| 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
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).
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: