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Yavapai

 

A county in central Arizona, established on 21 December 1864 and named for the Yavapai Indians of the Yuma language group. The name itself means "people of the sun."

 

(LST-676: dp. 3,960 (tl.); l. 328'0"; b. 50'0"; dr. 11'2"; s. 10.0 k.; cpl. 151; a. 7 40mm., 12 20mm.; cl. LST-5M)

 

LST-ere was laid down on 22 April 1944 at Am-bridge, Pa., by the American Bridge and Iron Co.; launched on 6 June 1944; sponsored by Mrs. C. F. Goodrich; and commissioned, at New Orleans, La., on 30 June 1944, Lt. Pat Munroe, USNR, in command.

 

LST-676 departed New Orleans on 7 July for Florida and conducted shakedown training out of St. Andrews Bay—two weeks filled with drills of every description ranging from firefighting to abandon ship and from gunnery to beaching exercises. Returning to New Orleans following her shakedown, LST-676 took LCT-900 on board on her main deck and sailed on 2 August for Cuba, arriving at Guantanamo Bay on the 9th, en route to Panama.

 

Reaching Colon on 16 August, LST-676 took on board 105 army passengers for transportation to the west coast and transited the Panama Canal that day. After discharging her passengers at San Pedro, Calif., on 1 September, LST-676 sailed for Hawaii and arrived at Pearl Harbor on the 14th.

 

While at Pearl Harbor, LST-676 received word that she had been selected for conversion to a logistics vessel for landing craft, a self-propelled barracks ship. The need for large numbers of small craft in the amphibious operations of the American campaign in the Pacific—craft and ships such as LCI's, LCT's, SC's, PC's, PCS's and YMS's—meant logistics headaches. Those vessels needed fuel, water, and provisions just like the larger ships; and thus specialized ships for supporting them were needed, too.

 

Still another large group of small craft needing support were the LCM's and LCVP's left behind when their transports sortied on night retirements from the beaches. The idea of a barracks ship came, apparently, from Capt. Stanley Leith, operations officer for Commander, Amphibious Forces, Pacific Fleet, Vice Admiral Richmond K. Turner. When Leith suggested to Turner that LST's be converted to serve as "mother ships," the admiral readily agreed, and a program to make these changes was promptly launched.

 

However, before her conversion, LST-676 was to perform one more duty as a true LST, lifting a detachment of marines and their equipment to Hilo, Hawaii. She returned to Pearl Harbor on 2 October to moor at the Waipio Amphibious Operating Base at West Loch.

 

There the landing ship underwent the conversion to a self-propelled barracks ship of the Benewah (APB-35) class. Sixteen large refrigeration units were installed, as was stowage for dry provisions. Berthing space was provided at the after end of the former tank deck. One quonset hut was added topside to provide a wardroom and quarters for transient officers and another was erected for a bakery and galley. Besides those main deck structures, the ship received portable distilling tanks to produce fresh water and several storage tanks for it.

 

Thus equipped to furnish fuel, water, fresh and dry provisions, the ship—reclassified as a modified LST, LST(M)-676—conducted her shakedown at Hilo before she put into the Supply Depot at Pearl Harbor. There, she loaded 385 tons of fresh, frozen, and dry provisions, and, in addition, embarked 8 officers and 198 men from a boat pool for transportation. On 24 January 1945, LST(M)-676 departed Pearl Harbor, via Eniwetok and Guam, bound for Iwo Jima.

 

The Iwo Jima campaign marked the first time that LST(M)'s were utilized in operations. On the D-plus-one day at Iwo Jima, 20 February 1945, LST(M)-676 proceeded to an anchorage about one-half mile south of Mount Suribachi—the scene of the famous flag-raising —and soon began tending the assault boats carrying men and equipment to "Green" and "Yellow" beaches.

 

During the ensuing 10 days of the operation to capture Iwo Jima, the converted LST fed 3,499 men and berthed 2,307; LCI's, SC's, and LST's took on a total of 75,527 pounds of fresh and dry provisions, 37,250 gallons of water; and 89,334 gallons of fuel oil. Even after the island was considered secured, LST(M)-676 remained in the vicinity, taking part in the occupation and garrisoning of the island and furnishing logistics support for the ships and landing craft in the area.

 

LST(M)-676 remained at Iwo Jima until 27 April. During the time she spent there supporting the invasion and occupation of that key island, she fed 27,823 officers and men and berthed 12,350. She transferred some 561 tons of fresh and dry provisions between 275 ships ranging in size from destroyers to LCT's. In addition, 203 ships received some 305,884 gallons of water between them, and 95 ships took on 324,030 gallons of fuel.

 

Retiring to Guam after the successful conclusion of the Iwo Jima operation, the ship there received word that she had been given the name Yavapai and redesig-nated APB-42, effective on 1 May 1945. She effected repairs at Guam before she departed that island in late June, bound for Okinawa.

 

Yavapai arrived at Okinawa almost at the height of the campaign. Called upon to take over the function of provisioning small craft, Yavapai anchored off the Hagushi beachhead to proceed with her vital duties. During daylight hours, the ship provided logistics support to ships and small craft; at night, she manned the antiaircraft batteries against the almost ever-present Japanese raiding aircraft.

 

Some 556 ships came alongside during the days Yavapai spent at Okinawa and, when the end of the war came in mid-August 1945, she was still at Okinawa, performing her "over the counter" logistics function there. She subsequently participated in Operation "Campus," the occupation of the southern half of Korea. Arriving at Jinsen, Korea (later known as Inchon), on 12 September, Yavapai provided food, fuel, and water; "mothered" a 300-man boat pool; and acted as station ship for their activities.

 

The barracks ship remained in the Far East into the spring of 1946. She served two tours at Jinsen (from 12 September 1945 to 31 January 1946 and from 21 February 1946 to 8 April 1946) and two at Tsingtao, China (from 1 to 20 February 1946 and from 9 to 14 April 1946), before she sailed for the United States. After proceeding via Okinawa and Pearl Harbor, Yavapai transited the Panama Canal on 11 June and arrived at the Charleston Naval Shipyard, Charleston, S.C., on 20 June.

 

Decommissioned there on 3 December 1946, Yavapai was placed in reserve and remained in that status into the late 1950's before being struck from the Navy list.

 

LST(M)-676 received one battle star for her World War II service.