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Briscoe I (APA-65)

A county in northwestern Texas, established on 21 August 1876. Briscoe County's seat of government is Silverton.

Robert Pearce Briscoe, born on 19 February 1897 in Centreville, Miss., graduated from the Naval Academy on 7 June 1918. His first assignment was to Roe (Destroyer No. 24), which operated out of Brest, France, during World War I on coastal patrol and escort duty. Following duty on board Kearsarge (Battleship No. 5) and Alabama (Battleship No. 8), Lt.(jg.) Briscoe returned to destroyer duty on board Bagley (Destroyer No. 236).

In August 1920, Briscoe was transferred to Humphreys (DD-236), operating in the eastern Mediterranean supporting efforts to restore order in the aftermath of World War I and during the civil war that grew out of the Russian Revolution. Humphreys did surveying work, served as communications ship, evacuated civilians from the Crimea, and even put a landing force ashore there under Briscoe's command.

After further sea duty on board Bush (DD-166), Flusser (DD-289), and Henderson (AP-1), and recruiting duty at Little Rock, Ark., Lt. Briscoe served as the engineering officer's senior assistant in West Virginia (BB-48). He then returned to the Naval Academy as an instructor in mechanical engineering.

Between 1931 and 1933, Lt. Comdr. Briscoe served on the China Station, assigned first as executive officer of Edsall (DD-219) on Yangtze Patrol during the occupation of Woosung and Manchuria, and later as communications officer of Houston (CA-30), flagship of the Commander in Chief, Asiatic Fleet. He returned to the Naval Academy in June 1934 and served for three years as Head of the Department of Chemistry.

Comdr. Briscoe next served as navigator in Mississippi (BB-41) until assigned to the Naval Research Laboratory as its Assistant Director just before World War II broke out in Europe on 1 September 1939. While holding that position and serving as the Navy Department's liaison officer with the National Defense Research Committee, Briscoe helped to pioneer modern electronics development in the Navy. In March 1942, he reported to Prometheus (AR-3), a World War I repair ship which he commanded upon her recommissioning in May. The ship sailed to Noumea, New Caledonia, where Capt. Briscoe was detached to command Destroyer Squadron (DesRon) 5 and to serve as escort commander for Task Forces (TF) 67, 68, and 10.

Capt. Briscoe assumed command of Denver (CL-58) in July 1943 and saw action in the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay and in the northern Solomon Islands. On 13 November, his ship was severely damaged by an aerial torpedo, and Briscoe returned to the United States with her for repairs. Denver was awarded a Navy Unit Commendation medal for this action, and Capt. Briscoe received a Navy Cross.

In February 1944, he joined the staff of the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet, as Head of New Developments; and, upon his promotion to flag rank in April 1945, Rear Admiral Briscoe assumed command of Amphibious Group (PhibGru) 14. When V-J day came, he was in Manila working on plans for the invasion of the Japanese homeland.

At war's end, Briscoe took command of the Operational Development Force, Atlantic Fleet, headquartered at Norfolk. After two years there and a tour of duty as Assistant Chief of Naval Operations (Readiness), he became Commander, Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet, on 1 November 1950.

Ordered in January 1952 to command the 7th Fleet in Korean waters, Vice Admiral Briscoe retained this command until designated Commander Naval Forces, Far East, in June of that year. Two years later, he reported as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Operations and Readiness and, on 2 July 1956, Admiral Briscoe became Commander in Chief, Allied Forces, Southern Europe.

Admiral Briscoe retired from the Navy on 1 January 1959, and died on 14 October 1968 in Liberty, Missouri.

Briscoe (APA-65) was named for the county in Texas, and Briscoe (DD-977) honored Admiral Briscoe.


(APA-65: dp. 7,080; l. 426'0"; b. 58'0"; dr. 16'0"; s. 16.9 k.; cpl. 391; trp. 749; a. 1 5", 12 40mm.; cl. Gilliam; T. S4-SE2-BD1)

The first Briscoe (APA-65) was laid down on 29 March 1944 at Wilmington, Calif., by the Consolidated Steel Corp. under a Maritime Commission contract (MC huIl 1858); launched on 19 June 1944; sponsored by Mrs. C. W. Giegerich; acquired by the Navy on 29 October 1944; and commissioned the same day, Capt. August J. Detzer in command.

The new attack transport completed shakedown training off San Pedro on 18 November and carried out a brief post-shakedown availability. She then shifted to Port Hueneme on 2 December to load cargo, and embark troops before setting course for Pearl Harbor. Briscoe reported to the Commander, Amphibious Forces, Pacific Fleet, at Pearl Harbor on 13 December. Soon after her arrival in Hawaii, Briscoe began practice landings off Maui in preparation for the invasion of Iwo Jima. The attack transport also drilled in gunnery, towing, night steaming, fueling at sea, damage control, and other operational and combat procedures. During the exercises, a problem developed in her engineering plant which resulted in an overhauI lasting until 21 February 1945.

After post-repair trials, Briscoe resumed amphibious landing rehearsals off Maui but, this time, in preparation for the assault on Okinawa. During towing exercises on 1 March, Osage (LSV-3) came alongside Briscoe to take her in tow. The two ships collided, resuIting in damage to the attack transport sufficient to keep her from joining her division at the Okinawa curtain raiser.

Briscoe finally departed Pearl Harbor on 6 April for Eniwetok, Marshall Islands, where she arrived on the 17th. Further orders directed her to Saipan. There, the attack transport embarked passengers bound for San Francisco and set sail on 7 May. She passed under the Golden Gate Bridge on 23 May, only to rapidly embark replacements bound for the western Pacific. Briscoe got underway on 29 May and arrived at Humboldt Bay, New Guinea, on 16 June. From this point,Briscoe was employed in shifting troops and material throughout the Pacific, primarily between the Philippines, Solomon Islands, and New Guinea.

The attack transport was training with Transport Division (TransDiv) 51 off Luzon on 15 August when President Truman announced Japan's unconditional surrender. Briscoe immediately refueled and loaded supplies and troops for transport to Tokyo Bay. Although delayed two days by a typhoon, Briscoe and a convoy of other transports got underway on 27 August. The ships steamed into Tokyo Bay early on 2 September under cover of Allied aircraft. Briscoe passedMissouri (BB-63) during the formal surrender ceremony on board the battleship.

The transport steamed to Tateyama the next day and landed her troops to occupy the naval air station there. She got underway for Guam on the 4th and there embarked troops for passage to Okinawa. The troops disembarked upon arrival on the 24th. Briscoe carried more occupation troops to Tientsin, China, in late September. The cargo was unloaded in five days, and she headed south for Manila on 5 October. A typhoon diverted her northward for two days, and the heavy seas pushed transports like Briscoe off course. By 10 October, the winds and seas abated, and the convoy headed south again, arriving in Manila Bay on 13 October.

The ship continued to ferry occupation troops to northern China and between islands of the Pacific until 30 November when she joined the "Magic Carpet" Fleet established to return American soldiers and sailors home. She made several transpacific voyages on this mission before calling at Pearl Harbor to prepare for participation in Operation "Crossroads," the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll held in the summer of 1946.

Briscoe was stripped, underwent extensive structural modification, and received radiological monitoring equipment on board before she took her position in the target area at Bikini in May. Although the ship survived the two detonations on 1 and 25 July, she was never used again. She was decommissioned on 29 August and retained at Kwajalein for radiological and structural studies. Briscoe's hulk was sunk by Duluth (CL-87) off Kwajalein on 6 May 1948, and her name was struck from the Navy list on 13 July 1948.

Mary P. Walker
2 December 2005

Published: Mon Jun 29 08:51:55 EDT 2015