LST 736

   During WW II, LSTs 736, 598 and 895 were assigned to the Asiatic Pacific theater and participated in the "Gunto" assault and occupation of Okinawa in April and May 1945.  LST 736 is one of the three ships visible in the 79th Battn. photo of the landing at Okinawa in WWII.

   Activated by the Navy to build LSTs,  LST-736 was built by Dravo Pittsburgh, a small pre-war shipbuilder in continuous operation since 1919.  The Keel was laid for LST 736 on February 2, 1944, the ship launched on March 18, 1944 and commissioned May 2, 1944.  After the war, Dravo was a ship scrapping facility for a few years and then returned to building inland river barges and towboats.

   The Deck Logs for LSTs 598 and 785 have each provided a specific muster list of   names of specific 79th personnel on those ships from Saipan to Okinawa, which is less than half of the total Battalion.  The Deck Logs for LST 736 are specific, however,  they do not provide a listing of passengers.  According to 79th veterans, all three of these LST's, including LST 736, transported the 79th Battalion to Okinawa in April 1945 except for the "mop up" crew that was left behind to close up and left for Okinawa approximately May 7th. 

    79th veterans specifically confirm there were approximately 200 personnel of the 79th Battn. on board LST 736, including Battalion photographer Ed McDermott, who took photos onboard LST 736 of the storage/equipment on the deck, men sleeping on the deck and the Battalion 20MM Gun Crew while enroute to Okinawa - April 1945.  There is one entry that does tend to further imply that Seabee personnel were indeed on board this LST.  At 1230 (noontime) on Saturday, April 21, LCVP #1 shoved off with a mail clerk and returned with CB mail.  An orderly was sent to deliver the mail.

    On April 4, 1945, LST 736 had been damaged during the beaching in the initial echelon at Okinawa but was able to return to Saipan to load the second echelon (the 79th Battn. was in the second).

BULLET.GIF (1053 bytes)Tuesday, April 17, 1945:   "1200-1600 (12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.) Underway as before at 10 knots, 260 rpms on base course 110 degrees.  1258, changed to base course 125 degrees, changed to 175 degrees.  1438, changed to 135 degrees.  1533, set special sea detail - proceeding to anchorage love 89 at Saipan.  Ensign Parks relieved the deck.
     1600 - 1800 (4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.):  Underway as before to anchorage love 89, Saipan, 1631, let go bow anchor.  35 fathoms of chain to water's edge.  Secured special sea detail.  In port watch set.  1745, LT(jg) Bugg relieved the deck.
      1800 - 2000:  Relieved Lt(jg) Bugg, Anchored as before.  berth L-789.  Garapan anchorage, Saipan, bow anchor out 35 fathoms chain to water's edge.  1745, LCVP #1 left ship - 1815, LCVP #1 returned.  1945 Lt(jg) Green relieved the watch.

BULLET.GIF (1053 bytes)Wednesday, April 18:   Underway from Garpan anchorage to Tarapanig harbor, Saipan.  Various changes in course and speed for safe navigation  1640, entered Tarapaig.  Harbor pilot came aboard.  1625, YTL 426 tied to port side to assist ship into dock.  1740, 4 bow lines passed over and secured to dock.  1745, Let go stern anchor, 200 feet of cable out to water's edge.  1746, bow doors opened.   1800, Lt Hoppe relieved the deck.
     1800 - 2000:  At special sea detail.  1856, received lines from LST 598.   1917, LST 598 moored securely.    1947, secured special sea detail.   1950, Ensign Parks relieved the deck
     2000 - 2400:  Secure special sea detail.   2015, moored to dock, Tanapanig Harbor, Saipan.  By port and starboard cables, stern anchor out 200 feet of cable to water's edge.  LST 598 moored to starboard side.   Port engine secured, starboard engine ahead 1/3 to maintain position, heading 172 degrees T. Condition III watch set.  Loading supplies; preparations being made to load cargo.   2345, Ensign Robinson relieved the deck.

BULLET.GIF (1053 bytes)Thursday, 19 April:  0400 - 0800:  Tied up to dock as before Tanapaig Harbor, Saipan, port cable out to dock, starboard cables secured to LST 598.  Starboard engine ahead 1/3.  Gyro compass heading 172 degrees T.   0445, starboard engine stop.   0453, main engines secured.   0745, Lt(jg) Bugg relieved the deck.
     0800 - 1200:  Relieved Lt(jg) Bugg.  Tied up to dock as before.  LST 598 moored to starboard side, main engines secured - loading continues.   0805, commanding officer left ship.   0910, commanding officer returned aboard.   0932, started refueling LCVP of LST 598.    0947, refueling of 598 LCVP completed.   1145, watch relieved by Lt(jg) F.E. Green.
     1200 - 1600:  Tied up to dock Tanapaig Harbor, Saipan, port cables out to bollards, starboard lines to LST 598.  Stern anchor out 200 feet cable out.  Cables from port quarter to buoy.  Main engines secured    1410, generators #1 & #2 out of use - water in fuel.   1415, generator #3 in use.   1430, generators #1 & #2 in use, heading continuing as before.   1545 Lt(jg) Dwyer relieved the deck.
     2900 - 2400  Loading continuing.

BULLET.GIF (1053 bytes)Friday, 20 April:  0000 - 0400  Tied up to dock as before.  Tanapag Harbor, Saipan by port and starboard cables and lines, stern anchor out 200 feet of cable.  LST 598 moored to starboard side.  Main engine secured.  Loading continues.
     0400 - 0800:  Tied up as before.  0535, Main engines started.  0545, Lt(jg) Green relieved Lt(jg) Dwyer as O.O.D. (Officer of the deck).   0625, pilot aboard, set special sea detail.   0640, Rummel B., Bkr2c, USN aboard, under guard, man confined in brig, under orders of the Commanding Officer.    0654, All lines clear.  0700, retracting from dock with aid of tug, Pilot left ship at 0703, retracted from dock, underway to fuel ship from oiler, YO 195, underway proceeding to assigned anchorage.  1055, hoisted LCVP #2.   1145, deck relieved by Ensign Parks.

BULLET.GIF (1053 bytes)Saturday, 21 April:  1200 - 1600:  Anchored as before.  1230, LCVP #1 shoved off with mail clerk, Lt. Hoppe, Lt(jg) Gehr.  1340, LCVP #1 returned with CB mail orderly was sent to deliver mail.  LCVP #1 returned to ship.  1500, LCVP #1 send to LST 344 with Radar Technician.  1545, Ensign Parks relieved the deck.
    0200 - 2400:  Underway at various speeds to anchorage mike 31.   2048, let go bow anchor.  2110, bow anchor housed.   3254, let go bow anchor.   2220, secured bow anchor and special sea detail, anchored in berth m-31, 80 fathoms of chain to water's edge.   2345, Ensign Parks relieved the deck.

BULLET.GIF (1053 bytes)Monday, 23 April:  0400 - 0800 (4:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.):  Anchored as before.   0500, started main engines.  Reveille for all hands.   0520, sounded special sea detail.   0535, anchor aweigh, underway to form convoy.   0540 bow anchored housed and secured.   0545, secured special sea detail, set condition III section III has the watch.   0610, Various course and speed changes for safe navigation in joining convoy.   0643, set 220 rpms for standard speed.   0648, joined convoy in assigned position, 12.   0040 Ensign Parks relieved the deck.   Proceeding on base course 000 degrees T at 1/3 speed."

     Note:  during the next six days, LST 736 zig-zagged, continually changing speed and course.

BULLET.GIF (1053 bytes)Sunday, 20 April:    0800 - 1200:  Underway as before on base course 015 degrees T at standara speed with 245 rmps set for standard.    0751, changed course to 275 degrees T.    0759, flash white, secured from general quarters.    0805, formed cruising disposition II.   0846, changed course to 238 degrees T.   0900 , sounded special sea detail.   0903, changed course to 263 degrees T.   0911, changed verth assignment.   0948, let go bow anchor.   1015, secured main engines & special sea detail.  Set condition III section I has the watch.  Anchored Chimu Wan Harbor, Okinawa, in berth F-35 bow anchor out with 45 fathoms of chain to water's edge.

BULLET.GIF (1053 bytes)Monday, 30 April:  0000 - 0400  Anchored as before, Kinmu Wan, Okinawa in berth Fox 35, bow anchor out with 45 fathoms of chain to water's edge.   0050, flash red control yellow - commended making smoke.   0115, flash white, stopped making smoke.   0210, flash red, control yellow.  Began making smoke.   2350, General quarters.    0310, secured from general quarters.  Ensign Parks relieved the deck.   0645, bow anchor housed, underway from anchorage proceeding to beach. 0840, LST 598 beached on port side.   0920, LST 785 beached on starboard side.
     1200 - 1600:  Beached as before in Okinawa, Chinmu Wan Harbot.  All engines ahead 2/3, gyro compass heading 248 degrees T.  1317, all engines stopped, engines put on standby condition.  1600 -1800 Unloading continuing.  
     2000 -p 2400:  Beached as before, all engines ahead standard, heading 247 degrees T.   2210, went to general quarters, flash red, control green make smoke.   2309, secured from general quarters, flash white, control green, smoke stopped by LST 598.  We did not make smoke due to strong wind rendering it ineffective.   2345 loading continuing [note, believe watch meant to say unloading continuing.

BULLET.GIF (1053 bytes)Tuesday, 1 May:  0000 - 1400:  Beached as before in Chimu Wan Harbor, Okinawa.   Stern anchor out.   Gyro compass heading 247 degrees T.  LST 785 beached on starboard side and LST 598 beached to port.  Unloading proceeding.

     During the following week, General Quarters was sounded and smoke screens made several times.  The highest state of readiness, "General Quarters" is a Navy term indicating a condition of readiness when naval action is imminent. All battle stations are fully manned and alert; ammunition ready for instant loading; guns may be loaded.

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    In addition to the Okinawa assault, LST 736 saw service at the southern Palau Islands, Leyte landings, and Subic Bay.  After the war's end, she saw occupation duty in the Far East until March 1946.  Upon return to the United States, the ship was decommissioned on June 20, 1946 and struck from the Navy list.  On May 29, 1948, the ship was sold to the Bethlehem Steel Company of Bethlehem, PA  and subsequently scrapped.  LST-736 earned four battle stars for her World War II service.

    Any information on the voyage from Saipan and participation of LST 736 in the "Gunto" invasion of Okinawa during World War II will be greatly appreciated. Please contact:

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Email:  JWinter588@aol.com

References:

  • LST 736 Deck Logs

  • 79th Naval Construction Battalion Seabee veterans