(APA-71: dp. 4,247; l. 426'; b. 58'; dr. 16'; s. 17 k.; cpl. 320, a. 1 5"; cl. Gilliam)
A county in New Mexico.
Catron (APA-71) was launched 28 August 1944 by Consolidated Steel Corp., Wilmington, Calif., under a Maritime Commission Contract; sponsored by Mrs. H. G. Chalkley; acquired by the Navy 27 November 1944; commissioned 28 November 1944, Lieutenant Commander D. MacInnes, USNR, in command; and reported to the Pacific Fleet.
Catron stood out of San Pedro, Calif., 18 January 1945, bound for training in the Solomon and Florida Islands. She arrived at Purvis Bay 5 February, and on 21 March reported at Ulithi, Caroline Islands, to combat load for the assault on Okinawa. Carrying men of the 6th Marines and their cargo, she arrived off Okinawa for the initial assault on 1 April; this first assault was carried out by the ship with the skill born of thorough training. Through the first week of the last great campaign of the Pacific War, Catron remained off the island, landing cargo to support the Marines in their rapid push across the island.
Leaving Okinawa astern 7 April 1945, Catron sailed to San Francisco to load cargo which she delivered to Guam 13 June. Here she embarked 297 Japanese prisoners of war with whom she arrived at San Francisco 5 July. After a brief overhaul, she was underway with cargo for Okinawa, where she called from 12 to 24 August. Her next passage was to the Philippines, where she embarked occupation troops for transportation to Japan, arriving 25 September. Here Catron took aboard her most satisfying group of passengers, 552 former prisoners of war whom she carried home to San Francisco, arriving 19 October.
Catron made two more voyages from San Francisco to carry troops to the Philippines between 29 October 1945 and 12 February 1946, when she reported at Pearl Harbor to be stripped in preparation for Operation "Crossroads," the atomic tests at Bikini. She was decommissioned 29 August 1946, and remained in the Pacific for radiological and structural study until sunk on 6 May 1948.
Catron received one battle star for World War II service.