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Lagrange (APA-124)


(APA-124: displacement 6,873; length 455'; beam 62'; draft 24'; speed 17.7 knots; complement 692; armament 1 5-inch, 12 40 millimeter., 10 20 millimeter.; class Haskell)

A county in Indiana.

Lagrange (APA-124) was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract 26 June 1944 by the California Shipbuilding Corp., Wilmington, Calif.; launched 1 September 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Albert Krutcher; acquired by the Navy 10 November 1944; and commissioned 11 November 1944, Capt. Frank R. Walker in command.

After shakedown and amphibious training operations, Lagrange departed San Diego 1 January 1945 for the western Pacific. Arriving Manus 18 January the attack transport carried cargo and passengers to Hollandia and the Philippines before joining Transport Squadron 17. Following a month of intensive preparations, Lagrange departed Dulag Harbor, Philippine Islands, as part of the western islands attack group in the greatest amphibious assault of the Pacific war, the invasion of Okinawa. Arriving in the transport area off Kerama Retto, 26 March, Lagrange successfully landed advance forces who took that small cluster of islands which served as an advance naval base for fueling, repairs, and replenishment during the conquest of Okinawa itself. She remained off Okinawa for the next 30 days supporting operations on shore.

Returning to Saipan 5 May, Lagrange sailed 2 weeks later with Navy passengers bound for San Francisco. She resumed war operations upon her arrival Eniwetok 11 July, and sailed for Okinawa 29 July. Arriving Buckner Bay 1 week later, Lagrange unloaded cargo needed for the final days of the war. While anchored in Buckner Bay 13 August, she came under enemy air attack and suffered the last known kamikaze attacks of the war.

Despite accurate antiaircraft fire, an unidentified kamikaze carrying a 500-pound bomb crashed into Lagrange’s superstructure. A second suicide plane struck the top of a kingpost and splashed 20 yards from the ship. The transport suffered considerable damage in both strikes, with 21 Sailors killed and 89 wounded.

After hostilities ended 15 August, Lagrange repaired the damage and prepared for the cruise home. Departing Guam 6 September, she arrived San Francisco 21 September. Lagrange decommissioned there 27 October 1945 and was returned to the War Shipping Administration for transfer back to her original owner.

Lagrange received one battle star for World War II service.

2 November 2005

Published: Tue Mar 14 11:33:44 EDT 2023