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(APA-228: displacement 12,450; length 455-; beam 62-; draft 24-; speed 18 knots; complement 692; armament 1 5-, 12 40mm.; class Haskell; type VC2-S-AP5)

A county in Virginia.

Attack transport Rockbridge (APA-228) was laid down for the Maritime Commission (MCV hull 674) 2 September 1944 by the Kaiser Shipbuilding Co., Vancouver, Wash.; launched 28 October 1944; sponsored by Mrs. C. J. Hearn; acquired by the Navy on loan-charter 18 November 1944; and commissioned the same day, Capt. William W. Cone in command.

The new attack transport arrived at Pearl Harbor on 4 February 1945, sailed for Iwo Jima on the 20th, and operated off that island for 2 weeks. She returned to Seattle, Wash., 28 May and on 6 June embarked Army troops for Okinawa. Rockbridge arrived at the Hagushi anchorage 24 July to debark the men and discharge cargo. During the 6 days she spent off Okinawa, the ship was harassed by night air attacks, but suffered no damage because of the concealing smoke made by all the vessels in the harbor.

Rockbridge was off Ulithi in mid-August when the Japanese surrender was announced. During September and October she made two voyages to Japan with occupation troops and then joined the "Magic-Carpet" fleet to bring home servicemen eligible for discharge.

Assigned to Joint Task Force 1 in the spring of 1946, she served as a floating hotel for the crews of target vessels Arkansas (BB-33), New York (BB-34), and Salt Lake City (CA-25) during that summer's atomic bomb tests on Bikini.

Rockbridge was decommissioned 8 March 1947 and entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet. After the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, she was ordered activated. She recommissioned 23 December 1950, and in May 1951 joined Amphibious Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

From 1951 to 1968, the transport participated in numerous amphibious training programs at Onslow Beach, N.C.; Little Creek, Va.; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and Vieques Island, P.R.

During her long service, she made eight Mediterranean cruises. Highlights included her participation in "Weldfast" a large-scale NATO operation in 1953; standby alert for possible evacuation of U.S. citizens from Egypt during the 1956 Suez Canal nationalization crisis; and aid to earthquake victims of Greece in 1953; and to flood victims in France in 1959 following the collapse of Malpasset Dam, near Fréjus.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis in the fall of 1962, Rockbridge carried reinforcements to Guantanamo Bay and returned to the United States for additional troops, which she held in combat readiness until December. During July 1966, the transport took part in the production of an amphibious training movie, "Boat Group Tactics," filmed in Hampton Roads.

Rockbridge was decommissioned 29 November 1968, struck from the Navy list on 1 December 1968 and sold to Boston Metal Co., Baltimore, Md., on 27 May 1969 for scrapping.

For her World War II service, Rockbridge received one battle star.

19 October 2005

Published: Mon Aug 31 12:02:40 EDT 2015