(LCI(L)-973: dp. 381; l. 159'; b. 23'8"; dr. 5'8"; s. 14.4 k.; cpl. 40; a. 5 20mm.; cl. LCI(L)-351)
Any of various birds in America with a highly specialized vocal apparatus (commonly referred to as "singing birds," although many among them do not sing) of the Icteridae family: the males are usually bright black and yellow or orange, the females chiefly greenish or yellowish, as the Baltimore oriole and the orchard oriole.
LCI(L)-973 was laid down 11 March 1944 at Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Tex.; launched 5 April 1944; and commissioned 30 May 1944, Lt. (jg) Ernest J. Kirsch in command.
This infantry landing craft conducted shakedown out of Galveston, Tex. in June 1944 before sailing later in the month to San Diego, Calif. After a summer of training operations LCI(L)-973 departed the West Coast in September for Hawaii and the southern Pacific area. Proceeding by stages, she arrived Palau Islands 29 December. Assigned to picket duty with the Palau LCI Force, the landing craft's mission was to prevent the reinforcement of, or offensive action from, bypassed enemy held islands. From March to June 1945 the craft sailed the Kossol-Peleliu mail run but after the installation of a searchlight in June she drew nightly duty on station in the Middle Lagoon.
Following the Japanese capitulation, with LCI Group 37, she arrived Guam 16 September to shuttle dischargees to Saipan. Steaming via Okinawa the group moored Tientsin, China 11 October to assist in the realignment of American and Chinese personnel along the Chinese coast. China service and occupation duty terminated 16 December as LCI(L)-973 headed homeward. Returning to the East Coast she decommissioned at Green Cove Springs, Fla. in March 1946.
In March 1952, while the Korean conflict raged, this Reserve Fleet craft was named Oriole and designated AMCU-33. Three months later she was reactivated for duty in the 5th Naval District and after additional modification, recommissioned at Charleston, S. C., 20 February 1954. Though assigned to the 4th Naval District on 1 April, the ship returned south for four months of mine detection operations off Little Creek, Va. in 1954 and in March 1955 participated in LANTMINEX. By this time her designation had changed to a coastal mine hunter and her status to that of an active Reserve Fleet ship.
Oriole (MHC-33) decommissioned 7 July 1955, was struck from the Navy List 1 January 1960, and sold 27 March 1961 to Ships and Power, Inc. Miami Fla.