Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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(APA-106: dp. 8,100 It.; l. 492'; b. 69'6" ; dr. 26'6" ; s. 16 k.; cpl. 479; a. 2 5", 8 40mm.; cl. Bay field; T. C3-S-A2)

A county in Texas.

Hansford (APA-106) was launched 25 April 1944 as Gladwin by Western Pipe & Steel Co., San Francisco, under Maritime Commission contract; sponsored by Mrs. Edward C. Cahill; transferred to the Navy; renamed Hansford 25 August 1944, and commissioned 12 October 1944, Comdr. William A. Lynch in command.

After shakedown off San Pedro, Calif., Hansford got underway for Pearl Harbor 25 November 1944 and unloaded passengers and cargo there 2 December. In the Hawaiian Islands she undertook an intensive training program emphasizing landing exercises during daylight and maneuvering in formation at night. On 28 December she embarked the 1st Battalion Landing Team, 27th Regiment, 5th Division, U.S. Marines who joined her crew in amphibious training as they made ready for combat.

On 27 January 1945, Hansford sailed for Saipan, the staging area for the invasion of Iwo Jima, next step in America's seaborne thrust across the Pacific. After final rehearsal at Saipan, she sortied 16 February 1945 with Task Force 51. The initial assault waves which stormed the beaches of Iwo Jima. 19 February included units from Hansford. She continued to land troops and equipment through 25 February. Although she often closed to within 1,000 yards of land, Hansford managed to escape the enemy shells which landed nearby. However, four of her boats, two LCVP's and two LCM's were lost during the operation, and her beach party, which was ashore from 19 February through 22 February, suffered 17 casualties including one officer and three enlisted men killed and one bluejacket missing. Three members of the boat group were wounded.

Each day while she was anchored off Iwo Jima, Hansford embarked and cared for casualties who were brought on board from the beaches. On the afternoon of 25 February she sailed for Saipan. Upon arrival there, 28 February, she transferred 127 casualties to an Army hospital.

Hansford departed for Tulagi, Solomon Islands, 5 March 1945, where upon arrival 12 March, she replaced the boats lost at Iwo Jima. The next day she sailed for the New Hebrides, anchoring in Segond Channel, Espiritu Santo Island, 15 March to embark the 2d Battalion Landing Team, 105th Regiment, 27th Infantry Division, U.S. Army. While at Espiritu Santo, Hansford readied herself for further combat. She got underway for Ulithi atoll, the staging area for the invasion of Okinawa, 25 March.

She sortied to the Ryukyus 4 April to take part in the follow up phases of the vast Okinawa operation, largest invasion of the Pacific War. After a passage made difficult by three submarine contacts and encounters with numerous floating mines, her task group anchored in Kerama Retto 9 April 1945. The next day she steamed to the Hagushi beaches at Okinawa, where she landed her troops, cargo, and embarked casualties. Hansford's crew often sighted enemy planes which raided the area 20 times during the week she was off Okinawa, but she only opened fire once when an enemy plane passed close aboard at an extremely low altitude. The ship's company suffered their only casualty when the barrel of a 20mm. gun exploded.

Hansford departed Okinawa with 51 casualties on board 16 April and transferred them to an Army hospital upon her arrival Saipan 20 April. The next day she got underway for Ulithi where she anchored 23 April for a month of training for future operations against the Japanese home islands. She then proceeded to the Philippines arriving San Pedro Bay, Leyte Gulf, 27 May, to continue preparations for invasion.

The day after the Japanese capitulated, Hansford embarked Commander Amphibious Group 12, Rear Admiral J. L. Hall, and his staff of 62 officers and 218 bluejackets. On 19 August key Army units came on board at Leyte for passage to occupation duty in Japan. She got underway for Tokyo Bay 25 August, returned to Subic Bay that night because of typhoon and 27 August again sailed for Japan. Her formation entered Tokyo Bay early in the watch and passed battleship Missouri as the surrender ceremonies ending the war took place. The next day Hansford's occupation troops and cargo debarked at Yokohama. During the ensuing weeks at Yokohama, Hansford was a center of much activity since Admiral Hall, now serving as Port Director, was embarked. Her duties included quartering liberated Allied prisoners.

Assigned "Magic Carpet" duty 13 October, Hansford sailed with 79 officers and 1,320 enlisted passengers whom she debarked in San Pedro 26 October. After repairs in dry dock, she returned to Nagoya, Japan, 4 December and got underway for Seattle, Wash., with another load of troops 7 December. The day after her arrival back in Japan, she was released from "Magic Carpet" duty, and sailed for the United States. Subsequently, Hansford sailed via the Panama Canal to Norfolk, arriving 2 May 1946, she decommissioned there 14 June 1946. She was redelivered to the Maritime Commission and sold 20 May 1947 to Isthmian Lines, where she became Steel Apprentice.