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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Seminole

 

The fourth Seminole (AKA-104) was named for counties in the states of Florida, Georgia, and Oklahoma.

 

IV

 

(AKA-104: displacement 14,160; length 459'2"; beam 63'; draft 26'4"; speed 16.5 knots; complement 425; armament 1 5", 8 40 millimeter, 16 20 millimeter; class Tolland ; type C2-S-AJ3)

 

The fourth Seminole (AKA-104) was laid down on 7 November 1944 at Wilmington, N.C., by the North Carolina Shipbuilding Co., under a Maritime Commission contract (MC Hull No. 1703); launched on 28 December 1944; sponsored by Miss Pamela Cole; and commissioned on 8 March 1945 at the Charleston (S.C.) Navy Yard, Comdr. James H. Budd, D-M, USNR, in command.

 

Following shakedown in Chesapeake Bay (25-28 March 1945), the attack cargo ship operated along the east coast until 8 April when she departed Norfolk for the Canal Zone. Seminole transited the Panama Canal on 14 to 15 April and reached Pearl Harbor on the 30th.

 

From 1 through 27 May 1945, Seminole engaged in training in Hawaiian waters. On the 28th, she got underway for the Marshall Islands and arrived at Eniwetok on 6 June. the attack cargo ship independently zigzagged her way to Ulithi, Caroline Islands, from 17 to 21 June, where she loaded antitank mines for Okinawan operations. Arriving at Buckner Bay, Okinawa, on 14 July, Seminole unloaded her cargo on the 17th. On 18 July, she steamed southward to avoid a typhoon, then returned to Buckner Bay on 21 July. She took similar measures during a typhoon alert from 1 to 3 August.On 6 August, she departed Buckner Bay for Ulithi, and, in spite of trouble in her fuel lines, arrived on the 10th. On the 13th, she got underway for the Palaus and arrived at Peleliu the following day.

 

Seminole loaded cargo at Peleliu and departed on 21 August for the Marianas. After anchoring off Saipan on the 24th, she unloaded cargo there and at Tanapag and Tinian before getting underway for Guam. She remained in Apra Harbor, Guam, from 1 to 4 September, before sailing for the Philippines. Reaching San Pedro Bay, Leyte, on 8 September, she then steamed to Guiuan, Samar, on the 10th, where she transferred four vehicle/personnel landing craft (LCVP) and eight mechanized landing craft (LCM) before steaming to Iloilo, Panay, on the 12th. From 12 to 17 September, Seminole loaded general cargo, ammunition, vehicles, landing craft, and gasoline for the 40th Division. Then, on the 18th, she got underway for Jinsen, Korea, and anchored there a week later.

Seminole returned to Leyte on 7 October 1945. She remained in Filipino waters, loading cargo at various points, until the 18th when she stood out of San Fernando Harbor, Luzon, for Korea. After unloading equipment and disembarking 84 officers and men of the 6th Division at Jinsen [Inchon], she again set out for the Philippines, anchoring in Guiuan Harbor, Samar, on 5 November.

 

On 1 December 1945, the attack cargo ship departed Leyte Gulf, and arrived in San Francisco, Calif., on 2 March 1946, after stopping off at Tsingtao, Guam, and Pearl Harbor. During the postwar years from 1946 to 1950, Seminole operated along the west coast of the United States and into the western Pacific, and conducted five replenishment voyages to Point Barrow, Alaska.

 

In Puget Sound when war broke out in Korea in the summer of 1950, Seminole and sister ship Washburn (AKA-108), got underway for Yokosuka, Japan. SDiverted en route, she arrived at Kobe the next day. After voyage repairs at the Mitsubishi dockyards and lashing down for typhoon Jane, Seminole loaded military cargo and got underway for Pusan, Korea, on 4 September accompanied by attack transport Pickaway (APA-222) and dock landing ship Fort Marion (LSD-22). Seminole returned to Kobe that same day, fueled to capacity, and got underway independently at 0027 on the 5th.

 

Seminole moored in Pusan Harbor on 6 September 1950. On 8 September, she commenced loading cargo, supplies, and equipment of the 1st Marine Provisional Brigade. Five war correspondents came on board on the 11th, and 301 U.S. marines and 58 ROK marines embarked the next day. On 15 September, Seminole lowered and dispatched her boats for the opposed landings on Red Beach, Inchon. From 16 to 20 September, the attack caergo ship continued to offload her cargo. On the 21st, she evacuated six marine casualties and debarked them at Sasebo, Japan, on the 23d.

 

After repairs to the ship and her boats, Seminole stood out of Kobe on 5 October 1950 and arrived at Inchon on the 8th, then began loading troops and equipment of the 1st Marine Division the next day and took on additional troops and cargo until standing out of the harbor on the 17th. Seminole and accompanying ships reversed their course back and forth several times until the mine fields at Wonsan had been cleared. She entered Wonsan Harbor on 25 October and landed marines and offloaded cargo until the 30th.

 

Seminole departed Wonsan Harbor on 1 November 1950, reaching Pusan the next day. After embarking men of the 65th Regimental Combat Team and the 58th Field Artillery Battalion, she disembarked them at Wonsan on 7 November. Two days later, she got underway for Pusan and sank a mine with fire from small arms and 20 millimeter fire en route. Seminole anchored in Pusan on 10 November, where she embarked troops, X Corps, before getting underway on the next day.

 

Seminole returned to Wonsan on 12 November 1950, disembarked the soldiers she had transported from Pusan, and performed upkeep and maintenance until standing out for Japan on 17 November.  She arrived at Yokosuka Harbor on 20 November, remaining there until the end of the month. Early in December, the attack transport returned to Korea to evacuate troops who had been endangered by the entry of Chinese Communist forces into the war. The ship entered Wonsan Harbor on the 4th, and embarked a platoon of the 3d Infantry Division and their equipment. From 5 to 7 December, additional elements of the 3d Infantry Division, including the Division Band, came on board. On 9 December, she stood into Hungnam, Korea. For the remainder of 1950, the ship completed several trips between Hungnam and Pusan, ferrying Japanese stevedores, as well as 3d Division and ROK soldiers. Seminole anchored at Kobe on 29 December.

 

On 13 January 1951, Seminole stood out of Kobe en route to Korea, anchoring at the Pusan outer harbor the next day. From 23 to 28 January, she transported North Korean and Chinese prisoners of war from Pusan to Sadung Ni. On the 29th, the ship interrupted this work to engage in simulated amphibious movements and assault landings along the eastern coast. The ruse, between 29 and 31 January, caused the enemy to deploy his troops where they did not threaten U. N. forces.

 

Her mission completed, Seminole returned to the ferrying of POW's on 2 February 1951. On 8 February, additional simulated assault landings were made. On 10 February, she departed Inchon for Japan and arrived at Sasebo on the 12th. She made one more trip to Korea and back that month, returning to Yokosuka Harbor on the 25th.

 

Seminole departed Sasebo on 4 April 1951, arriving at Hong Kong on the 16th. On 9 July, she stood into San Diego Harbor, then operated along the west coast until 29 November 1952, when she returned to Yokosuka. Departing Yokosuka on 5 December, Seminole resumed her operations in Korean and Japanese waters. On 10 April 1953, the ship departed Japan as a part of Task Group 90.9 which redeployed the 5th Cavalry Regimental Combat Team from Pusan and Koje Do, Korea, to Otaru, Japan. Arriving at Pusan on 13 April, Seminole loaded vehicles, and embarked drivers and 500 troops before returning to Otaru on 27 April.

 

Seminole continued her operations in Japanese and Korean waters well after the signing of the truce on 27 July 1953. From 28 July to 12 September, she ferried almost 10,000 North Korean and Chinese POW's in Operation Big Switch from Koje Do to Inchon. On 22 September, she departed the Far East and arrived at San Diego on Columbus Day 1953.

 

On 14 September 1954, Seminole departed the west coast. She arrived at Yokosuka on 2 October, Hong Kong on the 10th, and Sasebo on the 29th.

 

On 30 November 1955, the attack transport stood into Subic Bay, Philippines, and arrived at Saigon, Vietnam, on New Year's Eve. After evacuating refugees from North Vietnam and the Tachen Islands, she departed Saigon on 11 January 1956. Seminole returned to Japan, standing into Kobe on the 27th.

 

Seminole departed Kobe on 6 February and proceeded to Buckner Bay, Okinawa. On 24 February, she departed the Ryukyus for Japan and thence proceeded to San Diego via Pearl Harbor. For the remainder of 1956, Seminole operated along the west coast and Alaska. In January of 1957, she again set sail for Yokosuka. Seminole operated off Japan, Okinawa, and Korea until her return to San Diego on 26 September. Back in Yokosuka on 3 July 1958, the ship remained in East Asian waters until her return to San Diego on 8 December.

 

Seminole continued her active service into the 1960's. On 1 July 1966, she was assigned to Amphibious Squadron 9. On 24 February 1967, the squadron departed Chin Wan, Okinawa, and arrived of the mouth of the Cua Viet River, South Vietnam, on 1 March. There, they embarked marines for rotation, and arrived at Chin Wan on 13 March. On 14 April, Seminole assisted in the rescue of 28 survivors of SS Silver Peak, which had been driven aground by typhoon Violet.

 

Seminole participated in Operation Beaver Cage, an amphibious and helicopter borne assault in support of the 1st Marine Division from 28 April to 13 May 1967. Planning commenced immediately for operation Beau Charger, an amphibious and helicopter assault for a search and destroy operation near the DMZ. This operation, executed between 18 and 22 May, inflicted losses upon the enemy in an area he had considered his sanctuary.On 18 June, Operation Beacon Torch got underway near Hoi An. After disrupting enemy base areas, fortifications, and lines of communications, the 5th Marines were withdrawn on 2 July and inserted just south of the DMZ to help counter an urgent North Vietnamese threat in Operation Bear Track (4-17 July). Three days later, Operation Bear Chain was launched against enemy strongholds south of Hue, terminating on 25 July, followed by a search and destroy sweep inland, Operation Kangaroo Kick.

 

Seminole next headed for a much-needed upkeep period, arriving at Subic Bay on 5 August 1967 . The last operation of this deployment came on 27 August with an amphibious landing near Quang Tri. Operation Belt Drive came to a successful completion on 5 September and deterred enemy terrorism over the election period. Seminole's unit departed Vietnamese waters on 1 September, however, to return to the United States west coast, via Hong Kong and Subic Bay. She arrived at her homeport, San Diego, on 21 September.

 

From 24 April to 3 May 1968, Seminole participated in fleet exercise Beagle Leash off the California islands of Coronado and San Clemente. On 1 August, she participated in a joint convoy exercise while in transit from San Diego to Pearl Harbor.

 

On 10 October 1968, during an upkeep period in Subic Bay, Seminole relieved attack cargo ship Merrick (AKA-97). On the 23d, she entered Kaoshiung for a port visit. On 28 October, she proceeded independently to join the ARG in Danang on the 30th. She was detached on 13 November for a round-trip voyage to Singapore and rejoined the task group on 26 November. The ship got underway for Hong Kong on 6 December, arriving on the 8th. After spending Christmas in Hong Kong, Seminole stood out of the harbor on 27 December 1968 to rejoin her unit off the Vietnamese coast near Danang.

 

Reclassified as LKA-104 on 1 January 1969, Seminole participated, along with the other ships in her squadron, in a demonstration off Mo Due on 12 January 1969. The ship then remained in the Mo Due area alone to continue the demonstration, thus missing Operation Bold Mariner, the largest amphibious operation since the Inchon landings. On 6 February, the attack cargo ship offloaded Seatail material and steamed singly for Yokosuka on the 14th. Amphibious Squadron 9 rejoined Seminole at Yokosuka on 26 February.


On 14 July 1969, Seminole grounded on Puget Shoals after a port visit in the Olympia, Washington, area. She eventually rejoined Amphibious Squadron 9 at Buckner Bay on 1 December. The squadron got underway for Subic Bay the next day and finished the year in upkeep. Following additional upkeep, training, and an amphibious demonstration for students and faculty from the Vietnamese Defense College, Seminole departed Subic Bay on 25 January 1970 for Vietnam and Operation Keystone Bluejay. The attack cargo ship completed loading marines and equipment on 29 January and delivered them to San Diego on 24 February.

 

On 23 September 1970, in her 25th year of active service, Seminole was transferred to the Inactive Ship Facility, San Diego. She was placed out of commission in reserve on 23 December 1970 and ultimately placed in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, in the Maritime Administration's Suisun Bay (Calif.) facility. Stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 September 1976, the ship was sold to American Ship Dismantlers, Inc., Portland, Oregon, on 16 November 1977 and broken up for scrap.

 

Seminole received six battle stars for service in the Korean War and six for her service in the Vietnam War.

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Updated and corrected, Robert J. Cressman, 17 September 2007