(APA-131: dp. 14,837; l. 455'; b. 62'; dr. 24'; s. 17.7 k.; cpl. 536; a. 1 5", 8 40mm.; cl. Haskell; T. VC2-S-AP5)
A county in south, central Texas organized in 1856. The city that served as the county's seat is also named Bandera.
Bandera (APA-131) was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract (MCV hull 47) on 23 July 1944 at Wilmington, Calif., by the California Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 6 October 194A; sponsored by Mrs. Elmer P. Abernethy; acquired by the Navy on 5 December 1944; and commissioned on 6 December 1944, Capt. George C. Miller in command.
Following shakedown off San Pedro and amphibious training at San Diego, the attack transport underwent post shakedown availability at Terminal Island, Calif. On 28 January 1945, Bandera sailed for San Francisco to load cargo and embark passengers for passage to and Hawaii. She stood out to sea on 1 February and reached Honolulu exactly a week later. After shifting to Pearl Harbor the next day, the 9th, she began a busy schedule of shuttling troops and cargo between Pearl Harbor and the Marshall, Caroline, and Mariana Islands. She carried reinforcement troops and supplies on her outbound journeys and returned wounded men during her voyages back to Pearl Harbor.
Although Bandera participated in tactical and amphibious training off Maui from 3 April to 31 May, she never participated in any landing operations. She left the Southwest Pacific on 19 June carrying Army troops whom she disembarked at San Francisco before continuing on to Everett, Wash., for upkeep. At the end of June, she embarked troops and cargo and began another voyage to Pearl Harbor where she resumed ferry service between the islands. Bandera was at Ulithi in the Caroline Islands when she received news of the Japanese capitulation. She steamed to Jinsen, Korea, in October before being assigned to the "Magic Carpet" fleet that returned veterans to the United States for discharge. She made one trip to Shanghai, China, in January and February 1946.
Bandera arrived in San Francisco on 15 February 1946, disembarked her contingent of returning troops, and then sailed for Norfolk, where she arrived on 11 March for inactivation preparations. The transport was decommissioned on 7 May and returned to the Maritime Commission on the 14th. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 21 May, and she was berthed in the James River with the National Defense Reserve Fleet until January 1974 when she was sold to Consolidated Steel Corp. and scrapped.
Mary P. Walker
6 March 2006