(APA‑201: dp. 6,720; l. 455'; b. 62'; dr. 28'1"; s. 17 k.; cpl. 310; trp. 1,562; a. 1 5", 12 40mm., 10 20 mm.; cl. Haskell; T. VC2‑S‑AP5)
Counties in central Illinois and west‑central Texas.
Menard (APA‑201) was laid down under Maritime Commission contract by Kaiser Co., Inc., Vancouver, Wash., 12 July 1944; launched 11 October 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Clarence Gustaveson; acquired by the Navy 31 October 1944; and commissioned the same day at Astoria, Oreg., Comdr. James B. Bliss in command.
After shakedown and training along the west coast, Menard embarked troops and loaded cargo at Port Hueneme, Calif., before sailing for Hawaiian waters 4 January 1945. Arriving 10 January, she participated in amphibious training exercises out of Pearl Harbor until 22 February when she joined a convoy bound for the western Pacific. She touched at American bases in the Marshalls, the Carolines, and the Palaus, and on 16 March reached Leyte Gulf, Philippines, where she staged for the impending invasion of Okinawa. Assigned to Transport Division 14, she cleared the approaches to Leyte 27 March and sailed northward for the Ryukyus.
Menard closed the coast of Okinawa early 1 April and boatloaded her assault troops for the amphibious sweep to the invasion beaches. Thence, she began off‑loading support cargo; despite numerous antishipping strikes by Japanese bombing and suicide planes, she continued these vital supply operations during the next week. On 6 April an enemy suicide plane attacked her from starboard. Intense gunfire from Menard splashed it off the transport-s port quarter.
Departing Okinawa 9 April, Menard steamed in convoy via the Marianas and the Marshalls to Pearl Harbor where she arrived the 25th. After conducting training operations in preparation for a possible invasion of the Japanese mainland, she steamed to San Francisco between 11 and 18 May. She embarked 1,101 troop reinforcements on the 29th and the following day cleared the Golden Gate en route to the Philippines. She reached Samar 23 June and discharged her troops. After embarking more than 300 wounded veterans, she departed for the west coast 4 July and returned to San Francisco the 23d.
Following a brief overhaul at Seattle, Menard again sailed for the western Pacific 8 August. For more than a month she shuttled troops to U.S. bases in the Marshalls, the Carolines, and the Marianas. She departed Saipan 18 September and carried 1,467 occupation troops to Japan. She arrived Nagasaki 23 September, debarked her troops, and sailed the 28th for "Magic Carpet" duty.
Steaming via the Philippines, Menard embarked 1,898 homeward bound troops at Okinawa and sailed 22 October for the United States. She reached Portland, Oreg., 6 November; during the rest of 1945 she carried returning veterans to various ports along the west coast. Between 2 January and 5 February 1946 she steamed to Guam and back, arriving Seattle with 2,057 troops embarked.
Menard, proceeded to San Francisco 27 February and on 8 April reported to the 19th Fleet at Stockton. Remaining there, she was placed in commission in reserve 27 November 1946. On 20 March 1947 she was placed in service in reserve. She decommissioned 14 June 1948 and remained at Stockton with the Pacific Reserve Fleet.
In light of the conflict in Korea and corresponding demands on American seapower, Menard recommissioned 2 December 1950. After intensive shakedown, she steamed to the Far East in early 1951 to support the movement of men and supplies to the war‑torn Korean peninsula. For more than 3 years she operated between Japanese and South Korean ports and from the west coast to the Far East to bolster the vital ocean supply lines to ground forces in South Korea. She provided valuable support to the U.S. effort of repelling Communist aggression in the Republic of Korea.
Following the Armistice agreement which ended overt hostilities, Menard continued to operate in the Pacific in support of peacekeeping operations. As a unit of the ever-vigilant 7th Fleet, she steamed to the troubled waters of Vietnam and during the latter part of 1954 participated in the vital "Passage‑to‑Freedom" operations. During this period she made runs from Communist controlled North Vietnam and carried refugees and supplies to freedom in the South.
Menard returned to the west coast in mid‑1955 and on 1 July reported to the Pacific Reserve Fleet at Long Beach for deactivation. She decommissioned 18 October 1955 and remained berthed at Long Beach. Ordered to be transferred to the Maritime Administration in 1961, her name was struck from the Navy list 1 September 1961. At present Menard is berthed in the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, Calif.
Menard received one battle star for World War II service and three battle stars for Korea service.