Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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  • World War II 1939-1945
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Carlisle (APA-69)


A county in the state of Kentucky.

(APA‑69: displacement 4,247; length 426'; beam 58'; draft 16'; speed 17 knots; complement 320; troop capacity 849; armament 1 5-inch, 8 40-millimeter, 10 20-millimeter; class Gilliam; type S4-SE2-BD1)

Carlisle (APA‑69) was laid down on 12 May 1944 at Wilmington, Calif., by the Consolidated Steel Corp., under a Maritime Commission contract (M.C. Hull 1862); launched on 30 July 1944; sponsored by Mrs. E. C. Parsons; transferred to the U.S. Navy on 28 November 1944; and commissioned on 29 November 1944, in berth 231, Terminal Island, San Pedro, Calif., Cmdr. Hugh R. Adams, USNR, in command.

After a week of fitting out, on 4 December 1944, a pair of tugs towed Carlisle to berth 22 at the U.S. Naval Dry Dock, Terminal Island. Carlisle remained moored there for the next several weeks undergoing additional alterations, repairs and provisioning.

On 10 December 1944, Carlisle steamed to the degaussing station at San Pedro, and then proceeded to her permanently assigned anchorage, Oboe 2 in San Pedro Harbor. Early the next day, Carlisle got underway with a San Pedro shakedown group and commenced movement and firing drills in the local area. Following several weeks of intensive exercises that culminated with an inspection and battle problem, Carlisle completed her shakedown on 22 December. The next day she set out for San Diego, Calif.

Carlisle arrived in San Diego on 24 December 1944, and moored to buoys 32 and 33, bow and stern. During the mooring process Cox. Lawrence Adams, USN, stationed at the fantail, had his “right foot caught in a bight of wire rope,” which pulled him over the side of the ship. Although a search party was unable to locate Cox. Adams immediately following the incident his body was later found in the harbor and brought to the Johnson-Saum Mortuary in San Diego. A board of investigation later determined his death to be accidental.

From 26 December 1944 to 7 January 1945, Carlisle conducted amphibious training exercises with Task Unit (TU) 13.19.8 (a group of 8 APAs) operating in the vicinity of Oceanside, Calif. On 8 January, Carlisle steamed to the Naval Repair Base, San Diego, and began undergoing final alterations and repairs “before joining the fleet for combat duty.” She concluded her final sea trials on the 19th.

On 20 January 1945, Carlisle shifted to the Naval Supply Base Pier at San Diego. In preparation for her first voyage, she then commenced taking on stores, general cargo and embarked 247 officers and men of the U.S. Navy (USN) and U.S. Marine Corps (USMC). At 0956 on the 23rd, Carlisle got underway for Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii. Just A few days into her voyage, on 25 January, the ship’s main propulsion motor had to be secured following an insulation breakdown which, resulted in “approximately 15 coils shorting, five paralleling leads burning and the charring of the insulation to 33 other coils.” As repair work got underway, Carlisle continued steaming on one screw for the next 58 hours.

With her repairs effected on 27 January 1945, Carlisle proceeded at full steam and later arrived Bishop’s Point, Pearl Harbor, on the 31st. Just a few hours after her arrival, Carlisle’s passengers debarked and the next morning she proceeded to berth M-4 at Pearl, to offload cargo. Between 3 and 4 February, the attack transport embarked 472 navy officers and enlisted men for transportation to California.

With loading operations complete at 1003, Carlisle, escorted for several hours by the submarine chaser PC-476, got underway for San Francisco. In close proximity to her destination, at 0141 on 11 February 1945, Carlisle’s starboard engine had to be stopped “due to sudden and excessive vibration.” Despite her engine trouble, Carlisle’s crew managed to get her into San Francisco Bay by mid-morning and she proceeded to moor at the U.S. Army Pier. Carlisle’s passengers debarked just a few hours later and the attack transport then steamed to the U.S. Army Salvage Depot for repairs and painting.

On 12 March 1945, Carlisle conducted post-repair sea trials and then anchored in San Francisco Bay. Two days later, the attack transport proceeded independently to San Diego, arriving there on 15 March, and mooring along the south side of pier 1B. On the 17th, in preparation for her next voyage, Carlisle loaded general cargo and embarked 722 sailors and marines. With all preparations made for getting underway, Carlisle then stood out on 17 March, accompanied by the high speed transport Barry (APD-29), and shaped a course for Pearl Harbor.

Arriving off Bishop’s Point on 24 March 1945, Carlisle’s passengers disembarked and the ship then shifted over to dock W-3, West Loch, at Pearl. The following week, on 2 April, Carlisle stood out with seven other APAs (TU 13.10.1) to conduct amphibious training exercises at Maalaea Bay, Maui, T.H. After completing five days of landing operations she moored back at Pearl on 7 April.

On 14 April 1945, Carlisle steamed to Bishop’s Point, and then early the following morning, she picked up 683 marines. Escorted by PC-579, she transported the men south of Diamond Head, to Kahala, Oahu, and they disembarked. Later that night, Carlisle embarked another 747 marines and 33 sailors for passage to Pearl. Early on the 16th, Carlisle moored at Pearl, and her passengers debarked.

Standing out on 24 April 1945, Carlisle joined a group of 17 ships (TU 13.10.3) to conduct exercises and drills in local waters. Several days later, on the 27th, Carlisle rendezvoused with the attack ships Trego (AKA-78) and Winston (AKA-94) and proceeded to join TU 13.10.5, en route to conduct tactical maneuvers and landing operations at Maalea Bay. These operations concluded on 5 May, and Carlisle moored at Pearl.

On 6 May 1945, Carlisle, escorted by PC-1078, steamed to Hilo, T.H., where she commenced a month-long series of transportation duties, in which she moved large groups of marines (conducting training operations) between Hilo and Bishop’s Point. She made these passages, respectively between 7—8 May, 12—13 May, 14—15 May, 16—17 May, 18—19 May, 19—20 May, 24—25 May, 25—26 May, 30—31 May, 31 May—1 June, and 3—4 June. Departing Hilo for the final time on 4 June, Carlisle moored at Bishop’s Point on the 5th, and then the next day, entered Dry Dock No. 3 at the Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor, “for bottom scraping and hot plastic paint spraying.”

Work on Carlisle concluded on 8 June 1945, and she moored in berth C-6 at Pearl. On the 11th, in accordance with Movement Order No.84-45, Carlisle stood out with Transport Squadron 21, bound for the West Coast of the United States. While still at sea on 16 June, Carlisle received orders to proceed independently to Seattle, Washington. The attack transport later entered the straits of Juan de Fuca on 19 June, and shortly thereafter moored port side to pier 91, Elliott Bay, Seattle.

From 24 to 26 June 1945, Carlisle loaded provisions and cargo, and then on the 27th, embarked 737 U.S. Army (USA) officers and enlisted men. At 0700 the following morning, the attack transport stood out from Seattle and steamed independently for Hawaiian waters. On 5 July, Carlisle arrived in Honolulu Harbor and then, after mooring port side to pier 40B, her passengers disembarked.

Early on the morning of 7 July 1945, Carlisle received 29 USA officers and 110 USN enlisted men for passage to San Francisco, and then got underway later that day. On the fourth day of her voyage, Carlisle received dispatch 111800, from the Commander Western Sea Frontier, ordering her to re-route to San Diego. On 14 July, the attack transport moored starboard side to the Navy Pier, San Diego, and her passengers disembarked.

After spending a week in San Diego, Carlisle prepared for her longest voyage yet. At 0728 on 20 July 1945, she embarked 839 sailors and 30 USA officers, and then shortly thereafter got underway for Eniwetok, Marshall Islands. Steaming independently, Carlisle also performed numerous gunnery drills en route. While firing on 26 July, several of her guns malfunctioned “most likely due to faulty firing pins provided by the manufacturer.” The following week, Carlisle concluded her voyage, arriving at Eniwetok on 3 August, and anchoring in berth A Fox 7.

In accordance with “confidential routing instructions received from the Port Director,” Carlisle reported to TU 96.6.17, (consisting of Rooks (DD-804), Tattnall (APD-19), Cullman (APA-78) and Sirona (AKA-43)) and got underway for Ulithi, Caroline Islands. Anchoring overnight at Ulithi on 8 August, Carlisle stood out again the following morning and shaped a course for Samar, P.I. She arrived at her destination three days later, anchoring at Guiuan Roadstead, Samar, and then on14 August, she proceeded first to Tolosa, Leyte, P.I., and then ended the day moored in San Pedro Bay, Leyte, P.I.

At 1050 on 21 August 1945, the staff of Commander Amphibious Group (ComPhibGroup) Nine, Pacific Fleet, embarked on board Carlisle. The ship then got underway for Manila Bay, P.I., and anchored on the 23rd. At 1430 on 24 August, Rear Adm. Arthur D. Struble, USN, the commander of Amphibious Group Nine, reported on board to resume his command duties. Rear Adm. Struble was later detached from the group on 28 August, however, his staff stayed on board under the command of Capt. Frederick J. Eckhoff, USN. Anchored in berth no. 31, Manila Bay, Carlisle hosted the group’s command staff well into the following month.

On 22 September 1945, Carlisle maneuvered alongside Henry T. Allen (APA-15) in berth 41 at Manila, and then at 1000 the ComPhibsGroup Nine staff were transferred over to Henry T. Allen. The following week, on 30 September, Carlisle steamed to Tacloban, Leyte. Following the Empire of Japan’s official surrender in early September, U.S. forces in the Pacific began drawing down. As a result, Carlisle attached to Commander, Service Force, Pacific Fleet, and on 1 October, she joined TG 16.12 for Magic Carpet duty, transporting service members back to the United States. She got underway that same day and on 2 October anchored in berth A-1 at Guiuan Roadstead, Samar.

“In compliance with orders C.N.O.B., Guiuan, P.I.,” 20 USN officers and 4 USMC officers embarked in Carlisle. The following day, Carlisle embarked an additional 826 USN and USMC passengers, and then got underway) for Pearl Harbor. Steaming independently, Carlisle arrived at Pearl on 16 October, and then, after briefly refueling, got back underway again later that same day bound for San Francisco.

Completing the second phase of her voyage, Carlisle arrived off San Francisco on 22 October 1945. Later that same evening, after debarking her passengers at pier no. 7, she proceeded to Oyster Point, San Francisco, and moored starboard side to the dock. The following week, Carlisle commenced preparations to transport fresh reinforcements to Japan, to assist occupation forces. On 6 November, she embarked 27 Navy officers and 237 enlisted men, and got underway, steaming independently to Yokosuka, Japan.

While Carlisle was still at sea on 13 November 1945, during a scheduled gunnery exercise, a 20-millimeter shell “cooked off in the gun barrel,” resulting in several serious injuries. Shrapnel struck Sea2c Germain O. Drouin, USNR, in his abdomen; Sea2c Tommy F. Bray, USNR, sustained injuries to his eyes; StM1c Jack D. Skyes, USNR, got powder burns on the back of his neck; and Sea1c Winfield W. Jackson, USNR, severely injured his hand. None of the men lost their lives, and other than exploding a floating “horned type mine” on the 17th, Carlisle’s crew completed the rest of the voyage without further incident.

At 1112 on 20 November 1945, Carlisle maneuvered into Tokyo Bay, Japan, and anchored in berth B-134 at Yokosuka Naval Station. The debarkation of Carlisle’s passengers took several days, and then on 25 November, she stood out from Tokyo and set a course for Higashi, Okinawa, arriving there on the 27th. Carlisle embarked 84 USA soldiers and 3 officers and then got underway, steaming independently for Seattle, Wash., on 29 November.

Not long after arriving in Seattle, Carlisle made a return voyage to Yokosuka, setting out on 1 January 1946. After embarking 44 officers and 92 enlisted men at Tokyo, Carlisle got underway on 26 January, and headed back to Washington State. Just four days into her voyage, Carlisle received orders to proceed to Pearl Harbor to report to Joint Task Force 1. She arrived at Pearl on 4 February, and was then stripped (along with 18 other APDs) in preparation for Operation Crossroads, the Atomic Bomb tests at Bikini Atoll.

Carlisle got underway for Bikini Atoll on 17 May 1946. In preparation for Test Able, the first bomb test, the 104 men who comprised her complement at that time transferred to the attack transport Bexar (APA-237). Carlisle, assigned to Transportation Division 92 of TU 1.2.6 (Merchant Type Unit), lay 450 yards from the detonation of Test Able at 0900 on 1 July, and the ship sank in Bikini Lagoon from the extensive damage received during the atomic explosion.

In the wake of Able, Carlisle’s crew were transferred from Bexar to other ships of the fleet for the remainder of Crossroads, including the submarine rescue vessel Coucal (ASR-8), small seaplane tender Orca (AVP-49) and on the staffs of CTG 1.2.6, CTU 1.2.7, Commander Service Division 11, and CTU 1.2.5. Meanwhile, divers examined the sunken vessel for almost a fortnight, wrapping up their investigations around 14 July.

Carlisle was stricken from the Naval Register on 15 August 1946.

Commanding Officers

Dates Assumed Command

Cmdr. Hugh R. Adams, USNR

29 November 1944

Cmdr. Maurice J. Carley, USNR

6 March 1945

Cmdr. Robert A. Love, USNR

12 December 1945

Cmdr. Emanuel T. Goyett, USN

4 April 1946


Jeremiah D. Foster

7 December 2020


Published: Wed Dec 09 09:03:18 EST 2020