| 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.
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.
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.
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
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.).
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
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
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."
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.
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
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: