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Image related to Lst 695
Caption: Image taken on board LST-695 en route to the Philippines, 22 October 1944. Rough awnings rigged to shield men from the tropical sun. This photograph, snapped by a U.S. Army photographer, is probably one of the last views of the ship in a fully operational state. (U.S. Army Signal Corps Photograph, Still Pictures Branch, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.)

(LST-695: displacement 1,490; length 328'0"; beam 50'0"; draft 11'2" (limiting), 14'1" (maximum); speed 10.8 knots; complement 119; armament 8 40 millimeter, 14 20 millimeter; class LST-542)

LST-695 was laid down on 28 February 1944 at Jeffersonville, Ind., by the Jeffersonville Boat and Machine Co.; launched on 24 April 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Ursula R. Vilsack; departed her building yard on 18 May 1944 and arrived at New Orleans, La., on 22 May 1944, where she was commissioned that day, Lt. Deane M. Freeman, Jr., D-V(G), in command.

Departing South Pass on 27 May 1944, LST-695 carried out her shakedown training en route to St. Andrews Bay, Fla., and in those waters, temporarily attached to the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. She carried out gunnery exercises with her 40-millimeter (expending 469 rounds) and 20-millimeter (3,611 rounds) batteries during that time. Underway for Gulfport, Miss., on 10 June, the new tank landing ship secured to the Naval Supply Dock at Gulfport during the first watch the next day. After loading 1,100 tons of cargo during her stay at the supply base, she sailed for New Orleans, during the second dog watch on 14 June.

Standing in to the Mississippi River channel at 0935 on 15 June 1944, LST-695 moored to the Naval Ammunition Dock at Twelve Mile Point five minutes into the first watch that same day. After discharging ammunition, the tank landing ship moored at the Pendleton Shipyards at midnight to begin a period of repairs. Receiving the tank landing craft LCT-764 on deck on 19 June, the ship then departed the outfitting dock at the Pendleton facility at 2228 on 20 June, bound for the Ammunition Depot, arriving almost an hour and a quarter into the mid watch on 21 June. Underway at 0451 that same day, LST-695 then compensated her magnetic compasses. She then lay anchored in the Mississippi on the 22nd until getting underway at 2218 that day to join a convoy, HK-245, forming for departure. Underway for Cuba a half hour into the first watch on 23 June, steaming in position 34 of HK-245, LST-695 became part of convoy KG-715 off Key West on 27 June. She dropped anchor in Guantanamo Bay on the morning of 30 June, and then fueled on 2 July.

Underway for Cristobal, C.Z., during the afternoon watch on 5 July 1944, LST-695 steamed in position 53 of convoy GZ-76. She stood in to the port of Cristobal during the forenoon watch on 7 July, and moored at Pier 1, Naval Base, Coco Solo, C.Z., soon thereafter, reporting for duty with Commander, Seventh Fleet, the same day. She remained there until 9 July, when she transited the Panama Canal (1003-1825), taking departure immediately afterward for the Society Islands.

Crossing the Equator at 0830 on 16 July 1944, LST-695 closed the coast of Bora Bora at the start of the first watch on 29 July, and dropped anchor in Teavaniu Harbor at 0834 the following morning. She shifted to the Navy Wharf at 1415, unloading 110 tons of cargo during the first watch. Underway shortly after mid-day on 31 July, LST-695 sailed for New Caledonia in convoy, steaming in position 12.  She crossed the International Date Line three hours into the mid watch on 8 August. Breaking convoy on 12 August to hold firing practice (1345-1545) during which she expended 2,407 rounds of 20-millimeter and 131 rounds of 40-millimeter, LST-695 entered the channel to Noumea at 0950 on 13 August, then moored alongside LST-694 in Dumbea Bay, in anchorage A-12. She reported to Commander, Seventh Amphibious Force, for duty, the following day [14 August].

LST-695 got underway on the morning of 15 August 1944, bound for the Admiralty Islands, steaming in position 12 of the Manus-bound convoy. Standing in to the channel at her destination at mid-day on 23 August, the ship dropped anchor a little over an hour and a quarter into the afternoon watch in eight fathoms of water. After conducting voyage repairs on 24 August, the ship lay anchored on the 25th and 26th (launching LCT-764 on the latter day), then unloaded her cargo for the balance of the month. She shifted to the Repair Base at Seeadler Harbor on 31 August.

Following training in the beaching area at Seeadler Harbor (2-3 September 1944), LST-695 got underway in convoy on 4 September, taking position 32. Standing in to Humboldt Bay, New Guinea, early in the forenoon watch on 6 September, the tank landing ship beached on the 11th. She then began loading her main and tank decks with U.S. Army cargo. That process completed soon thereafter, LST-695 sailed to rendezvous at Maffin Bay, maneuvering into the convoy position at 1800 on 13 September.

On 15 September 1944, in Operation Trade Wind, Task Force 77 (Rear Adm. Daniel E. Barbey) put the U.S. Army 41st Infantry (Reinforced) (Major Gen. John C. Persons, USA) ashore on Morotai Island, N.E.I., supported by Rear Adm. Russell S. Berkey's Task Group (TG) 77.2 (two heavy cruisers, three light cruisers and ten destroyers) and planes from Rear Adm. Thomas L. Sprague's six escort carriers (CVEs) of TG 77.1, screened by eight destroyer escorts. Airfield facilities built on Morotai would be used to support operations against Japanese positions in the Philippines. LST-695, part of a convoy of 12 tank landing ships, escorted by four destroyers, lifted troops and equipment to Morotai on D+3 Day, 18 September.

As LST-695 approached her objective, "considerable anti-aircraft fire from our ships in the main harbor-northwest of Mitita Island" could be seen dotting the sky at 0530 on 18 September 1944. A half-hour later, her lookouts spotted one medium bomber "flying very high, out of range, coming up over the ship's stern and heading north" that dropped a bomb that near-missed LST-562, on LST-695's port beam, approximately 1,000 yards away. A second bomb near-missed one of the escorting destroyers, about 2,500 yards off LST-695's starboard quarter. Since the plane had been out of range at the outset, LST-695 did not fire, and the tank landing ship beached at Pitoe Beach at 0857 without further incident. Army engineers began unloading the cargo brought from Humboldt Bay soon thereafter, completing that evolution by 1625. The ship retracted from the beach at 1645 and took position 12 in the retiring convoy at 1825, securing from general quarters at 1918 and setting course for Aitape. She reached her destination and stood in to Aitape Roads at 1300 on 23 September.

LST-695 began loading army equipment at 1945 on 23 September 1944, and completed the process at 1530 the following afternoon. She then embarked 13 officers and 296 enlisted soldiers for transportation to Morotai. She retracted at 1544. Underway the following morning, her anchor aweigh at 0555, she made the rendezvous at Maffin Bay at 1157 on 26 September. She joined up with an Echelon M-13 convoy and set course to return to Morotai, arriving at her objective on the morning of 30 September.  She went to general quarters at 0515 (and remained in that condition of readiness until 2010) beaching at 0806. Completing the unloading process at 1444 and disembarking her passengers soon thereafter, LST-695's second encounter with the enemy occurred shortly after a subsequent retraction from Pitoe Beach that afternoon [30 September], as LST-695 maneuvered to form up with a convoy. At 1842, one mile southeast of Morotai, she observed heavy anti-aircraft fire from guns on shore as two enemy planes flew high over the convoy, in a southerly direction. Picking the planes up by naked eye, LST-695 opened fire with her 40- and 20-millimeter batteries (firing 112 rounds from the former and 556 from the latter), maintaining fire until ceasing at 1849. "Far as was known," Lt. Freeman, the ship's commanding officer, reported later, "no bombs were dropped by the enemy on the convoy, though several were observed bursting on shore."

Steaming in Echelon M-13, Group S, LST-695 entered Humboldt Bay, New Guinea, at the beginning of the forenoon watch on 5 October 1944. On 12 October, she began loading army vehicles from White Beach, Hollandia, at 1500, completing the process early on the 15th. At 0520 on 16 October, LST-695, with 23 officers and 480 enlisted men of the U.S. Sixth Army embarked, as well as 402 tons of mobile cargo and 106.4 tons of bulk cargo, departed Hollandia in convoy as part of TG 78.6, a passage enlivened by what Lt. Freeman considered "poor station keeping by LST-744, necessitating [LST-695] pulling out of column several times." The condition persisted on 20 October, with ships steaming "dangerously close during the [mid] watch." Ultimately, LST-695 beached at White Beach, Leyte, at 1442 on 22 October (A+2 Day), and completed unloading three quarters of an hour into the mid watch on the 23rd. At that juncture, the tank landing ship retracted and proceeded to the nearest anchorage in San Pedro Bay, where she remained until departing Leyte Gulf in an Echelon A+3 convoy, bound for Hollandia, at 1523 on 23 October.

Late in the first watch on 24 October 1944, as LST-695 proceeded at nine knots through the low swells of a calm sea in position 12 in the formation, her men from section 3 beginning to awaken to relieve their shipmates in section 2, Japanese submarine I-56 (Lt. Cmdr. Morinaga Masahiko, commanding) attacked the convoy, firing three magnetic exploder-equipped conventional torpedoes. One hit LST-695 at 2335, followed shortly thereafter by a second, the upheaval blowing S1c Maynard Swisher and S1c Robert J. Lambert, standing watch in the 40 millimeter gun tub at the stern, into the sea. Lt. Comdr. Morinaga, meanwhile, having heard three explosions (the two hits on LST-695 and what may have been the premature explosion of the third torpedo), enthusiastically (but erroneously) claimed sinking three ships. Morinaga's one victim, however, though bloodied, proved to be made of stern stuff.

On board LST-695, general quarters immediately sounded while Lt. Freeman relieved Lt. Hugo O. Stevens, D-V(S), the executive officer, at the comm, while Ens. George H. Thomas, D-V(S), the stores officer and junior officer of the deck at the time of the torpedoing, remained at the conn at his battle station. The damage lay chiefly around frame 57 on or near the rudder post as the explosions had vented upward, blowing a hole about 15 feet wide and 32 feet long, bending the skin of the ship upward around the hole and buckling the hull between frames 31 and 32, forward of the direct damage. In addition, the powerful force of the explosion had blown each deck into the deck above, raising the whole fantail two feet.

The blast peeled back the deck from the skin of the ship, seriously indenting the ship's side and bottom aft of frame 41, caving in the surface, distorting the starboard side of the vessel and tearing away the skin from the main deck. It also destroyed all compartmentation aft of frame 41; "the port side of the stern, below the second deck," one observer wrote, "is non existent."  Although the generators remained in operation, LST-695 lost steering control, the port rudder being "completely blown off" and the starboard being jammed in "a nearly horizontal position." She lost power in the port engine, the explosion forcing the port shaft and screw into the crew's quarters. Some 20 minutes later, the starboard engine, its shaft blown severely out of line, overheated. The blast had blown away the port LCVP and badly stove-in the starboard boat.

A large number of officers and men under Lt. Stevens "set about recovering the wounded and dead" from the "totally wrecked" after crew's quarters: Lt. Joseph F. White, Jr., D-V(S), the gunnery officer, Ens. Harry D. Hendren, D-V(S), the assistant first lieutenant, MoMM3c Edgar R. Snider, RdM3c Leland G. Morlan (who had suffered back injuries), F1c Samuel L. Mowder, S1c John S. Strzelczyk (who had suffered a fractured right arm), Cox Leonard C. Herm (who had suffered contusions to his nose and back, and multiple lacerations to his feet) and F1c John L. Hensley, all plunged into the wreckage, heedless of their own safety (each of the foregoing men would receive the Bronze Star for their meritorious service). Ens. James E. Walch, D-V(S), the communication officer, S1c Wellington C. Grant, S1c Carl W. Puckett, S1c Thorn P. Starkey, and S1c William E. Tinsmith, "immediately and voluntarily proceeded to the crew's quarters to carry wounded men from the unlighted compartment and wreckage to dressing stations in complete disregard for [their] own personal safety," thus saving many lives (each of the foregoing men received letters of commendation from Commander, Seventh Fleet). Others who performed work of a similar character included MoMM2c Claude E. Furry, F1c Elmer E. Lignitz, and S1c Raymond R. Rhine.

Meanwhile, a damage control party consisting of Lt. (j.g.) Matthew C. Cavoretto, E-V(S), the engineer officer (who had suffered a fractured right wrist), Ens. George E. Zillgitt, D-V(G), the first lieutenant, and MoMM1c Walter J. Bodeman (who had suffered perforated eardrums) entered the "darkened and flooded" areas to commence "taking all steps to assure water tight integrity and to estimate the damage done." CMoMM David H. Stephens, despite having suffered facial contusions and a fractured nose, aided in those efforts, and helped rescue men from a flooded compartment. Each of the aforementioned men received the Silver Star for their gallantry.

Fifteen minutes after the two torpedoes from I-56 had wreaked havoc on board, Ens. Zillgitt, who had suffered multiple lacerations on his hands and feet, reported to Lt. Freeman that "the ship was no longer taking on water - appearances indicated that she would not sink if the weather remained moderate-" With watertight doors rendering inaccessible the new operating room/sick bay on the port side, and the small size of the sick bay on the starboard side militating against its use, Lt. Comdr. William P. Hixon, MC-V(S), the ship's medical officer, and his corpsmen  repaired to the wardroom to treat the wounded.  One of the corpsmen in the ship's medical department, PhM1c Walter W. Kessler, V-6, had been killed in the explosion, and a second, PhM1c Louis L. Feuer, V-6, had been injured.

In response to the visual signal from LST-695, whose high frequency radio transmitter had suffered damage in the blast, the Coast Guard-manned LST-170 (Lt. J. C. Baquie, USCGR, commanding) quickly lowered an LCVP from her port davits 17 minutes into the mid watch to proceed immediately to the stricken ship. The landing craft returned nine minutes later and embarked Lt. Comdr. Samuel Cohn, MC-V(S) and Lt. Frederick W. Rae, MC-V(S), and CPhM Everett A. Mitchell, Jr., USCG, to transport to her damaged sister.

At 0030, soon after the LCVP departed with the two medical officers and the pharmacist's mate, LST-170 lowered an LCP(R) from her starboard davits to "patrol within sight of [the] ship for any casualties afloat," a precaution that soon paid a dividend as the alert coast guardsmen heard cries for help in the darkness and rescued S1c Lambert, one of the two sailors blown over the side by the explosion of the torpedoes. Learning for the first time the identity of the stricken ship when the LCP(R) returned alongside at 0045, LST-170 dispatched her LCVP at 0046 to look for more casualties in the water. LST-170 then lowered a stretcher four minutes later and lifted S1c Lambert on board for treatment.

An hour and a half into the mid watch on 25 October 1944, LST-986 (Lt. Anthony Lozika, D-V(S), commanding) took LST-695 in tow. LST-170 followed in their wake, her LCVP returning with Lt. Comdr. Cohn at 0155, S1c Lambert's multiple injuries requiring his presence, while submarine chaser PC-598 escorted the little convoy. LST-695's officers and men succored the wounded and evaluated the damage. That conditions on board were uncertain is reflected in her commanding officer's noting "exemplary conduct and devotion to duty." In the immediate wake of the attack, "when there was imminent danger of further enemy action (a possibility of foundering many miles off shore, and when many) shipmates were dead and dying" her men had rendered assistance when it was badly needed and conducted themselves most creditably.

In the middle of the forenoon watch on 26 October 1944, LST-695 jettisoned the starboard LCVP that had been damaged when the ship had been torpedoed and had been dangling precariously in its falls. At mid-day, the ship began preparing for burials at sea. At the conclusion of the afternoon watch on 26 October, LST-695 buried 22 of her dead, Lt. Freeman conducting the service, reciting the prescribed texts for those of the Protestant and Roman Catholic faiths, committing the bodies of the slain to the deep (07°15'N, 131°57'E). The ships set course for Peleliu, as Lt. Freeman later wrote, "as the ship was not considered seaworthy in the event of bad weather."

While PC-598 proceeded ahead when in sight of Angaur, Palau Group, "to arrange for the care of casualties and salvage of [the] disabled vessel," LST-986, with LST-695 in tow, stood in to the channel between Peleliu and Angaur one hour into the afternoon watch on 27 October 1944. Two hours later, Lt. Rae and CPhM Mitchell returned to their ship. Ten minutes into the first dog watch, LST-695 transferred 13 of the more seriously wounded (LST-170 transferred S1c Lambert by a U.S. Army DUKW-2 6.5-ton 6X6 amphibian truck) to the U.S. Naval Hospital on Peleliu, leaving them in the care of the 306th Medical Battalion, 81st Infantry, clearing station.  

Less than an hour later, LST-695 took a tow line from the fleet ocean tug Munsee (ATF-107) and cast off from LST-170.  While the two tank landing ships that had stood steadfastly by their damaged sister sailed for Hollandia soon thereafter, Munsee got underway and set course for Kossol Roads, Palau. As the ships proceeded beneath overcast skies and occasional showers, LST-695's officers and men continued to try and "make [the] ship more seaworthy." With fresh water running low and two "durable household electric refrigerators" proving invaluable, her sailors prepared meals from the undamaged canned goods, employing Sterno and G.I. cans to cook the food on the main deck. Later, Lt. Freeman would note that "an Army manual on Field Cooking would have helped in improvising stoves and meals."

Eventually standing in to the eastern entrance of Kossol Roads an hour before the end of the afternoon watch on 28 October 1944, the battered tank landing ship anchored in berth 26 a little less than a quarter of an hour into the first dog watch. Twisted debris had rendered the after crew's head inaccessible. Salvagers eventually cleared away the tangled metal on 1 November and recovered one body, soon identified as one of the missing: S2c Leonard D. Gooden. The following morning [2 November], Lt. Lester O. Hooks, CH-V(S), the chaplain from the hospital ship Bountiful (AH-9), came on board at 0945, shortly before the submarine chaser SC-1363 came alongside to embark a funeral party consisting of Lt. Freeman, Lt. Hooks, a party of ten men from LST-695, and the body of S2c Gooden. SC-1363 then proceeded out to sea, and at 1110, the funeral party consigned the body of their shipmate to the deep, returning to the ship at noon.

After emergency repairs at the floating dry dock ARD-17 (4-9 December 1944) LST-695 remained at Kossol Roads until 23 January 1945. A little over a fortnight before her departure from that place, however, LST-695 went to general quarters five minutes into the forenoon watch on 12 January after receiving up a report of "enemy submarines in harbor." Soon thereafter, LST-225, anchored 1,000 yards off to starboard, began firing into the water. A large explosion in the water followed, "believed to have been an enemy midget submarine." LST-695 observed "escort vessels and destroyers and [a Martin] PBM [Mariner] flying boat searching for submarines." in the vicinity, but after depth charges had been dropped off the east entrance of the anchorage, later stood down from battle stations at 1145. Ten minutes later, however, the discovery of a second periscope prompted her to return to general quarters, where she remained until 1330, a half hour after a large explosion occurred off the east entrance. Her men returned to their battle stations about an hour later, with the reported sighting of a periscope in the vicinity of the repair ship Prometheus (AR-3). Ships and craft ranging from destroyers to motor torpedo boats attempted to develop the contact to no avail.

Ultimately, LST-695 secured from battle stations the last time for the day at 1524. What the anchored LST had most probably witnessed was the unsuccessful attack by Kaitens (special attack submarines) piloted by Ens. Ito Osamu and CPO Arimori Bunkichi, on the U.S. anchorage at Kossol Roads, launched by the submarine I-53 (Lt. Comdr. Toyomasu Seihachi). Ironically, LST-695's assailant, I-56, was involved in a similarly unsuccessful effort at Manus, in the Admiralties, the same day.

Bound for the Admiralty Islands, LST-695 departed Kossol Roads early in the second dog watch on 16 February 1945 with convoy Kossol-Manus (KM) 11, in tow of the auxiliary ocean tug ATA-177, and accompanied by the destroyer escort Harmon (DE-678). The little convoy reached its destination, Seeadler Harbor, mid-way through the afternoon watch on 23 February. The following day, Capt. George A. Holderness, Jr., and a Lt. Cmdr. Wallace came on board to inspect the battle damage (1500-1622). A little over a fortnight later, on 11 March, in a break from the routine of cleaning up the ship, LST-695's sailors hosted a recreation party of men from the destroyer escort Weeden (DE-797), who came on board to play basketball (1715-1935). The tank landing ship then lay drydocked in the advance base sectional dock ABSD-2 (11-18 April) receiving repairs "to improve [the] weakened hull structure."

At the end of that period [18 April 1945], about 150 miles east of Okinawa, destroyers Heermann (DD-532), McCord (DD-534), Mertz (DD-691), and Collett (DD-730), assisted by destroyer Uhlmann (DD-687) and a General Motors TBM (VT-47) Avenger from the small carrier Bataan (CVL-29) sank I-56 with all hands (116 officers and men and 6 embarked Kaiten pilots).

Before month's end, the tank landing ship's men would again witness a Japanese surprise attack on a rear area, when LST-695 went to general quarters early in the mid watch on 29 April 1945, hearing "several explosions" in the vicinity of ABSD-2. Japanese Nakajima B5N2 Type 97 carrier attack planes (Kates), flying from Truk, carried out a nocturnal torpedo attack on the fleet anchorage, mistakenly identifying floating drydocks as aircraft carriers.

As of 21 May 1945, records indicate that those at higher echelons slated LST-695 for retention at Pearl Harbor for battle damage repairs, and that the administrative staff of the Seventh Fleet contemplated converting the ship into an amphibious logistics vessel for assignment to the Seventh Fleet Amphibious Force. While others pondered her future, LST-695, towed by the fleet tug Apache (ATF-67), got underway at 1250 for Oahu on 24 May on the first leg of her odyssey to the west coast of the United States. The ships crossed the International Date Line at the start of the mid watch on 7 June, setting their clocks back 24 hours. Apache and her tow reached Pearl during the forenoon watch on 16 June, the tank landing ship assisted the final leg of her voyage by the large harbor tug Sonnicant (YTB-416) into berth T-5, West Loch, securing at 1151.

Meanwhile, the ship's fate continued to be a matter of discussion elsewhere. Five days after LST-695 arrived in West Loch (21 June 1945), Commander, Service Force, Pacific (ComServPac) projected a date of 6 July for an availability to begin, but concluded, however, that the "large amount of battle damage" militated against a "ready for sea" date of 15 November, considering the "extensive cannibalism" of the ship that had occurred over the intervening months.

During the morning watch on 25 June 1945, with small harbor tugs YTL-649 and YTL-340 assisting, LST-695 received a tow that took her, stern first, down the West Loch channel, then maneuvered her around so that her bow lay astern of LST-130, whose sailors secured a tow line to their ship's crippled sister at 0925. Five minutes later, the two tank landing ships set course for the west coast of the United States. The voyage proceeded uneventfully, with the ships closing the fog-shrouded bay area during the mid watch on 11 July. LST-695 sighted the Golden Gate Bridge at 0712 and the coast of California, her long odyssey at last at an end. Quinnepin (YTB-286) assisted her into an anchorage. LST-695 soon began transferring ammunition to the covered lighter YF-465, then sent her first liberty party ashore at 1600. One of her crew, S1c K.A. Townsend, overstayed his leave 20 hours and 20 minutes. A boat from the attack transport Ormsby (APA-49) returned him to the ship at the start of the first watch on 13 July.

Over the next few days, the medium harbor tugs YTM-477 and YTM-478 assisted LST-695 to new moorings in San Francisco Bay (12 July 1945), while a representative of the Assistant Industrial Manager and navy photographers came out to evaluate, and take pictures of, the damage. Nasomee (YTB-260) and YTM-478 then towed LST-695 to the Moore Drydock Company's west yard facilities during the afternoon watch on 14 July. Lt. Cmdr. Mehar and Lt. Jessom inspected the ship's damage on 18 July, between 1120 and 1240.

Soon thereafter, Mare Island Naval Shipyard, on 19 July 1945, citing a heavy workload in the San Francisco Bay area, suggested three possible courses of action for LST-695's future. The first called for a board of inspection and survey to look over the ship to determine whether or not she would be removed from the active list. The second called for retention of LST-695 at Mare Island to be repaired "as available manpower permits" in the backlog of ships requiring such work. The third called for the ship to be moved to another area. ComServPac, on 21 July, opted for the second suggestion. That same day, workmen began their labors on board the ship, while officers and men moved bag and baggage to the sternwheeler house boat YHB-18 on 24 July to reside there for the duration of the repairs.

YTM-476 and YTM-606 towed LST-695 from the west yard of the Moore Drydock Co., Oakland, Calif., facility, to the east yards on 3 August 1945, where, on 6 August, Lt. Edward B. Watson, Jr., D-V(S) relieved Lt. Freeman as commanding officer an hour before the end of the forenoon watch alongside Pier 3, East Yard, Moore Drydock. On 8 August, tug Crawley took the ship to drydock for a hull inspection (8-9 August), with YTM-478 and YTM-606 returning the ship to her berth at the 19th Street Pier, West Yard, Moore Drydock. The end of the war in the Pacific, however, on 15 August, may have prompted those managing industrial activities at San Francisco to seek clarification from Washington on 21 August whether or not LST-695 would be retained in "Category C" status ("stop all work pending further instructions"). The Chief of Naval Operations office responded on 23 August that LST-695 would be retained in Category C.

On 7 September 1945, Nasomee and Mazapeta (YTB-181) took the ship from the Moore facility at 1635 and moored to Pier 33, San Francisco, a little less than an hour later. Commandant, Twelfth Naval District (Com12) requested instructions concerning the ship's disposition on 13 September. Five days later, the Pacific Coast section of the Board of Inspection and Survey (InSurv) declared that expending "funds, material [and] labor to repair battle damage and make alterations disproportionate to value when completed." It accordingly recommended that "salvageable material" be taken off the ship and that the hulk be broken up.

Com 12 reiterated the question of LST-695's disposition on 3 October 1945, to which the CNO's office replied, two days later, directing that the ship be decommissioned "with [a] view to probable disposal" as recommended by the InSurv board. That same day (5 October), YTM-721 and YTM-606 took the ship from San Francisco to the Kaiser Yard No.3, Richmond, Calif., ferry slip. Tugs Admiral Vickery and Admiral Land, and Butte, assisted the LST to berth alongside pier 5, Kaiser Yard No.3 on 16 October; back to Ferry Slip at Kaiser Yard No.3 on 31 October, assisted by Butte and Admiral Vickery; then moved again, by Admiral Vickery, Peterson No.14, and Butte, to number 5 basin, Kaiser Yard No.3 on 1 November.

Decommissioned at the Kaiser Shipyard, Richmond, Calif., on 6 November 1945 and stripped, LST-695 was deemed "surplus to Navy needs" and "not essential to the defense of [the] U.S."  Stricken from the Navy Register on 28 November 1945, the veteran of the landings at Morotai and Leyte and a type of ship that her first wartime commanding officer had considered "exceptionally good-capable of absorbing a great deal of punishment," was sold to the George Pollack Co., of Stockton, Calif., on 22 March 1946. She was delivered to her purchaser the same day.

LST-695 earned two battle stars for her World War II service.

Robert J. Cressman

29 November 2016 

Image related to Lst 695
Caption: LST-695 enters advance base sectional dock ABSD-2, 11 April 1945. (U.S. Navy Photograph, Still Pictures Branch, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.)

Published: Wed Nov 30 09:41:42 EST 2016