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Gardiners Bay (AVP-39)

1945- 

A bay of Block Island Sound, N.Y.

(AVP-39: displacement 2,592 (trial); length 310'9"; beam 41'2"; draft 13'6"; speed 18.2 knots; complement 215; armament 1 5-inch, 8 40 millimeter; class Barnegat)

Gardiners Bay (AVP-39) was launched 2 December 1944 at Houghton, Wash., by the Lake Washington Shipyard; sponsored by Mrs. George L. Richard; and commissioned at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Wash., on 11 February 1945, Cmdr. Carlton C. Lucas in command.

Gardiners Bay departed Seattle 1 March 1945 for shakedown out of San Diego until 20 April. She then proceeded, via Pearl Harbor, to Eniwetok in the Marshalls to tend aircraft of Patrol Bombing Squadron (VPB) 19 in a 10-day training period, thence via Saipan and Guam in the Marianas to Kerama Retto, Okinawa, where she arrived on 7 June with provisions and cargo for Fleet Air Wing (FAW) 1.She devoted the following weeks to tending planes for various patrol bombing squadrons (VPBs) based on Kerama Retto. During 30 June-17 July she was flagship of an Air-Sea Rescue Unit, utilizing Rescue Squadrons (VR) 3 and 4, Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 4, and three other small seaplane tenders. Eighteen rescue missions were accomplished while in a state of constant alert that saw her men at general quarters for 100 hours.

Relieved as flagship by the large seaplane tender Pine Island (AV-12) on 17 July 1945, Gardiners Bay tended planes of VR 6 at Chimi Wan, Okinawa, until 15 August when she put to sea as part of the screen of the Third Fleet en route to Japan. She entered Sagami Bay, Japan, on 28 August, shifting two days later to Tokyo Bay as a part of the Seaplane Base Group of the Japan Occupation Forces. On 1 September she became flagship of the Air-Sea Rescue Unit for the Third Fleet with VR-4 based on board. During this service, which extended to 9 January 1946, she helped set up the Tokyo Seadrome off the Yokohama Air Station. She was then stationed at Nagoya, Japan, as tender for courier and transient seaplanes, departing on 29 January 1946 for Shanghai, China. She departed Hong Kong 9 August 1946, proceeding via Yokosuka, the Marianas, the Marshalls and Pearl Harbor to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard where she arrived on 28 November 1946 for overhaul.

After Fleet exercises along the western seaboard, Gardiners Bay departed San Diego on 7 April 1947 for tender duties in the Carolines, Marianas, Okinawa, Tsingtao and Yokosuka. She returned to Seattle on 4 October 1947; made a cruise to Eniwetok in the Marshalls (15 January-5 June 1948) ; and another Far East cruise (15 March-14 December 1949) that included tender operations at Guam, Yokohama, Sasebo, Okinawa and Manila.

Gardiners Bay departed San Diego 27 June 1950 for the first of four long tours supporting United Nations forces in Korea. She established a seadrome at Iwakuni, tending 17 Mariners and 8 Royal Air Force Sunderland flying boats for search and reconnaissance in the Tsushima Strait and Yellow Sea area, shifting in September 1950 to Inchon, Korea, where she established an advance base for seaplanes making mine reconnaissance runs off the northwest coast of Korea. The following month, she established another seadrome at Chinhae, basing there to tend Seventh Fleet aircraft conducting reconnaissance flights, until 16 April 1951.

On her second Korean tour (12 September 1951-9 April 1952) she supported Far East aviation patrol units at Okinawa; Iwakuni, Japan; and Manila, Philippine Islands. Her third tour (10 July 1952-26 January 1953) was largely spent as station ship off the Pescadores and at Okinawa, with time out in October 1952 for participation in "Exercise Surprise" off the coast of Indochina, testing communications between headquarters and ships and aircraft of the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. Her fourth tour (3 April-12 December 1953) was spent in tending amphibious patrol planes at Chinhae, and on stations in the Pescadores, the Philippines, Okinawa, and Japan.

After hostilities ended in Korea, Gardiners Bay made three cruises to support 7th Fleet operations in the Pacific (7 July - 22 November 1954), (28 August 1956 -14 February 1957, and (10 June -16 November 1957). These cruises were largely spent on seaplane tending stations at Okinawa; Manila; and in the Japanese ports of Iwakuni, Sasebo, and Yokohama. She returned from her last cruise to Alameda, Calif. 16 November 1957.

Decommissioned on 1 February 1958, Gardiners Bay was transferred to Norway on 17 May 1958 under the Military Assistance Program. She served the Norwegian Navy under the name of Haakon VII (A-537).

Gardiners Bay received two battle stars for service in World War II and four battle stars for service in the Korean War.

Published: Fri Aug 12 21:41:57 EDT 2016