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LCI(L)-777

1944–1949

(LCI(L)-777: displacement 381 (trial); length 159'0"; beam 23'8";  draft 5'8"; speed 14.4 knots; complement 40; armament 5 20 millimeter; class LCI(L)-351)

LCI(L)-777 was laid down on 27 June 1944 at Portland, Ore., by the Commercial Iron Works; launched on 17 July 1944; and commissioned at her building yard on 7 August 1944, Ens. Lawrence H. Baker, Jr., USNR, in command.

Departing Portland on 19 August 1944, LCI(L)-777 conducted shakedown training out of San Diego, Calif., off San Nicholas Island and Cardiff (23 August–30 September). At the end of that period, she sailed for Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii (T.H.), in company with two of her sister ships, arriving on 8 October. Undergoing some minor repairs and the installation of two radios and two gyro repeaters on board, the large infantry landing craft sailed for Majuro, in the Marshall Islands, in company with eight other LCI(L)s.

Reaching the Marshalls on 29 October 1944, LCI(L)-777 took on fuel and water at Majuro, then sailed on 31 October for the Admiralty Islands, again in company with eight of her sisters. She arrived at Manus on 7 November, where she provisioned and took on fuel and water, then delivered two spare engines to Naval Operating Base (NOB) Manus. On 17 November, the ship sailed for New Guinea along with seven other LCI(L)s, reaching Hollandia two days later, where she joined LCI (L) Flotilla 22. Anchored in Jatefau Bay, Hollandia, LCI(L)-777 underwent minor repairs and conducted general ship upkeep. Subsequently, while at Hollandia, she received word on 15 December that she was earmarked to serve as a fire-fighting and salvage ship in the scheduled invasion of Luzon, Philippine Islands (P.I.).

On 23 December 1944, LCI(L)-777 cleared Hollandia for Aitape, New Guinea. The day after Christmas of 1944, the ship began salvage operations of the tank landing craft LCT-1035 -- with five Sherman tanks on board -- that had broached on the beach at Aitape. Although vexed by a high surf and strong currents, LCI(L)-777 removed LCT-1035 from her predicament on the morning of the 27th without further damage to the landing craft or her cargo, then provided men with portable pumps to de-water the LCT’s engine room spaces.

LCI(L)-777 sailed for Luzon on 28 December 1944, beginning a passage to the objective fraught with Japanese air attacks. She entered Lingayen Gulf in the initial part of the invasion on 9 January 1945, taking her assigned station off White Beach as Operation Musketeer Mike-One unfolded against little resistance ashore. Although Japanese mortar shells landed in proximity and fragments fell upon her weather decks, she suffered no casualties among her crew. Numerous air raids occurred over the next few days (9–12 January), but she pulled her sister ship LCI(L)-987 off the beach, and salvaged 21 pontoon barges, a medium landing ship (LSM), and a landing craft (LCVP). In addition, she provided salvage assistance for seven tank landing ships (LST). Commander, Task Unit 78.1.12 commended LCI(L)-777 for her work during the Lingayen operations.

Departing Lingayen Gulf on 11 March 1945, LCI(L)-777 escorted 60 small craft to Subic Bay, P.I., arriving the following day. Following a period of upkeep at Subic, she sailed for Mindoro with sixteen of her sisters on 5 April, making port two days later. There, she watered, fueled, and provisioned, after which she took part in rehearsals for slated operations in Malabang, Parang, and Cotabato, Mindanao, P.I., on 12 April. The following day, she embarked 131 officers and men of the U.S. Army’s 24th Division, then sailed for the objective on the 14th.

LCI(L)-777 then participated in Operation Victor Five on 17 April 1945 as the U.S. Army’s 10th Corps (Major General Franklin C. Sibert) splashed ashore at Parang, cruisers and destroyers of Task Group (TG) 78.2 (Rear Adm. Albert G. Noble) providing covering fire. She landed her troops as scheduled, and the landings proceeded against no determined opposition.  She then carried Filipino guerrillas to Cotabato and Parang, then spent a period of time at anchor (13 April–10 May), taking on water and fuel during that period on 8 May.

Following passage back to Subic Bay (10-16 May 1945), LCI(L)-777 escorted six tank landing craft to Manila, P.I., then returned to Subic on the 23rd. The ship then made a return trip to Manila in company with one of her sisters (10 June), then departed Manila for Legaspi, with two U.S. Army officers and 60 men slated to be stationed at Legaspi. She then conducted a return trip to Subic Bay (14–16 June), doing “odd jobs” following her arrival, and then lying at anchor.

Dry-docked in the floating dry dock ARD-12  from 4 to 6 July 1945, during which time she had all zincs replaced, rudder posts repacked and her bottom scraped and painted, LCI(L)-777 sailed from Subic Bay on 6 July for Cebu, P.I., in company with three other LCIs. Soon after she reached her destination (8 July), she began training troops of the Medical Division under Commander Transport Division (TransDiv) 48, a task at which she labored for the next fortnight (8–22 July). Departing Cebu at the end of that period (22 July), she reached Lucena, Luzon, on the 24th to await the arrival of TransDiv 48.

LCI(L)-777 then pushed on from Lucena for Subic Bay on 27 July 1945 with three of her sisters, arriving the next day.  After a period spent at anchor (28 July–11 August), she departed Subic Bay for Manila, in company with two LCIs, and upon her arrival embarked 135 officers and men of the 5th Headquarters Co., 42nd Division. She sailed for Zamboanga on 12 August, then upon her arrival at her destination on the 14th disembarked the troops she had brought from Manila and provisioned. She then returned to Subic Bay (15–17 August).

The ship then spent a period at Subic Bay (18 August–5 September 1945), during which time she overhauled her main generators and main engines, and “did odd jobs about the bay.” Sailing in convoy for Okinawa on 5 September, she reached her destination on the 9th. A little less than a week later, when a typhoon struck the island, LCI(L)-777 lost her stern anchor, but managed to put out to sea, where she rode out the storm with no damage to the ship or injuries to her men.

Sailing for Shanghai, China, on 28 September 1945 in company with ten of her sisters, LCI(L)-777, assigned to the Yangtze River Patrol, arrived at that fabled Far Eastern city on 1 October, and had liberty in that port (1–11 October). Departing Shanghai on 11 October, she embarked Chinese soldiers -- 199 officers and men of the 321st Division, 70th Chinese Army -- at the port of Ningpo on 14 October. Sailing for Formosa on the 15th, she arrived at Kiirun on the 17th and disembarked the troops brought from Ningpo, clearing Kiirun on the 20th for Foochow. She then transported 125 Chinese government officials, embarked on the 21st, from Foochow to Kiirun (23–24 October), proceeding in company with 23 LCIs and two motor mine sweepers (YMS).

LCI(L)-777 got underway on the afternoon of 26 October 1945 and cleared Kiirun, proceeding in company with a convoy consisting of 40 other LCIs, three minesweepers and a destroyer. Two hours into the morning watch on 1 November, she began towing sister ship LCI(L)-776, continuing that work well into the afternoon, and through the ships’ entering the South Channel of the Yangtze River, after which she cast off her sister at 1522. The following morning [2 November], LCI(L)-777, after remaining at the Quarantine Anchorage through the night, stood up the Whangpoo River, mooring alongside LCI(L)-1032 at the Butterfield & Swire Piers, Pootung Wharf, Shanghai.

The large infantry landing craft remained at Shanghai until 25 November 1945, moving between moorings -- alongside Basilan (AG-68) (5 November), Justin (IX-228) (9–11 November), destroyer Charrette (DD-580) (11–13 November), Justin a second time (13–15 November), the Butterfield & Swire Wharf (15–19 November), fleet tug Tolowa (ATF-116) (19 November), Holt’s Wharf (19–20 November), Pootung Wharf (20–24 November) – eventually tying up alongside Corundum (IX-164) on 24 November. Unloading engine spares to the non-self-propelled landing craft and vehicle spare parts barge on that day, she remained alongside until 1100 the next morning, standing down the Whangpoo and standing in to the Yangzte a little less than an hour later, taking departure from Shanghai in company with the submarine chaser PC-575 and setting course for Jinsen, Korea.

During the first dog watch on the day of departure, however, LCI(L)-777 experienced a mechanical failure in her no.2 engine, causing her to reduce speed to 10 knots as she passed within five miles of the Saddle Island Radio Beacon light. The weather worsened during the first watch, compelling the ship to slow to eight knots. During the passage the following day [26 November 1945], PC-575 experienced mechanical failure mid-way through the first dog watch, but within a half hour of LCI(L)-777’s reversing course to render assistance, the submarine chaser got underway under her own power.

Standing up the swept channel to Jinsen on 27 November 1945, and anchored at the harbor’s approaches. The next morning, LCI(L)-777 stood into the harbor, and moored alongside the landing craft repair ship Atlas (ARL-1) to transfer cargo. Underway the following morning [29 November], again in company with PC-575, the ship proceeded to Tsingtao, China, arriving late the next afternoon and remaining through the first week of December 1945, during which time she was dry docked in Oak Hill (LSD-7) (4–6 December). After undocking, the large infantry landing craft fueled from the oiler Saranac (AO-74).

Taking departure from Tsingtao in company with LCI(L)-435 on the morning of 8 December 1945, LCI(L)-777 returned to Jinsen the following afternoon [9 December], then got underway on the 10th , in convoy with nine other LCI(L)s, bound for the Marianas. A mechanical failure on one of her sister ships resulted in a brief period lying-to during the waning three-quarters of an hour in the first watch on the 13th and a little less than an hour into the mid watch on the 14th. During the voyage, Ens. Carl F. Daugherty, USNR, relieved Lt. (j.g.) Baker as commanding officer on the 14th. Outside of LCI(L)-777 having to take LCI(L)-619 in tow for much of the day on the following day [15 December], the rest of the passage to Saipan proceeded uneventfully, with the convoy standing in to Saipan Harbor during the mid watch on 20 December. Shifting to the Boat Basin, Tanapag Harbor, Saipan, on Christmas Day 1945, LCI(L)-777 fueled from the fuel-oil barge YO-109 the following day, then took departure on the 28th, setting course along with eight LCI(L)s and a support landing craft [LCS(L)] for the Marshalls.

LCI(L)-777 dropped anchor at Eniwetok three days into 1946. The next day [4 January], she took on provisions from the covered lighter YF-385, then 6,000 gallons of fresh water from YO-187, then sailed, in company with six other LCI(L)s and one LCS(L), on 5 January for Bikini Atoll, arriving there and anchoring off Enyu Island on the 6th. There she remained until late on the 7th, when she sailed for Johnston Island, again in convoy, reaching her destination on the 15th. She provisioned from LCI(L)-618 and fueled the following day, then sailed on the 17th for Oahu, T.H., proceeding to sea with five LCI(L)s and an LCS.

LCI(L)-777 stood into Pearl Harbor on the morning of 21 January 1946. She remained at Pearl, taking on provisions and fresh water until the afternoon of the 26th, when she sailed along with another LCI(L), and two LCSs, bound for the west  coast of the U.S. Other than the convoy reducing speed while LCS(L)-28 investigated a flare spotted almost mid-way through the first watch on 1 February, the passage home unfolded uneventfully, LCI(L)-777 standing in to the Strait of Juan de Fuca during the first dog watch on 6 February. She entered Seattle (Wash.) harbor the following afternoon, then took on fuel and water from YO-101 on the 9th.

Departing Seattle on 11 February 1946, she reached Astoria, Ore., the following day. She ran a full power test run down the Columbia River on the 14th, then moved from Astoria to the deperming station at Swan Island on the 25th. On 8 March, LCI(L)-777 shifted across the Willamette River to Pier 4 at her building yard [Willamette Iron & Steel Corp.]. Moved by tugs into the floating dry dock ARD-30 on 21 March, she returned to Pier 4 on the 24th. She spent a second stint in ARD-30 (8–10 April), then returned to Astoria (13 April). Shifting to Astoria’s port dock area on 16 April, shifting berths over the ensuing days, LCI(L)-777 underwent a final inspection for inactivation on 23 May. Ultimately towed to a berth alongside LCS(L)-53 at Pier 2, Berth 6, Port Docks, Astoria, on 28 May, LCI(L)-777 was decommissioned there at 1030 on 29 May 1946 and was placed in reserve.

Assigned to the Columbia Group of the Pacific Reserve Fleet, the ship was reclassified from LCI(L)-777 to LSIL-777 on 28 February 1949, then nominated for conversion to an underwater mine locator ship on 27 October 1950 by the Commander Pacific Reserve Fleet.  The office of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) scheduled LSIL-777 for conversion on 17 December 1951, and she was named Dunlin and reclassified as AMCU-23 on 7 March 1952.  The Bureau of Ships (BuShips) assigned the contract for the conversion, on the same day she was named and reclassified, to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington. She was reassigned from the Columbia Group to the Pacific Reserve Fleet’s Bremerton (Wash.) Group on 19 May 1952.

The CNO then assigned Dunlin to the Commandant, Eleventh Naval District, “for employment in Harbor Defense by Mine Hunting units” on 17 June 1952. Dunlin was taken from the Columbia Group to the Bremerton Group on 1 July 1952. With a change in the AMCU Program, however, the CNO cancelled Dunlin’s conversion on 22 January 1954, and directed that the ship remain out of commission in reserve. Effective on 1 July 1954, the ship was reclassified back to the unnamed LSIL-777.

Certified “not essential to [the] defense of [the] U.S.” on 17 September 1956, LSIL-777 was authorized by the Secretary of the Navy for disposal and for use as a target to destruction. Stricken from the Naval Register on 18 September 1956, ex-LSIL-777 was sunk as a target on 10 September 1958 at 42º59'N, 125º14.5'W in 1,300 fathoms of water.

LCI(L)-777 was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for her service in the Salvage, Fire Fighting and Rescue Unit, Service Force, Seventh Fleet (6 January–15 February 1945), and one battle star for her World War II service.

Commanding Officers                                                  Date of Command

Ens. [later Lt. (j.g.)] Lawrence H. Baker, Jr., USNR        7 August 1944  

Ens. [later Lt. (j.g.)] Carl F. Daugherty, Jr., USNR          14 December 1945  

 

Robert J. Cressman

6 July 2016

Published: Thu Jul 14 13:48:27 EDT 2016