(APA-235: dp. 14,837 (tl.); l. 455'0"; b. 62'0"; dr. 24'0"; s. 17.7 k. (tl.); cpl. 536; trp. 1,562; a. 1 5", 8 40mm.; cl. Haskell; T. VC2-S-AP5)
A county in north central North Dakota situated on the Canadian border.
Bottineau (APA-235) was laid down on 11 October 1944 at Vancouver, Wash., by the Kaiser Co. under a Maritime Commission contract (MCV hull 681); launched on 22 November 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Paul Durand; delivered to the Navy on 22 November 1944; and commissioned on 30 December 1944 at Astoria, Oreg., Capt. Harold B. Edgar in command.
During the succeeding two months, Bottineau completed outfitting, made her shakedown cruise, and conducted several weeks of tactical drills and amphibious exercises out of San Pedro, Calif. At the end of February 1945, she steamed to San Francisco, Calif., where she loaded a cargo of ammunition and other ordnance. The attack transport departed San Francisco on 13 March and arrived in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the 19th. After unloading her cargo, Bottineau joined Task Unit (TU) 13.10.16 for several days of amphibious training in the waters around the islands. She completed that assignment on 29 March and returned to Pearl Harbor for several days before getting underway for the western Pacific.
The attack transport embarked units of the Army's 77th Division and stood out of Pearl Harbor on 9 April. Steaming via Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands, Bottineau arrived at Saipan in the Mariana Islands on 23 April. The ship remained at Saipan until 5 May at which time she put to sea with a convoy bound for the Ryukyu Islands. Near its destination, the convoy came under attack by a Japanese submarine. The convoy's escorts sighted torpedo wakes, made sonar contact, and delivered a vigorous depth charge attack. Though the escorts apparently failed to sink the submarine, they foiled her attack on the convoy, and all ships made it safely to Okinawa on 10 May.
Bottineau remained at Okinawa for five days disembarking troops, unloading cargo, and taking on casualties. On 15 May, she put to sea bound ultimately for San Francisco. The ship stopped at Ulithi Atoll for fuel and at Guam to embark additional casualties before arriving in Pearl Harbor. More passengers came on board Bottineau in Hawaii, and the attack transport continued her voyage, arriving in San Francisco on 10 June. After a six-day layover during which she embarked replacement troops for the Philippines, the attack transport departed San Francisco. The ship made stops at Eniwetok and Ulithi before arriving in Manila on 10 July. After disembarking the troops and unloading her cargo, Bottineau set sail for Hawaii where she was to have trained in preparation for the invasion of the Japanese home islands.
When the Japanese capitulation obviated that mission in mid-August 1945, the attack tranaport received orders to transport elements of the Army's 98th Division to Japan for occupation duty. Bottineau departed Pearl Harbor in convoy on 7 September and arrived off Honshu on the 26th. The ship spent the next several days disembarking troops and unloading cargo. On 6 October, she got underway to return to the United States. After picking up homeward-bound servicemen at various points along the way, she entered port at San Diego on 24 October.
After voyage repairs at San Diego, Bottineau resumed voyages to the western Pacific. Between early November 1945 and early February 1946, she made two round-trip voyages from the west coast to Japanese ports carrying troops and supplies for the occupation of Japan and returned with servicemen ready to be discharged. Late in May 1946, the attack transport became an element of Joint Task Force 1, the organization charged with the conduct of the nuclear bomb tests at Bikini Atoll during the summer of 1946. Bottineau observed both detonations and transported post-test boarding teams to the target vessels themselves. The attack transport concluded those duties in Auqust and entered port at San Francisco on the 21st. The ship remained there undergoing inactivation preparations for the ensuing six months. On 8 March 1947, Bottineau was decommissioned and berthed with the San Francisco Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet.
As a result of the need for additional ships in the active fleet, a necessity which grew out of American involvement in the conflict between North and South Korea, Bottineau began preparations for reactivation late in 1950. She was recommissioned at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard on 24 March 1951, Capt. O. B. Cushing in command. For almost five months, the ship conducted training out of west coast ports. On 18 August, she got underway from San Diego, bound for duty with the Atlantic Fleet. The attack transport entered her new home port at Little Creek, Va., on 4 September and reported for duty with Transport Division (TransDiv) 24, Amphiblous Group (PhibGru) 2, Atlantic Fleet.
At that point, Bottineau began three years and seven months of duty in support of the missions assigned to the Atlantic Fleet amphibious units. Between September 1951 and October 1953, the ship operated along the Atlantic seaboard, in the West Indies, and near the Panama Canal engaged in an assortment of amphibious training missions, convoy exercises, and individual ship's drills. Late in October 1953, the attack transport moved to Davisville, R.I., where she embarked Mobile Construction Battallion (MCB) 4. On 24 October, she set sail for Morocco. Arriving in Casablanca on 2 November, Bottineau disembarked MCB 4 and took on board MCB 6 for the return voyage. She stood out of Morocco on 5 November and disembarked MCB 6 back at Davisville on the 14th.
Upon her return to the United States, the attack transport resumed her former employment. Operating from Little Creek, she conducted various training evolutions along the east coast and in the West Indies. During the period 5 May to 6 June 1954, Bottineau steamed from the Norfolk area to Davisville, thence to Casablanca and back, transporting MCB 7 to Morocco and returning MCB 4 home. Between 14 and 19 October 1954, the ship transported MCB 1 from Argentia, Newfoundland, back to its base at Davisville. In January 1955, Bottineau was reassigned to Transport Amphibious Squadron (TransPhibRon) 10. On 11 February 1955, she embarked upon a voyage to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where she took on board the men and equipment of MCB 4. The attack transport brought the seabees back to Davisville on the 18th.
At the end of March, she began her second and last inactivation overhaul at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. She was decommissioned at Philadelphia on 31 August 1955 and berthed with the Philadelphia Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet. Sometime before mid-1964, she was placed in the custody of the Maritime Administration and berthed in its James River, Va., facility. That event probably occurred around 1 July 1961 at which time her name was struck from the Navy list. Sometime between July 1983 and January 1984, she was disposed of by the Maritime Administration, probably through sale for scrap.
Bottineau earned one battle star for World War II service.
Raymond A. Mann
20 December 2005