White River

Rivers in Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, and Washington.

(LSMR-536: dp. 1,084 (f.), l. 206'3", b. 34'6" dr. 6'8", s. 12.6 k. (tl.), cpl. 138, a. 1 5", 4 4.2" M.,

10 rk. ln., 4 40mm.; cl. LSMR-501 )

LSMR-536 was laid down on 9 June 1945 at Houston Tex., by the Brown Shipbuliding Co., launched on 14 July 1945, and commissioned on 28 November 1945, Lt. John M. Cates, USNR, in command.

Departing Houston on 3 December, LSMR-536 made a three-day stop at Galveston before continuing on to Charleston, S.C., where she completed outfitting. She stood out of Charleston on 8 January 1946 to conduct shakedown training at Little Creek, Va. After about a month of training, she headed south to Florida on 7 February, arriving m Green Cove Springs on 10 February. There, she was placed in commission, in reserve, until 31 July at which time she was placed out of commission and was berthed at Green Cove Springs with the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.

Just over four years later, on 16 September 1950, the warship was recommissioned, Lt. Henry O. Bergkamp USNR, in command. She completed outfitting at Savannah, Gal, and, on 20 November, got underway for shakedown training at Little Creek once again. She completed that evolution and departed the Chesapeake Bay area on 1 March 1951 for duty with the Pacific Fleet. She transited the Panama Canal on 14 March and arrived in San Diego, Calif., 10 days later. There, she became a unit of LSMR Division 3 and spent the next 14 months practicing her amphibious support role at San Clemente Island.

On 12 May 1952, she departed San Diego in company with LSMR-527 and three large landing support ships.

The formation steamed by way of Pearl Harbor and Midway and arrived in Yokosuka, Japan, on 19 June. Later, she moved to Sasebo to prepare for her first cruise in the combat zone off the Korean coast. She embarked upon that cruise in mid-July and arrived off Cho Do, an island off the western coast of Korea in the southern portion of the Korea Bay, on the 16th. She patrolled on station at that location until 15 August when she headed back to Japan.

After visits to Sasebo and Yokosuka, she conducted landing exercises at Chigasaki late in September. She returned to Yokosuka and Sasebo, between which ports she made runs during October and most of November. On 27 November, the ship departed Sasebo to return to station in the vicinity of Cho Do. That assignment, consisting mostly of night illumination fire, lasted until mid-December when she headed back to Japan. LSMR-586 remained at Sasebo from 19 December 1952 until 18 January 1953. She returned briefly to Cho Do on 20 January and then began patrolling Taenchong Do, Paenguyong Do, and Kirin Do in addition.

She returned to Yokosuka on 13 February and re- mained there until the 24th when she got underway to return home. Steaming by way of Midway and Pearl Harbor, the warship arrived in San Diego on 24 March. Following training operations at San Clemente Island, she moved to the San Francisco-Vallejo area for overhaul at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard. All told, she remained on the west coast 11 months, departing from San Diego to return to the western Pacific on 10 February 1954.

After stops at Pearl Harbor and Midway, LSMR- 536 arrived in Yokosuka on 11 March. Though the ship returned to the Korean coast periodically during her second tour of duty with the 7th Fleet, combat operations played no part in her activities, because hostilities had been effectively ended by the armistice of 19 July 1953. She concluded her first peacetime deployment to the Far East when she reentered San Diego on 7 November 1954. She spent the year 1955 engaged in operations out of San Diego, primarily amphibious training maneuvers at San Clemente Island. On 1 October 1955, she was named White River.

Early in 1956, the ship deployed briefly to the western Pacific. She departed San Diego on 4 January 1956 and arrived in Yokosuka on 6 February. She participated in a large-scale amphibious maneuver at Iwo Jima later that month and then returned briefly to Yokosuka before heading home on 3 March. White River arrived back in San Diego on 31 March and resumed local operations. On 7 September 1956, she was decommissioned and berthed with the San Diego Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet.

In June of 1965, White River was moved from San Diego to the Long Beach Naval Shipyard where she underwent extensive modifications in preparation for her return to active service. On 2 October 1965, she was recommissioned, Lt. William C. Carlson in command She departed Long Beach on 30 October and headed for San Diego whence she conducted shakedown training and shore bombardment drills. On 8 February 1966, she departed San Diego to rejoin the 7th Fleet in the Far East for the first time in a decade. She and her division stopped in the Hawaiian Islands for about two weeks during which they conducted additional shore bombardment drills at Kahoolawe Island before resuming their voyage west on 1 March. She stopped at Midway Island on 5 March and entered Yokosuka 10 days later. Training and port visits in Japan occupied her next eight weeks. On 9 May, she departed Yokosuka, bound for the coast of Vietnam by way of Subic Bay in the Philippines.

She arrived off the I Corps zone of operations on 25 May and immediately began gunfire support missions for Operation "Mobile." Two days later, she concluded her support of "Mobile" and shifted to support for the South Vietnamese Army's 2d Division operating near Quang Ngai. She continued to support that unit intermittently for the next two months, interrupting this duty only to provide gunfire and rockets for three other operations: "Oakland"; "Deckhouse III," an amphibious landing, and "Franklin." At the conclusion of the latter operation, she headed-via Subic Bay and Hong Kong -for Yokosuka where she remained until 16 September.

After another stop at Subic Bay, she returned to the Vietnamese coast at the end of September to continue gunfire support for the troops ashore. During the next two months, she provided call fire in the northern portion of the II Corps operational zone. On 80 November, she terminated her second tour of duty in Vietnamese waters and headed, via Okinawa, to Yokosuka where she spent the remainder of the year in upkeep.

White River departed Japan once more on 23 January. Again, she stopped at Subic Bay, first to load ammunition and then to complete some maintenance work. She returned to the coast of the I Corps tactical zone on 9 February and began delivering gunfire for marines ashore engaged in Operation "Desoto." She concluded that assignment on 11 February, refuelled in Danang, and got underway to support Operation "Deckhouse VI," an amphibious operation which was conducted by the Special Landing Force near Sa Huyen in the southern reaches of the I Corps tactical zone as an extension of the "Desoto" operation which had been temporarily halted during the Tet holidays. She finished her part in the "Desoto-Deckhouse VI" operation on 23 February and headed for Subic Bay where she rearmed and conducted upkeep from 24 February to 2 March. White River returned to the Vietnamese coast on 13 March and resumed shore bombardment duties in support of Operation "Beacon Hill," a combined helicopter- and waterborne-amphibious assault conducted near Dong Ha. On 23 March, she was released from the "Beacon Hill" operation to rearm at Camranh Bay whence she proceeded to the III Corps tactical zone to provide gunfire support for operations near Rung Sat.

On 2 April, she was relieved by Carronade (IFS-1) and headed toward Yokosuka where she arrived on 17 April after a four-day stop at Keelung, Taiwan. She made necessary repairs at Yokosuka and then headed back to Vietnam on 29 May. Following ammunition replenishment at Subic Bay, the warship arrived off the I Corps tactical zone on 11 June and conducted shore bombardments there and in the II Corps zone until 21 July when she departed Vietnamese waters to return to Subic Bay for upkeep. White River arrived back off the Vietnamese coast at the beginning of August and stayed there until 23 August. The ship made a voyage to Yokosuka at the end of the month, arriving there on 8 September and remaining until 16 October for repairs. She began her last 1967 tour of duty off the Vietnamese coast on 31 October. It lasted until 27 December and consisted almost entirely of gunfire support for forces operating in the II Corps tactical zone. At its conclusion, she returned to Subic Bay for upkeep.

During 1968, White River continued to operate out of her home port, Yokosuka, and made four deployments to the war zone off Vietnam to render gunfire support for American and South Vietnamese troops operating in that strife-torn republic. In 1969, she served no time in the war zone. Apparently, she participated in maneuvers at Buckner Bay, Okinawa, and made repairs. On 22 May 1970, White River was decommissioned at Yokosuka after a highly unfavorable inspection and survey. Her name was struck from the Navy list concurrently, and she was sold in November 1970 to the Nissho-Iwai American Corp. of New York City for scrapping.

White River was awarded two battle stars for her service in the Korean War and seven for her duty during the Vietnam conflict.