USS PIEDMONT (AD-17)
(AD-17) was laid down by the Tampa Ship Building Co., Inc.,
Tampa, Fla. 1 December 1941; launched 7 December 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Elsa
Kauffman; and commissioned 5 January 1944, Comdr. Malcolm D. MacGregor in
Early in February 1944 destroyer tender Piedmont stood out from Tampa, Fla. on
her shakedown cruise. On 6 March she sailed for the Panama Canal, San Diego,
and Pearl Harbor. Less than 24 hours after her arrival at Pearl Harbor, Piedmont had taken her first Pacific
Fleet destroyer alongside. Piedmont remained
at Pearl Harbor throughout the months of April and May during the feverish
preparations for the Marianas campaign. At one time, Piedmont had seven destroyers alongside and was working on jobs for
more than 50 other destroyers moored in the stream.
Having served her apprenticeship, Piedmont sailed from Pearl Harbor to
join the fleet in the Marshall Islands in mid-June. July and August were months
of great fleet activity at Eniwetok. Periodically, task groups from the huge
Task Force 58, which was supporting the Marianas campaign, returned to Eniwetok
for rest, replenishment, and repairs. Unlike her duty at Pearl Harbor, all jobs
were now a race against the calendar and, in addition, shore facilities were no
longer available. During the month of July, 99 ships were provisioned with 888
tons of stores. The month of August turned out much the same with ships
returning from the invasion of Guam.
In September 1944, with the Central
Pacific campaign virtually completed, Piedmont
sailed into the Southwest Pacific with the rest of the fleet in preparation
for the Philippines campaign. By early December, damaged ships began returning
to Manus and Saufley (DD-465) and Killen (DD-593), both severely damaged
by Japanese suicide planes, were assigned to Piedmont for repairs.
On the morning of 10 November, while
anchored in Seeadler Harbor, Piedmont heard
two explosions to port. Mount Hood (AE-11),
lying about 3,500 yards away, had blown up. No trace of Mount Hood remained. Between Mount
Hood and Piedmont, Mindanao (ARG-3)
was anchored and took terrible punishment from the explosion. Fire and rescue
parties were immediately dispatched from Piedmont
to Mindanao and ships alongside
her. Though Piedmont suffered only
superficial damage from the explosion, numerous 5inch projectiles and steel
fragments flew over Mindanao and
landed on Piedmont's decks and
superstructure, most of them ricochetting off. One man suffered fatal injuries
from a direct hit by the base of a 5-inch shell. One 250 pound aerial bomb
penetrated the movie locker on the boat deck while another pierced the
forecastle and plowed through a tier of bunks. Fortunately neither bomb
exploded and remarkably enough, personnel in both compartments escaped injury.
Operations scheduled for early 1945
(Lingayen Gulf) demanded the presence of all available tender strength at
Ulithi in the Caroline Islands. Early in January Piedmont stood out of Manus Island for Ulithi with Service Squadron
10. January through April saw Piedmont in
her most sustained effort. Those same months which witnessed the seaborne
invasions of Lingayen, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, found the repair department
averaging more than 1,000 completed job orders and almost 100,000 man hours of
work each month.
During the long, bitter weeks of the
Iwo-Okinawa operations, the United States Fleet suffered more damage than at
any other time in it's history. Gansevoort
(DD-608), beached and abandoned after being hit by a suicide plane during
the Mindoro landings of November 1944, was patched, refloated, and towed to
Ulithi for temporary repairs by Piedmont which
would permit her return to the United States under her own power.
On 20 April McDermut (DD-677) made port with a 3 by 5 foot hole in her sheer
strake, port side, for repair by Piedmont.
Hale (DD-642), having suffered extensive damage to her port side bridge
structure during a collision with a carrier while refueling, came alongside 1
The most badly battered of the battle
damaged ships serviced by Piedmont at
Ulithi was Hazelwood (DD-531) which
came alongside 4 May. Her entire bridge superstructure was a mass of tangled
wreckage, a bomb explosion had blown a 15 by 15 foot hole in her starboard
side, main deck; her forward stack had been completely destroyed; extensive
bomb damage extended down to her second platform; and her interior and fleet
radio room had been destroyed. Numerous dead had still to be removed from the
wreckage. All repairs effected were temporary and on 24 May Hazelwood sailed for the United States
and a Navy Yard rebuilding.
With the cessation of all organized
resistance on Okinawa in June Piedmont moved
to the Naval Base at Leyte, Philippine Islands, for much needed rest and
repairs. However, her stay was short and on 30 June she sailed for Eniwetok
again. At Eniwetok, the repair department was occupied chiefly with the
construction and development of fleet recreation facilities ashore in
anticipation of the fleet turn-around which had been scheduled for late August.
The fleet did not return to Eniwetok for the anticipated August availability as
on 14 August the Japanese government accepted Allied peace terms.
On top of this electrifying news the ship
received orders to prepare for getting underway. Piedmont had been selected from the Pacific Fleet destroyer tenders
as the one to move into Tokyo Bay with the first naval units for occupation of
Japanese ships. On 16 August the ship departed Eniwetok to rendezvous with the
3rd Fleet at about one day's steaming from Japan. The long-awaited event took
place on 28 August when Piedmont dropped
her anchor in Sagami Wan, Honshu, Japan. Early on the 30th, she moved into
Tokyo Bay and on the following day moored to the dock at the Yokosuka Naval
While moored at Yokosuka, Piedmont supplied provisions and
clothing to the landing forces and to the hospital ships standing by to care
for released allied prisoners of war. Piedmont
remained in the Tokyo area supporting the occupation forces until sailing
for the United States, arriving at Alameda, Calif. 15 March 1946.
earned the Navy Occupation Service Medal, Pacific for the
periods from 2 September 1945 to 24 February 1946, from 11 June 1946 to 2
February 1947, and from 12 September 1948 to 15 September 1948. Piedmont also earned the China Service
Medal for the periods from February to 30 March 1947, from 2 March to 10 March
1948, and from 16 May to 30 May 1950.
When the Korean campaign began 27 June
1950, Piedmont was on station in
Japan carrying out her normal schedule providing tender services to ships of
the 7th Fleet where she remained until relieved in November. During the Korean
campaign Piedmont completed four
tours in the Western Pacific: 4 September 1950 to 27 October 1950; 1 August
1951 to 12 February 1952; 9 September 1952 to 9 March 1953 and 11 April 1954 to
27 July 1954; when she acted as flagship for Commander United Nations
Blockading and Escort Force and provided tender services to ships of Canada,
Colombia, New Zealand, South Korea and Thailand as well as those of the U.S.
In February 1956 she returned from a
six-month tour of duty in the Far East which included visits to the
Philippines, Hong Kong, Formosa, and Japan. In January 1957 Piedmont again departed CONUS for her
annual tour of duty in WestPac, visiting Subic Bay, Hong Kong, Singapore,
Sasebo, Kobe, and Yokosuka before returning again to San Diego in August 1957.
On 23 June 1958 Piedmont departed San Diego and steamed for Yokosuka via Pearl
Harbor, arriving there 12 July. When the Lebanon crisis in the Middle East
erupted, Piedmont steamed 15 July for
Subic Bay to stand ready and alerted to participate, if needed, in the Middle
On 28 August 1958 Piedmont steamed to Kaohsiung, Taiwan, to tend 7th Fleet units
engaged in convoy and patrol duty in the Taiwan Straits to prevent Communist
capture of the off-shore island of Quemoy. After returning to Yokosuka via Hong
Kong, Piedmont steamed for San Diego
12 January 1959.
Between 1960 and 1962 Piedmont made two more cruises to
WestPac. She received a Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization overhaul at Long
Beach, Calif., completed 31 January 1963. She again deployed to WestPac from
February to September 1963 and from June to December 1964. Three months of the
latter tour were spent at Subic Bay servicing destroyers and other 7th Fleet
ships serving in the Tonkin Gulf and off Vietnam.
During her 1968 WestPac tour Piedmont was still servicing ships in
Subic Bay, as well as Kaohsiung, Taiwan. As of 1969 she still serves with the
received four battle stars for Korean War service.
[Note: The above USS PIEDMONT (AD-17) history may, or may not, contain text provided by crew members of the USS PIEDMONT (AD-17), or by other non-crew members, and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]