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Suisun (AVP-53)


A bay on the coast of the state of California.

(AVP-53: displacement 2,592; length 310'9"; beam 41'2"; draft 13'6"; speed 18.2 knots; complement 367; armament 1 5-inch, 8 40 millimeter, 6 20 millimeter; class Barnegat)

Suisun (AVP-53) was laid down on 4 October 1942 at Houghton, Wash., by the Lake Washington Shipyard.; launched on 14 March 1943; sponsored by Mrs. C. W. Martyr; and commissioned on 13 September 1944, Cmdr. James J. Vaughn in command.

After fitting out, Suisun steamed to San Diego, Calif., on 18 0ctober 1944, for her shakedown cruise which lasted until 21 November. She had a post-shakedown yard availability period and sailed for the Territory of Hawaii on 7 December. The ship arrived at Pearl Harbor on 14 December and sailed for Eniwetok, Marshall Islands, four days later. She remained there from 26 December 1944 to 1 January 1945 when she sailed to the Marianas. From there she went to Ulithi, Caroline Islands, for three days. On 13 January, Suisun got underway for Kossol Passage, Palau Islands, and operated there until 5 February when she returned to Ulithi. Three days later she sailed to the Marianas and operated there until mid-April.

Suisun sailed from Saipan on 20 April 1945 and anchored at Kerama Retto, Ryukyu Islands, on the 25th. She tended seaplanes until forced to proceed to Saipan for emergency aviation supplies during the period 15 to 26 June. The ship resumed her former operations at Kerama Retto until sailing for Japan on 16 August. The tender was in Tokyo Bay from 28 August until 16 November when she departed for the United States, via Pearl Harbor.

Suisun arrived at San Francisco on 9 December 1945 and was routed onward to the east coast. She steamed into Norfolk, Va., on 3 January 1946 and, after an overhaul, operated along the east coast until October. She was then homeported at Coco Solo, Canal Zone. Training cruises were made to Trinidad, Galapagos, Key West, and San Juan. Suisun transited the canal in early April 1947 and anchored at San Diego on the 9th. On 21 July she deployed to the Far East and operated between Guam, Okinawa, and Tsingtao until returning to San Diego on 19 January 1948.

Suisun remained on the west coast until 15 June 1948 when she began another Far East tour that lasted until 25 November 1948. From 19 January to 3 March 1949, the ship participated in Operation Micowex 49A. Ports of call were Seattle, Sitka, Kodiak, and Cold Bay, Alaska. She operated in Alaskan waters again from 6 July to 18 August when she returned to Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, Calif., for an overhaul that lasted into October. She then made a short cruise to Magdalena Bay, Mexico, and returned to San Diego on 4 December 1949.

On 26 April 1950, Suisun sailed to Whidbey Island, Wash., where she loaded the gear for Patrol Squadron (VP) 6 and ferried it to Barbers Point, T.H. She departed there on 12 May for Guam but was directed to Yap Island and arrived there on 28 May. The next day she steamed to Koror, Palau Islands, and thence to Sangley Point, P.I. Next, she called at Saipan and Guam, before returning to Sangley Point on 2 July. The next day she sailed for Buckner Bay, Okinawa. The tender arrived there on 5 July. She serviced and fueled aircraft of VP 46 until 16 July when the planes flew, and the ship sailed, to the Pescadores Islands to begin operations from that base. From 17 July to 20 October, Suisun and the squadron were assigned to the Seventh Fleet.

Suisun spent 10 days in Hong Kong for a leave and upkeep period and sailed for the United States on 2 November 1950, via Okinawa and Pearl Harbor. She arrived at Whidbey Island on 27 November and moved to San Diego on 1 December. She deployed to the Far East again from 12 February to 6 August 1951 and from 26 November 1951 to 25 May 1952. The tender was deployed to the western Pacific for three more tours -- 23 September 1952 to 21 May 1953; 18 September 1953 to 17 March 1954; and from 2 July to 23 November 1954 -- before she was inactivated.  On 2 March 1955, she reported to the Pacific Reserve Fleet for inactivation.

Suisun was placed in commission, in reserve, on 10 May 1955, and out of commission, in reserve, on 5 August 1955. She was stricken from the Navy List on 1 April 1966 and sunk as a target in October of that year.

Suisun received two battle stars for World War II service and two for service in the Korean conflict.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

5 March 2024

Published: Tue Mar 05 19:53:06 EST 2024