(LCI (L)-976: dp. 387 (f.); l. 159'; b. 23'8"; dr. 5'8"; s. 14.4 k.; cpl. 40; a. 5 20mm.; cl. LCI(L)-351)
A European bunting.
The second Ortolan was laid down as LCI(L)-976, 15 March 1944, by the Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Tex.; launched 10 April 1944; and commissioned 5 May 1944; Lt. (j.g.) William C. Lawton in command.
Following fitting out at Galveston, LCI(L)-976 sailed, 2 June 1944, for the southwest Pacific and duty with the 7th Fleet. Arriving at Milne Bay, New Guinea, 20 July, she transported troops and supplies and conducted training exercises during the next three months. In November, she got underway for the Philippine combat area. Sailing in a Leyte supply and reinforcement convoy on the 5th, she came under enemy fire for the first time on the 12th. After that day of air attacks off the Leyte assault beaches, she endured many more as she remained in the area until 6 December. On 7 December, she took the offensive and landed assault troops at Ormoc Bay. On the 15th, she conducted similar operations against Mindoro.
She departed Leyte Gulf again 27 January 1945, and steamed back to Mindoro with reinforcements; then headed for Luzon with elements of the 11th Airborne Division embarked. On 5 February, as the battle to free Manila was beginning, she landed them at Nasugbu, south of the entrance to Manila Bay. From Luzon, the LCI(L) returned to Mindoro, thence to Leyte where she embarked troops of the Americal Division. Landing them at Talisay Point, Cebu, 26 March, she remained in the area until sailing to land forces on Negros a month later. She then returned to Cebu whence she sailed to Leyte with Japanese POWs.
On 7 May, LCI(L)-976 got underway for a run to Mindanao, arriving at Zamboanga on the 10th and returning to Leyte on the 18th. Through June, she provided services in the Leyte area and during July and early August she transported troops to Panay and Cebu for mopping-up missions.
Following the Japanese surrender in mid-August, occupation duties replaced combat operations. On 5 September, the landing craft got underway for Okinawa and Shanghai. Arriving at the latter 29 September, she transported Chinese troops and supplies to Taiwan. Then, on 16 December, she sailed for the United States.
She arrived at San Pedro 31 January 1946. She reached New Orleans 3 June, decommissioned 19 August 1946 and was reclassified AMCU-34 on 7 March 1952. She was converted at the Charleston Naval Shipyard and recommissioned, 21 November 1953. On 18 December, she reported for duty in the 5th Naval District where she was occupied with minehunting training exercises into 1954. On 3 March, she departed for Key West to commence an extensive schedule of training and development exercises in which she was employed for the remainder of her active service.
Redesignated MHC-34, 7 February 1955, Ortolan decommissioned, at Charleston, 23 June 1955. Then assigned to the Florida Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet, she was berthed at Green Cove Springs until struck from the Navy List, 1 January 1960, and sold, for scrapping, 8 July, to the Marlene Blouse Company.
LCI(L)-976 earned four battle stars during World War II.