(APA-38: dp. 8,100; l. 492'; b. 69'6"; dr. 26'6"; s. 18 k.; cpl. 575; a. 2 5"; cl. Bayfield)
A county in Alabama.
Chilton (APA-38) was launched 29 December 1942 by Western Pipe and Steel Co., San Francisco, Calif., under a Maritime Commission contract, as Sea Needle; sponsored by Mrs. W. A. Riley, Jr.; acquired by the Navy 29 May 1943; converted at New York Navy Yard; and commissioned 7 December 1943, Commander A. C. Geisenhoff, USNR, in command.
Chilton served at Newport as a training ship for pre-commissioning crews of attack transports from 31 January 1943 to 15 October 1944. She sailed from Boston 20 November for San Diego before arriving at Pearl Harbor 23 January 1945. Here she embarked troops, and sailed by way of Eniwetok and Ulithi, to Leyte, arriving 21 February. After rehearsal landings, Chilton put out of Leyte 16 March to land troops at Kerama Retto 26 March in a key preliminary to the assault on Okinawa. She remained off Okinawa as flagship for Transport Squadron 17 supporting the establishment and reinforcement of beachheads until 30 April, departing then for San Francisco and overhaul.
Chilton returned to Ulithi 17 July 1945 to load troops and cargo for Okinawa, where she lay until 31 August. From then until 8 December, when she arrived at Seattle, Chilton had duty in the redeployment of United States and Chinese troops, calling at Jinsen, Tientsin, Hong Kong, Chinwangtao, Tsingtao, and Nagoya. She cleared Seattle 21 December for the first of two "Magic Carpet" voyages to the Philippines and Okinawa to carry home servicemen, returning from the second of these to San Francisco 10 May 1946. She cleared San Francisco 2 June to participate in the atomic bomb tests at Bikini, returned to San Francisco 1 August, and sailed for transport duty in China and Japan from 7 September to 22 January 1947. She visited the Bikini area as a floating laboratory that summer, then returned to San Diego for local operations.
Chilton cleared San Diego 15 November 1948 to withdraw Marines from China, returning to San Diego 31 May. Local operations and exercises in the Hawaiian Islands occupied her until 25 November 1949 when she sailed from San Diego for her new home port, Norfolk, arriving 10 December. Local operations, overhaul, and service as a training ship in Cuban waters preceded her first tour of duty in the Mediterranean, 11 June-20 December 1951. On 21 August 1952, she sailed from Norfolk to participate in NATO Operation "Mainbrace," proceeding to the Mediterranean for duty until 6 February 1953. Chilton has continued to alternate local and Caribbean operations with tours of duty in the Mediterranean from 1954 through 1963.
Chilton received one battle star for World War II service.