Guest Contributor:
Gerald Leslie
BM1/c (Boatswain Mate)
U.S.S. LST-522 1944/45

August 22, 1944 - Gerald on the hatch of the forward hole...The preliminary plans initially called for an LST 280 feet in length; but in January 1942, the Bureau of Ships discarded these drawings in favor of specifications for a ship 290 feet long. Within a month, final working plans were developed, which further stretched the overall length to 328 feet, and called for a 50-foot beam and minimum draft to three feet 9 1/2 inches. The LST could carry a 2,100-ton load of tanks and vehicles. The larger dimensions also permitted the designers to increase the width of the bow door opening and ramp from 12-14 feet, and thus accommodate most Allied vehicles.

The keel of the first LST was laid down on 10 June 1942 at Newport News, Virginia. The need for LST's was urgent, and the program enjoyed a high priority throughout the war. In some instances, heavy industry plants, such as steel fabrication yards, were converted for LST construction. This posed the problem of getting the completed ships from the inland building yards to deep water. The chief obstacles were the bridges. The Navy successfully undertook the modification of bridges, and through a "Ferry Command" of Navy crews, transported the newly constructed ships to coastal ports for fitting out.

LST loaded with LCI and ammunition in the Philippines...Of the 1,051 LST's built during World War II, 670 were constructed by five major inland builders. By 1943 the construction time for an LST had been reduced to four months.

From their combat debut in the Solomon's in June 1943 until the end of hostilities in August 1945, the LST performed a vital service. Throughout the war, LST's demonstrated a remarkable capacity to absorb punishment and survive. Although the enemy considered the LST a valuable target, only 26 were lost due to enemy action.

LST bringing back Japanese prisoners...LST-522 was laid down on 2 October 1943 at Seneca, Illinois, by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Company; launched on 11 February 1944; sponsored by Mrs. F. F. Loeb; and commissioned on 1 March 1944 with Lieutenant Orton P. Jackson, USNR, in command.

During World War II, LST-522 was assigned to the European theater and participated in the invasion of Normandy in June 1944. Following the war, LST-522 performed occupation duty in the Far East and China service until mid-May 1946. She was decommissioned at Subic Bay, Philippine Commonwealth on 6 June 1946. On 18 October 1947, the ship was purchased by T. Y. Fong and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 22 January 1948.

LST-522 earned one battle star for World War II service.


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