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Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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(LSM(R)-508: dp. 1,084 (f.); 1. 206'3"; b. 24'6"; dr. 6'8" (max.); s. 12.6 k.; cpl. 138; a. 1 5", 4 40mm., 8 20mm., 4 4.2 M.; 10 rkt.; cl. LSM(R)-501)

LSM(R)-508 was originally projected as LSM-508. The landing craft was reclassified as LSM(R)-508 on February 1945 and laid down on 31 March 1945 at Houston, Tex., by the Brown Shipbuilding Co., Inc. Launched on 28 April 1945, LSM(R)-508 was commissioned at Houston on 25 June 1945, Lt. Harry E. Montgomery, USNR, in command.

LSM(R)-508 departed Houston on 30 June and arrived at Galveston, Tex., the same day to begin fitting out. She got underway again on 5 July and arrived at Charleston, S.C., five days later, to receive her rocket launchers and undergo alterations. The landing ship shifted to Little Creek, Va., on 31 July. During her shakedown, conducted from 1 to 15 August 1945, Japan capitulated, ending the war in the Pacific.

LSM(R)-508 operated out of Little Creek, off the Virginia Capes, and in the Caribbean, conducting training there out of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba-into 1946. Returning to Little Creek on 24 March, the landing ship participated in further local training operations into the summer.

After shifting to Baltimore, Md., in July, for repairs, LSM(R)-508 sailed for Houston in October, transited the Panama Canal on 30 November, and arrived at San Diego, Calif., soon thereafter, to prepare for inactivation. Decommissioned on 5 February 1947, LSM(R)-508 was placed in reserve at San Diego. She remained inactive for the next 22 years. During this time, she was named Gunnison River on 1 October 1955.

Apparently slated for disposal in late 1959, Gunnison River was reinstated on the Navy list early in 1960 and selected for conversion to a drone aircraft catapult control ship. Accordingly reclassified to YV-3 on 26 May 1960, Gunnison River was renamed Targeteer on 26 June 1960, with Lt. D. S. Chambers the first officer-in-charge. Placed "in service" in March 1961, Targeteer was commissioned on 7 April 1961, Lt. J. L. White in command.

Homeported at San Diego, Calif., from 1961 to 1968, Targeteer operated under the operational control of Commander, Fleet Training Group, receiving the necessary upkeep and repairs from Service Group 1. Her primary mission included the launch and recovery of radio-controlled drone aircraft and suface drone unit targets-maintained by Utility Unit 3-furnishing simulated "enemy" aircraft and high-speed surface craft for maneuvers and exercises. Dubbed "the world's smallest aircraft carrier," Targeteer provided these support services for the Pacific Fleet into 1968.

Decommissioned on 31 December 1968, Targeteer was struck from the Navy list on 1 January 1969. The former drone aircraft catapult control craft was subsequently sold to the American Ship Dismantling Co., of Portland, Oreg., on 10 December 1969 and scrapped soon thereafter.

Published: Fri Sep 25 09:45:09 EDT 2015