most of them two hours later; and proceeded back to Tanapag Harbor, anchoring at 1418. At 1449, marines of the 2d Division commenced embarking from LCIs. On 25 July, the marines went ashore on Tinian. LST-278 returned to Eniwetok, arriving on 3 August.

 

On 11 August, the LST anchored in Hutchison Creek, Florida Island, Solomons. Pontoon causeways were installed; rations, ammunition, and light trucks were loaded; and the ship got underway. She reached Macquitti Bay, Pavuvu, on 20 August, where she took on additional trucks and gasoline, 20 DUKWs, two LVT (2)s carrying 105 millimeter howitzers, and equipment for elements of the 1st Marine Division. The LST departed on 23 August for Pepesala Bay, anchoring there until the 25th, when she made a two-hour trip to Hooper Bay.

 

The Army and Marine Corps personnel embarked at Hooper Bay brought the LST's total to 459. Getting underway on 26 August, LST-278 disembarked troops and equipment off Cape Esperance on the 27th and 29th. On 31 August, she beached at Tetere, Guadalcanal, and disembarked vehicles to undergo maintenance.

 

Between 1 and 14 September, the ship rehearsed for the assault on Peleliu, while en route to the Palau Islands. At 0500 on the 15th, the attack order became effective. At 0930, LST-278 launched the first LVT, followed by 20 DUKWs carrying artillery, and then the one remaining LVT-all in seven minutes. She unloaded gasoline on the 22d; and, on the 24th, began unloading marine maintenance personnel and the remainder of her cargo.

 

On 2 October, while unloading cargo on Peleliu despite rough seas and a 45-knot wind, LST-278 collided with LST-129 and suffered severe damage. After a month's salvage operations, she was retracted on 2 November. However, she suffered more severe damage during hurricane winds a week later. She served as a port post office at Kossol Roads from 13 to 28 November when LST-129 relieved her of the duty. Stripping operations continued until LST-278 was decommissioned on 22 January 1945, two days after she had been struck from the Navy list. Restored to the Navy list on 8 February, the ship was recommissioned on the 14th; and placed in service the following day. Named Seaward and reclassified IX-209 on the 17th, the ship served as a barracks and post office at Ulithi. The former LST was declared in excess of the Navy's needs and destroyed on 16 October 1946. She was struck from the Navy list on 22 May 1947.

 

LST-278 received three battle stars for World War II service.