From: Dictionary of American Fighting Ships

John Land

A Maritime Commission name retained.

(AP - 167: dp. 6,556; l. 459'2"; b. 63'; dr. 23'; s. 17 k.; cpl. 276; a. 1 5"; 4 3", 12 20mm.; cl. La Salle; T. C2-S-B1)

John Land (AP-167) was launched under Maritime Commission contract by Moore Dry Dock Co., Oakland, Calif., 22 January 1943; sponsored by Miss Mary K. Tyler; delivered in August 1943 for conversion at United Engineering Co., San Francisco; accepted by the Navy and simultaneously commissioned at San Francisco 8 April 1944, Captain F. A. Graf in command.

One of the many Maritime Commission ships used by the Navy under Bareboat Charter in World War II, John Land departed San Francisco 25 April with marines and sailors for the Pacific campaigns, arriving 2 May at Pearl Harbor for rehearsals preliminary to the invasion of the Marianas. She sailed for Eniwetok, the staging base, with Admiral Turner's Northern Force, arriving 8 June 1944. John Land was off Saipan early on D-day, 15 June, and conducted a feint landing off Garapan. Then, as the main landing progressed, the ship remained in the transport area, ready to land her troops as reinforcements. After debarking 16 and 17 June, John Land steamed off the island until returning to unload supplies 23 June. In the next 2 days, she received many casualties and departed for Eniwetok 26 June. The ship arrived 30 June, transferred the wounded to hospitals, and returned to Saipan 19 July to embark troops for the Tinian invasion, the next objective of Kelly Turner's amphibious team. John Land brought troops to Tinian from nearby Saipan 24 June to take part in another diversionary landing, this time off the town of Tinian; then, after re-embarking her landing units, John Land moved to the main landing area, after which she spent 2 days at Saipan embarking casualties.

John Land returned to Eniwetok 1 August, but 2 days later was underway for the Solomons and rehearsals leading up to the Palau landings. Her task group sortied from Guadalcanal 8 September, arriving off Peleliu 15 September and discharging troops. For the next week, the ship spent days in the transport area and nights in retirement off the island, as marines struggled to capture the strategic airfield needed for the coming assault on the Philippines. After loading casualties 22 September, John Land steamed to Humboldt Bay 25 September to prepare for the next giant step en route to Japan.

For the Leyte landings the transport was assigned to Admiral Barbey's Palo Attack Group; and, after practice landings in early October, John Land sailed 13 October. She was honored to carry President Osmena of the Philippines and his Cabinet, returning them to their homeland after almost 3 years of exile during the Japanese occupation. The transport entered Leyte Gulf 20 October, anchored in the transport area, and smoothly debarked her troops. At 1320, General MacArthur's boat came alongside for President Osmena and his party, carrying them to the beaches for their historic radio broadcast to the Philippine people. That afternoon John Land transferred her distinguished guests to Blue Ridge and departed for Hollandia, where she arrived 25 October. As she was anchoring, the guns of ships and planes were blazing in the final phase of the giant Battle for Leyte Gulf, spelling a virtual end to Japanese sea power.

After helping to repel an air attack 13 November, John Land returned on the 14th bringing reinforcements. The ship then sailed to Manus in preparation for the Luzon landings. Again assigned to Admiral Barbey's assault force, the ship took part in rehearsals in New Guinea before departing for Leyte 28 December. Rendezvousing with other units of the massive task force, she proceeded through the Philippines under almost constant air attack and arrived off the San Fabian beaches 9 January 1945. There, while fighting off further air attacks, she debarked her soldiers and returned next day to Leyte. Through the rest of January and early February, John Land brought troops from New Guinea to Leyte and Mindoro, as the Philippines campaign pressed onward. She departed for Ulithi 15 February, arriving 3 days later for sorely needed rest and replenishment.

The veteran transport sailed 5 March for Iwo Jima, then nearly secured; and, after her arrival 9 March, she loaded troops and cargo. Departing 27 March, she proceeded via Eniwetok to Pearl Harbor, where she debarked troops, and thence to San Francisco, where she arrived 22 April. After repairs, she took on troops and sailed again for the western Pacific, touching at various Pacific bases before arriving Manila 26 July to unload cargo and debark troops. John Land was en route back to Pearl Harbor when word came of the end of the war 15 August. She arrived 2 days later to take on occupation troops and sailed 7 September via Saipan for Wakayama, Japan. These troops were disembarked 27 September, and the ship was assigned new duties with Operation "Magic-Carpet," the giant task of returning the thousands of Pacific veterans to the United States. She arrived San Pedro with returnees 21 October, then sailed again 7 days later with Seabees and logistics personnel for the rebuilding of the Pacific Islands. Arriving Guam 12 November, she took on more veterans and arrived San Francisco 29 November.

John Land made three more "Magic-Carpet" voyages before arriving Seattle 5 July 1946. She decommissioned 5 August and was returned to the Maritime Commission next day. Originally sold to Waterman Steamship Co., the ship underwent various changes of name and ownership before being sold 23 May 1963 to Liberty Navigation & Trading Co., Inc., and renamed Norberto Capay.

John Land received five battle stars for World War 11 service.

Transcribed by Yves HUBERT (