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LST 598

   During WW II, LST-598 was assigned to the Asiatic Pacific theater and participated in the "Gunto" assault and occupation of Okinawa in April and May 1945.  According to an LST 598 crewmember, the ship left Ulithi for Okinawa on March 27, 1945 and hit the Okinawa beach on April 1st, which was Easter Sunday and April Fool's Day.  When the first kamikaze attacked the ship, the twin 40MM's shot it and it crashed into their sister ship LST 599 causing extensive fire damage.  On April 11th, LST 598 left Okinawa on a return voyage to Saipan.

   79th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) A, C and D Companies plus a portion of Headquarters Company prepared to be transported from Saipan to Okinawa, some on board LST-598.

BULLET.GIF (1053 bytes)Tuesday, April 17, 1945, LST 598 upon return from Okinawa let go the anchor and entered Saipan harbor, berthed in anchorage L-101, 14 fathoms deep with LST 599 moored along starboard side with all lines over, doubled up and secured.
BULLET.GIF (1053 bytes)Wednesday, April 18, LST 598 anchored at Saipan in anchorage Love 1-01 with LST 599 moored to the port side.  At 1600, sounded special sea detail and underway, anchored in outer harbor.  Underway to Pier Charlie 4; moored with LST 736 on port side and LST 774 on starboard side.  Portions of the 79th NCB were also transported from Saipan to Okinawan aboard LST 736.
BULLET.GIF (1053 bytes)Thursday, April 19, beached at Charlie 4 inner harbor, Saipan, LST 736 along portside, LST 774 along starboard side.  At 0000-0400 (midnight - 4:00 a.m.), ship was being loaded with miscellaneous equipment belonging to the 79th CB Btn.  At 0515 (5:15 a.m.), a partial compliment of the 79th CB Btn. consisting of 9 officers and 238 enlisted men reported aboard LST 598 for passage to Okinawa Shima.  Loading operations continued until 1600 (4:00 p.m.).
BULLET.GIF (1053 bytes)Friday, April 20, at 1302 (1:02 p.m.), LST 598 was underway to anchorage in outer harbor where it anchored in berth Love 101 in 18 fathoms of water with 60 fathoms of chain out.  At 1845 (6:45 p.m.), LST 598 anchored at Mike #35 in 25 fathoms of water, 90 fathoms of chain out
BULLET.GIF (1053 bytes)Monday, April 23, preparations were completed for getting underway and special sea detail was sounded.  LST 598 was underway at 0606 (6:06 a.m.) to rendezvous with convoy.  Steamed at standard speed 240 RPM in column.  CTU Commander LST Group 62 (USS LST 641, Flagship), Task Unit 51.29.13.  Another 8 officers and 243 enlisted men of the 79th Battalion Seabees also departed Saipan on April 23 aboard LST 785 in this same Task Unit 51.29.13.
BULLET.GIF (1053 bytes)Friday, April 27, while enroute, LST 598 encountered a Japanese submarine on their convoy of 13 LST's, 5 LSMs and 2 Destroyer escorts.  At 0830, (8:30 a.m.), APD 100 opened fire on submarine periscope bearing 070 relative 500 yards from LST 598.  Emergency turns executed, General Quarters sounded.  Continual emergency turns were executed until 1450 (2:50 p.m.).
          One LST 598 crewmember recalls, "I was the ship's cook and left the galley to get some cool air.  As I looked down in the ocean about 30 feet away, I spotted a periscope.  I ran past the scuttlebutt yelling "Sub, Sub, Submarine", the gunners manned their posts and fired into the water, but the Sub was so close they couldn't get the guns low enough, then the Sub submerged.  A Destroyer escort came alongside and dropped a depth charge.  I thought they blew a hole in our ship.  We zig zag zig zig and zig zagged until we saw oil and a stream of water in the air.  It was sunk buy one of the escorts."   Another LST 598 crewmember recalls spotting the Submarine as he was up in the crowsnest on watch and reported it down to the Duty Officer and that he also remembers it to be about 20 to 30 yard to our starboard side to the east.  Both confirm that a Destroyer circling the area sunk the Sub with depth charges.
          One 79th Headquarters Company Seabee on board LST 598 also recalls, "As I remember when I saw the periscope it was about 20 or 30 yards off our starboard side and near the stern, not forward.  God was with us that day.  I can still see the Destroyer circling and dropping the charges.  What most of us were afraid of is that when the gunners fired at the periscope and would miss, that those shells were skipping across the water and would hit the ships to our starboard and hit the drums of fuel strapped to the upper deck.  Also, those ships where then firing back at the same scope and we could be hit also.  But, that was the chance you had to take to protect yourself perhaps from a torpedo or a floating mine.  Luckily we are still here to tell about the incident."
BULLET.GIF (1053 bytes)Sunday, April 29, LST 598 anchored in Kinmu Wan Harbor in 15 fathoms of water with 60 fathoms of chain out in berth Fox 45.  The body of water to the East side of Okinawa was the landing site of this first group of the 79th and was known to them as Kimmu Wan Cove. The Cove may have been a site in the Kimmu Wan Bay.  Prior to their landing, the clearing of the approaches to Kimmu Wan and Nakagusuku Wan had begun on April 4 and, by April 6, the minesweeper Buoyant had entered the harbor to sweep for mines. On the evening of April 6, Japanese aircraft launched a massive attack on ships all along the eastern shore.
BULLET.GIF (1053 bytes)Monday, April 30, between 0000-0400 (12:00 a.m. - 4:00 a.m.) anchored in berth F-38 in Kinmuwan Harbor, Okinawa Shima.  General Quarters was sounded several times.  In the official 79th Battalion Seabees' photo taken during the "Gun To" invasion of Okinawa, LST-598 is one of three LSTs being unloaded on the Okinawa beach in April 1945, which also included LST 736 and 785.  At 0642, (6:42 a.m.), weighed anchor and proceeded at various courses and speeds to Red Buoy Beach.  Anchored at Red Buoy Beach where it damaged both bow doors and the bow ramp.   At 0751, LST 598 retreated from beach and proceeded at various speeds and courses to make another beaching.  Beached at 0930 (9:30 a.m.)  Red Buoy Beach.  At 1005, started unloading cargo.  At 1730 (5:00 p.m.), the 79th CB Battalion disembarked from the ship.

    After Okinawa, LST-598 saw service in the Far East and in China until June 1946 and was decommissioned on June 10, 1946.

   Any information on the voyage from Saipan and participation of LST-598 in the "Gunto" invasion of Okinawa during World War II will be greatly appreciated. Please contact:

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  • LST 598 Deck Logs

  • Information provided by an LST 598 Gunner and 79th Battalion Seabee veterans who were on board during this transport.