Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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  • Boats-Ships--Support Ships
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(APA-161: dp. 6,873; l. 455'; b. 62'; dr. 24'; s. 17 k.; cpl. 536; a. 15"; cl. Haskell)

A county in Texas.

Dickens (APA-161) was launched 8 September 1944 by Oregon Shipbuilding Corp., Portland, Oreg., under a Maritime Commission contract; sponsored by Mrs. A. M. Owens; transferred to the Navy 18 October 1944; and commissioned the same day, Captain R. M. Ingram, USNR, in command.

Dickens arrived at Pearl Harbor 11 December 1944 with an unusual cargo, $150 million worth of occupation script for use later in the war. From 11 December to 27 January 1945 she conducted amphibious training operations with elements of the 5th Marines, then sailed by way of Eniwetok and Saipan, to Iwo Jima for the initial assault landings 19 February. She remained off Green Beach under famed Mount Suribachi until 25 February when she sailed for Saipan carrying casualties and 455 survivors of Bismarck Sea (CVE-95).

After her landing craft were replaced at Tulagi, Dickens rehearsed at Espiritu Santo, then sailed from Ulithi 4 April 1945 for support landings on Okinawa between 9 and 14 April. Returning to Saipan with casualties 18 April, she embarked reinforcements at Guam and landed them on Okinawa from 15 to 19 May, again returning to Saipan with casualties and troops relieved of duty at Okinawa. On 1 June Dickens entered Subic Bay where she joined in amphibious training until the cessation of hostilities.

On 25 August 1945 Dickens sailed for Japan with Occupation troops whom she landed at Tokyo Bay 2 September. She returned to the Philippines until 20 October when she stood out for Seattle, arriving 9 November. She was assigned to "Magic Carpet" duty and made one voyage to Tacloban, Philippine Islands, and one to Pearl Harbor, to bring home returning veterans until 4 March when she sailed for the east coast. Arriving at Norfolk 23 March Dickens was decommissioned there 21 May 1946 and returned to the Maritime Commission the same day.

Dickens received two battle stars for World War II service.