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Tazewell

 

Counties in Illinois and Virginia.

 

(APA-209: dp. 7,190; 1. 455'; b. 62'; dr. 24'; s. 17.7 k.; cpl. 536; trp. 1,562; a. 1 5", 12 40mm; cl. Haskell; T. VC2-S-AP5)

 

Tazewell (APA-209) was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 557) on 2 June 1944 at Richmond, Calif., by the Permanente Metals Corp.; launched on 22 August 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Samuel I. Rosenman; and commissioned on 25 October 1944, Comdr. H. S. Olsen, USNR, in command.

 

Following shakedown in the San Pedro-San Diego, Calif., area, Tazewell arrived at Seattle, Wash., on Christmas Day 1944 and began loading troops and supplies. On 2 January 1945, the transport got underway for Hawaii where she embarked garrison troops for the Palau Islands and steamed onward. She arrived off Peleliu on the 31st. After offloading all cargo and debarking the troops, she joined a Philippine-bound convoy which sortied for Leyte on 6 February and arrived in San Pedro Bay three days later.

 

Tazewell was assigned to Transport Squadron 17 which became a unit of Task Group 51.1 for the Okinawa invasion. The transport loaded troops and supplies and participated in amphibious training exercises for the forthcoming operation. On 21 March, the task group sortied for Kerama Retto and arrived off that island on the morning of the 26th. All boats were lowered into the water at 0530, and the assault troops stormed ashore at 0800. They met almost no opposition, but the ships came under air attack shortly after 0630 and were forced to remain at general quarters all day.

 

The task group was steaming in night retirement on 3 April when it was ordered to proceed to a waiting area approximately 200 miles southeast of Okinawa. It arrived there on the 4th and remained until the 13th. Tazewell and six other APA's left the formation that morning and returned to Hagushi Anchorage, Okinawa, the next day. On the morning of 16 April, the transport got underway for le Shima and, at 0610, launched her oats for the beaches. She departed at 1600 that afternoon but returned the next day to complete unloading her cargo. At 2200 hours on the 27th, a kamikaze plane crashed a liberty ship some 2,500 yards off Tazewell's port bow. Tazewell promptly lowered her outboard boats to pick up survivors from the ship which sank in eight minutes. Since many other boats were also in the water, Tazewell's, boats picked up only seven survivors whom they took to Hope (AH-7). The other boats rescued many more survivors, minimizing the loss of life.

 

On 30 April, Tazewell received orders to proceed to the Mariana Islands, and she arrived at Saipan on 5 May. On the 22d, she stood out of Saipan en route to the United States and arrived at San Francisco on 6 June. Two days later, she moved up the coast to Seattle for a three-week yard availability period. She departed Seattle on 27 June, bound for the Marianas, and arrived at Tinian on 14 July. By the next morning, the attack transport had debarked all her troops and had unloaded her cargo. She shifted to Saipan that afternoon. On the 16th, the ship sailed independently for the west coast; and she arrived at San Francisco 14 days later. Hostilities with Japan ended while the transport was in drydock at San Pedro; but, when the ship was ready for sea, she was ordered to the Philippine Islands.

 

Tazewell arrived at Manila on 18 September and waited four days for orders to unload. On the 22d, she was routed to Lingayen Gulf where she debarked passengers and unloaded cargo. The ship returned to Manila on the 24th; loaded cargo and 8th Army troops; joined Transport Squadron 19 at Legaspi Harbor on 2 October; and sortied for Japan two days later. Tazewell remained at Yokohoma for 12 days before moving to Sasebo where she embarked approximately 500 marines of the 5th Marine Division to be returned to the United States. She arrived at San Francisco on 9 November and disembarked her passengers.

 

Tazewell sailed for the Philippines again on 24 November to pick up a capacity load of veterans eligible for discharge. She loaded troops at Manila and Subic Bay. The transport began her return voyage on 17 December and arrived at San Francisco on 5 January 1946. She subsequently made round-trip voyages to Yokosuka to return servicemen to the United States. Upon her arrival at San Francisco on 9 August from the last of these runs, she was assigned to the Pacific Reserve Fleet there for inactivation.

 

Tazewell was decommissioned at San Francisco on 27 December 1946 and remained in reserve for the next 12 years. Tazewell was transferred to the Maritime Administration on 25 September 1958 and was struck from the Navy list on 1 October 1958. She was sold to Zidell Explorations, Inc., Portland, Oreg., on 11 December 1972 and scrapped.

 

Tazewell received one battle star for World War II service.