(APB-45: dp. 4,080 (lim.); l. 328'0"; b. 50'0"; dr. 11'2" (lim.); s. 10 k. (tl.); cpl. 137; trp. 302; a. 8 40mm.; cl. Benewah)
A county in east central Indiana.
Blackford (AKS-16), originally projected as the tank landing ship LST-1111 but redesignated a stores issue ship before construction began, was laid down on 2 January 1945 at Evansville, Ind., by the Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Co.; reclassified a self-propelled barracks ship and redesignated APB-45 on 6 March 1945; launched on 9 April 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Henry E. Russell; and commissioned at New Orleans, La., on 9 June 1945, Lt. A. E. Lorance, USNR, in command.
Following shakedown training in the Gulf of Mexico during late June and early July, Blackford departed New Orleans on 22 July. She arrived in Panama on the 28th, transited the canal, and resumed her voyage west on the 30th. The ship reached Pearl Harbor on 21 August but remained there only six days. Returning to sea on the 27th, Blackford set a course for the western Pacific. She made brief stops at Eniwetok and Ulithi before arriving in the Philippines at Leyte on 20 September. The barracks ship served at Leyte and at Manila before departing the Philippines in the latter part of October for duty in Japan. Over the next five months, Blackford supported the postwar occupation at Yokohama, Sasebo, and Tokyo.
She concluded that service on 17 March 1946 when she got underway from Tokyo and embarked on the voyage back to the United States. The journey brought her back to Pearl Harbor where she stopped for nine days in the middle of April and took her through the Panama Canal once again early in May. Blackford arrived back in New Orleans on 13 May. She spent about a month at New Orleans preparing for deactivation before making the trip to the berthing area at Orange, Tex., in mid-June. Blackford continued in active service at Orange until the following spring. The barracks ship was decommissioned on 26 April 1947 and berthed with the 16th Fleet at Orange. There she remained for almost 13 years. On 1 April 1960, Blackford's name was struck from the Navy list, and she was sold to the Sampson Iron Supply Co. on 3 August 1960 for scrapping.
Raymond A. Mann
7 February 2006