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Naval History and Heritage Command

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(APA-205: dp. 7,190; l. 455'; b. 62'; dr. 24'; s. 17.7 k.; cpl. 536; a. 1 5", 12 40mm., 10 20mm.; cl. Haskell; T. VC2-S-AP5)

A county in Minnesota named for Moses Sherburne, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Sherburne (APA-205) was laid down under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull MCV-553) on 18 May 1944 by Yard Number 2, the Permanente Metals Corp., Richmond, Calif.; launched on 10 July 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Mary Sernach; and commissioned on 20 September 1944, Comdr. Lannis A. Parker in command.

Following commissioning, Sherburne proceeded to the Naval Supply Depot at Oakland, Calif. She remained in the San Francisco area until getting under way for San Pedro, Calif., for shakedown training which she completed on 20 October. The ship then returned to San Francisco to become a training vessel for APA and AP crews being assembled at the Precommissioning Training Center at Treasure Island. During her duty as a training vessel, 24 October to 22 December, she embarked the officers and men of 19 ships for periods of one to five days each for short cruises to the operating areas off Point Reyes. They were given training in ship handling, emergency drills, and in surface and antiaircraft firing. Upon completion of brief repairs at the Bethlehem Steel Co. in San Francisco, she got underway on 12 January 1945 toward San Diego for amphibious training. From 14 to 29 January, the ship underwent strenuous training in all phases of amphibious operations; and, on completion of this duty, she returned to the San Francisco area to load cargo.

On 15 February, Sherburne departed San Francisco for Hawaii and arrived at Pearl Harbor on the morning of the 21st. On 20 March, the ship embarked her first contingent of troops and got underway with a convoy bound for the Marshalls. She arrived at Eniwetok on the 28th; and, after discharging cargo, proceeded to Kwajalein, arriving there on 31 March; and then to Ulithi which she reached on 6 April. She discharged cargo and troops at both ports. At Ulithi, she embarked a group of Marines; and, on the 15th, the ship headed for Guam, arriving at Apra Harbor the following day. After embarking another group of Marines on the 20th, the ship continued on to Saipan, arriving the next day. On the 23d, she embarked a group of Army troops; and, four days later, the ship sailed in convoy for Okinawa.

Sherburne arrived off Okinawa late in the afternoon of 1 May and immediately began debarkation of troops and cargo. Operations were delayed by bad weather and air attacks; but, on the morning of the 4th, the ship completed offloading and got underway to return to Ulithi, arriving at that base on the 9th. Sailing the next day, she moored at San Francisco on 24 May. There she embarked troops; and, on 2 June, again sailed for the forward area, this time to the Philippines. She refueled at Eniwetok and Ulithi, and arrived at Manila on the morning of the 23d. On 4 July, she loaded Army troops for Cebu and delivered them there two days later. She then proceeded via Leyte to Biak, where she arrived on the 11th. There she loaded Army troops and sailed for Zamboanga, where she disembarked some of her troops on the 17th. Arriving at Manila two days later, she put the rest of her troops and cargo ashore and shifted to Subic Bay on 25 July for minor repairs and upkeep.

On 4 August 1945, Sherburne sailed for Lucena in Tayabas Bay, Luzon, for amphibious training of Army troops. This duty was abruptly terminated at mid-month by the Japanese capitulation. The ship immediately returned via Manila to Batangas Bay to load troops of the 1st Cavalry Division and the 11th Airborne Division for the occupation of the Tokyo region. Loading was completed on 24 August; and, on the following day, the ship was underway in convoy for Yokohama, Japan. The convoy entered Tokyo Bay early on the morning of 2 September and proceeded up the bay. Sherburne passed Missouri at approximately the time of the reading of the surrender document on board that battleship. As the transport dropped anchor off the Yokohama breakwater, her radio receiver was announcing the final signature of the document. Debarkation of troops was completed in the afternoon; and, on the following day, the ship moored alongside a Yokohama pier to discharge cargo. Unloading was completed that evening; and, on the 4th, the ship was under way to return to Zamboanga for another contingent of occupation troops.

On 11 September, Sherburne put into Leyte for fuel and supplies; then continued to Zamboanga, arriving on the 16th. Loading of troops and cargo of the 41st Infantry Division was completed on the 19th. After picking up more troops and boats at Bugo, Mindanao, the ship sailed from Abuyog, Leyte, on the 22d for Kure, Japan. On the 23d, the convoy was diverted to Okinawa because of a delay in preparations at its destination; and the ship anchored in Buckner Bay, Okinawa, the same day. She was forced to sea from 28 September to 1 October to evade a typhoon; and, on the 2d, got underway for Japan. The ship entered Bungo Suido early on 5 October; and, after cautiously passing through a succession of mined areas in the Inland Sea, reached Hiro Wan the next day. Debarkation of troops and cargo began immediately and was completed on the 8th.

Sherburne was next scheduled for duty in Operation "Magic Carpet" to return servicemen to the United States; but she was diverted to Okinawa where, from 12 October to 14 November, she served as accommodation ship for a total of over 1,400 survivors of mine vessels and other craft wrecked there in a recent typhoon. On 28 November, the transport arrived at Seattle with a group of homeward-bound servicemen from Okinawa. After a month of repairs, she sailed on 28 December for Okinawa where, after embarking more troops between 15 and 21 January, she delivered them at San Francisco on 5 February. Sherburne was decommissioned on 3 August 1946; and, after a decade in reserve in Navy custody, was transferred to the Maritime Administration at SuisunBay, Calif., on 9 September 1958. She was struck from the Navy list on 1 October 1958.

Over 20 years after her decommissioning, Sherburne was called back to active duty to support the Navy's Polaris and Poseidon fleet ballistic missile flight test program. She was reclassified as a range tracking vessel, AGM-22, on 16 April 1969, and was reacquired from the Maritime Administration and reinstated on the Navy list on 22 October 1969. She began conversion at the Northwest Marine Ironworks, Portland, Oreg., on 28 October 1969, renamed Range Sentinel on 26 April 1971, and delivered to the Military Sealift Command on 21 October 1971 and placed in service, Sven Rydberg, master. Her conversion included the latest communications, navigation, and missile tracking and monitoring equipment. Range Sentinel continues in service into 1974 as a unit of the Military Sealift Command Special Projects Fleet, home ported at Port Canaveral, Fla.

Sherburne (APA-205) received one battle star for her World War II service.

Published: Wed Sep 09 12:23:19 EDT 2015