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Brule II (AKL-28)

(AKL-28: dp. 580; l. 176½'; b. 32'; dr. 10'; s. 12 k.; cpl. 42; cl. Camano)


A county in south central South Dakota established on 14 January 1875 and named for the Brule subdivision of the Sioux Indians.


The second Brule (AKL-28) was laid down (probably in December 1943) at Sturgeon Bay, Wis., by the Sturgeon Bay Shipbuilding Co. for the Army as the small freighter FS-370; converted to a refrigerated cargo ship during construction; redesignated a produce freighter FP-370; completed on 15 July 1944; towed to New Orleans later that month; accepted by the local Army authorities; and placed in service there.

FP-370 steamed via the Panama Canal and Hawaii to the Marshall Islands arriving sometime in early or middle 1945. She carried provisions to various Army advanced bases until she grounded on Roi Island, Kwajalein Atoll, on 5 August 1945. Refloated, the ship returned to Hawaii for repairs. Early in 1946, civilians replaced her Army crew, and she began preparations for her upcoming support role in Operation "Crossroads," the atomic tests conducted at Bikini Atoll in July 1946. At about the same time, FP-370 became T-AKL-28 in anticipation of her transfer from the Army Transportation Service to the Navy's Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS).

The actual transfer, however, did not occur until 1950. In the meantime, T-AKL-28 continued to operate in the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands under Army auspices manned by a civilian crew. On 1 July 1950, she became USNS T-AKL-28 when she was transferred to MSTS. The Pacific Islands continued to constitute her zone of operations after she became a naval ship. She was named Brule (AKL-28) on 5 September 1952 and commissioned on 31 October 1952 at Pearl Harbor, Lt. John H. Kollert in command.

After training and conducting operations in the Hawaiian Islands, the ship moved to Guam in the Marianas where she became an element of Service Division (ServDiv) 51 on 12 January 1955. From that base, Brule voyaged to other islands in the Marianas as well as to the Bonins, Okinawa, and Japan. ServDiv 51 was decommissioned at the end of 1955, and the ship came under the orders of the Commander, Naval Forces, Marianas. That arrangement lasted until 25 November 1956 when she received orders to proceed to Subic Bay and report for duty to the Commander, Naval Forces, Philippines. Brule arrived in Subic Bay on 2 December and was placed out of commission, in service, on 6 December 1956.

For almost nine years, she plied the waters of the Philippines carrying passengers and supplies to locations throughout the islands. During that near-decade of duty, Brule was away from the archipelago only twice for brief visits to Hong Kong. On 1 September 1965, however, she was recommissioned at Subic Bay, Lt. Stanton L. Brown in command. On 4 January 1966, after weeks of training in the Philippines, Brule set sail for the Republic of Vietnam. Arriving at An Thoi soon thereafter, the ship began duty providing provisions to mother ships tending the small craft attached to Task Forces (TF) 115, 116, and 117, the three units tasked with riverine warfare operations in and around the Mekong Delta. For almost six years, Brule plied the waters of the delta on resupply missions. On at least two occasions, she came under Viet Cong fire briefly entitling her crewmen to wear the Combat Action Ribbon.

In the latter part of 1971, Brule was offered for loan to the Republic of Korea. In October, she steamed via Japan to Chinhae, Korea. There, the ship was decommissioned on 1 November 1971. Simultaneously turned over to the South Koreans, who commissioned her as Ulsan (AKL-28), she served on a loan basis until mid-1974 when the decision was made to dispose of her by sale. On 15 November 1974, she was sold to the Republic of Korea, and her name was struck from the Navy list simultaneously.

Brule (AKL-28) earned 13 battle stars for service in the Vietnam conflict.

Raymond A. Mann
25 November 2005

Published: Mon Jun 29 10:43:17 EDT 2015