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(ARS(D)‑2: dp. 816; l. 224'9"; b. 34'11"; dr. 8'; s. 13 k.; cpl. 65; a. 2 20mm.; cl. Gypsy)

One who repairs or restores to good condition.

Mender, originally designated LSM‑550, she was reclassified ARS(D)‑2 24 April 1945 and was laid down on 25 August 1945 by Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Tex.; launched 7 December 1945; and commissioned 8 March 1946, Lt. Comdr. A. V. Swarthout in command.

Designed for salvage work, specifically emergency harbor clearance, Mender completed her shakedown training in the Norfolk, Va., area and got underway, 30 April 1946, for the Pacific. Arriving Pearl Harbor 23 June she reported to CinCPac and was assigned to joint TF 1 for operation "Crossroads." Sailing from Pearl Harbor 27 June, she arrived at Bikini 9 July and began anchorage operations. Moving out of the harbor 24 July, she witnessed the experimental explosion of the atomic bomb the following morning from area "Mercury," 15 miles away. Within 3 hours of the detonation she returned to the harbor to assist in recovering beached and damaged craft and in gathering scientific information on underwater effects of the blast.

Departing the Atoll 4 September, she operated in the Hawaiian area until December when she sailed for overhaul at San Pedro, Calif. On 17 July 1947 she left Long Beach for another mid‑Pacific deployment, and for the remainder of the year cleared beaches and harbors at Kwajalein, Guam, and Angaur of wrecked pontoons, targets, and sunken hulks. Included in the latter were landing craft, tugs, barges, and the bow of Pittsburg (CA‑72), which she helped raise and tow out to sea for sinking.

Returning to Pearl Harbor 1 January 1948, she sailed on the 5th for San Diego. There she reported to the Pacific Reserve Fleet 17 January and decommissioned on the 21st. She remained out of commission in reserve until recommissioned 12 September 1951. On 19 November she got underway for her home port, Pearl Harbor, arriving on the 29th. She departed Hawaiian waters 2 February and sailed to Eniwetok where she replaced moorings before continuIng on to Japan, arriving Sasebo 14 March.

On 12 April she headed for the Korean combat zone to salvage SS Park Benjamin, grounded with several compartments flooded near Pusan. In May she salvaged LST‑578 off Cheju‑Do. During the next 3 months, she cruised the Korean coast to clear anchorages, conduct surveys, and plant buoys and moorings. Then on 2 September she pointed her bow south for the Philippines and for the next month and a half conducted diving and demolition operations to rid Subic Bay of the hulk of the Japanese vessel Oroyoku Maru.

Arriving back at Pearl Harbor 17 December Mender operated in the mid‑Pacific area until sailing for Japan 20 August 1953. Dropping anchor at Sasebo 11 September, she sailed again for Inchon on the 23d. There, until mid-January 1954, she carried out a harbor clearance project. After a similar assignment near Paengyong Do in February, she began preparations for her second atomic bomb test, Operation "Castle." Arriving at Bikini 24 March, she fulfilled much the same role as on her first such assignment until 11 May, then sailed via Johnston Island, to Pearl Harbor. Arriving 23 May, Mender did various salvage jobs in the Hawaiians until 10 October 1955, when she got underway for Astoria, Oreg. Here she decommissioned and joined the Columbia River group of the Pacific Reserve Fleet 20 December 1955. Later transferred to San Diego, she remains in reserve into 1969.

Mender received two battle stars for her Korean service.

Published: Fri Aug 07 09:21:50 EDT 2015