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USS WHETSTONE (LSD-27) - a Casa Grande-class dock landing ship
In Commission 1946 to 1970
LSD-27 Deployments - Major Events
|Add a LSD-27 Shellback Initiation ||Add a LSD-27 Deployment - Major Event |
||Deployment / Event
||Keel Date: 7 APR 1945
||Launch Date: 18 JUL 1945
||Commissioned: 12 FEB 1946
||Shellback Initiation - 7 MAR 1962 - Pacific Ocean
||Cuban Missle Blockade
||West Pac-Viet Nam
||Decommissioned: 2 APR 1970
LSD-27 General Specifications
Complement: 17 Officers and 237 Enlisted
Displacement: 7930 tons
Length: 457 feet 9 inches
Beam: 72 feet 2 inches
Draft: 8 feet 2 in
Flank Speed: 17 knots
Final Disposition: Sold for scrap 17 February 1983
USS WHETSTONE (LSD-27)
Whetstone (LSD-27) was laid down on 7 April 1945 at the Boston Navy
Iaunched on 18 July 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Worthington S. Bitler
the wife of Capt. W. S. Bitler on duty at the Boston Navy Yard and commissioned
on 12 February 1946
Comdr. G. R. Keating in command.
Following the ship's shakedown
Whetstone underwent post-shakedown
availability at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard before heading for the Pacific.
Transiting the Panama Canal between 26 and 30 April 1946
the new dock landing
ship reached San Diego on 11 May.
For the next few months
Whetstone -- attached to Transport Division
Transport Squadron 1 -- operated in the waters of the Pacific Northwest
conducting intra-area lifts of boats and equipment between Kodiak
Seattle and San Francisco. In addition
called at Port Angeles
and San Diego during that time.
She subsequently departed San Francisco on 18 February 1947 bound for the
Far East. Reaching Shanghai
on 9 March
the LSD remained at that
Chinese port until the 22d
when she got underway to shift down the coast
to Hong Kong. Whetstone supported the American occupation and assistance
efforts in not only Chinese waters but Japanese as well
the ship touching
at Shanghai once more
as well as at Sasebo and Kobe
set course for the Palaus on 15 April 1947.
Whetstone returned to the waters off the Asian mainland
via Peleliu and Manus
the next time visiting the waters of North China
-- reaching Tsingtao China on 15 July. She subsequently departed that port
on the 22d
conducting voyages between Guam
and Iwo Jima before
setting course for Pearl Harbor via the Marshalls. After taking aboard a
pair of seaplane wrecking derricks
YSD-40 and YSD-62 at Kwajalein
Whetstone headed for Hawaii.
Reaching Pearl Harbor on 12 September
Whetstone remained there only
long enough to drop off the two self- propelled derricks and take aboard
a garbage lighter
before she was underway again; her destination:
San Diego. After delivering her charge
Whetstone operated off the
west coast of the United States into late 1948
frequenting the waters off
the coast of California. She participated in exercises and maneuvers off
the site of the Marine Corps base at Camp Pendleton.
She was soon to be a victim of the post-World War II reduction of military
strength. On 20 October 1948
Whetstone was decommissioned and placed
in reserve at San Diego.
Her sojourn in mothballs was a short one
for the North Korean assault
on South Korea
hurled across the 38th parallel on 25 June 1950
a drastic naval build-up. Many World War II-vintage men-of-war were taken
out of reserve and activated for service; some ships whose postwar careers
had been very short -- like Whetstone -- were also placed on active
Whetstone was recommissioned on 2 December 1950.
During the Korean conflict
Whetstone proved her worth in support
of UN operations in that war
conducting two deployments to Korean waters
-- first from April to November of 1951 and second from December of 1952
to the end of the hostilities in July 1953.
In the first deployment
she took part in a notable operation -- the recovery
of a Soviet-built MiG 15 fighter. On 9 July word was received in the upper
echelons that a MiG had been downed in the shoal waters off the mouth of
the Chongchon River. The initial plot proved inaccurate
from the British aircraft carrier HMS Glory sighted the MiG a few
33 miles north of the estuary of the Taedong River.
"Risky and navigationally difficult" to reach
the site lay less
than 10 minutes' flight time from enemy air bases. Nevertheless
to be run seemed acceptable -- especially in view of the fact that no MiG's
had thus been available for inspection to see what made them "tick."
Whetstone loaded a special crane-equipped utility craft ( LCU ) at
Inchon -- the port at which the LSD had arrived
12 June -- and sailed for Cho Do Island on the 19th of July. The multinational
effort proceeded apace despite the initial grounding of the LCU on a sand
by the evening of the 22d
had proceeded to a successful conclusion.
Whetstone's sistership Epping Forest (LSD-4) took the LCU
and its precious cargo aboard and sailed for Inchon.
Whetstone remained in Korean waters
operating out of Sasebo
September and returned again to those climes twice in November. She sailed
for the United States on 5 December and reached San Diego
Calif. via Wake
two days before Christmas of 1951.
The tank landing ship remained at San Diego undergoing post-deployment availability
until 5 February
when she shifted to Port Hueneme. She operated locally
in southern Californian waters -- touching at San Diego
San Pedro and Port Hueneme -- into the summer of 1952. Visiting Bangor
from 14 July to 7 October
Whetstone departed that port on
the latter day
bound for San Diego.
She lingered on the west coast until 1 December
when she set sail for the
western Pacific. Touching briefly at Pearl Harbor en route
on 22 December and spent Christmas in that
port before she shifted to Sasebo on the 28th
reaching her destination
on the last day of the year
Whetstone subsequently returned to Inchon two days into the new year
and remained there until the 8th
when she got underway to shift to
Cho Do. The dock landing ship shuttled between Japan and Korean ports
and the operating areas
off the western coast of Korea through the summer of 1953 and the armistice
that ended hostilities.
Whetstone operated in the Far East into late September 1953; she
sailed for the west coast of the United States on 30 September and
stopping at Kwajalein and Pearl Harbor en route
reached San Diego on 26
she spent the remainder of the year.
During her next Western Pacific (WestPac) tour Whetstone returned
to the Far East
touching at familiar ports. She also took part in Operation
"Passage to Freedom
" the movement of North Vietnamese to the
South after the partition of the country in observance of the Geneva accords
that ended the French-Viet Minh hostilities. For that evolution
landing ship departed Yokosuka on 14 August and reached Haiphong on the
22d. She subsequently touched at Saigon and Tourane
as well as Haiphong
-- the firstnamed port four times
the second twice
and the lastnamed six.
Completing her participation in that humanitarian operation on Armistice
Day (11 November) 1954
Whetstone departed Haiphong on that date
bound for Hong Kong and Subic Bay in the Philippines.
For the remainder of the 1950's and into the 1960's Whetstone deployed
regularly to the Far East and WestPac areas
there participating in numerous
maintaining herself in a high state of readiness.
During those years
non-military events highlighted her tours both at home
and afar. In April 1961
she rescued two San Diego businessmen
from their capsized sailboat off Point Loma
Calif.; that July
to the aid of the burning merchantman SS Steel Traveler in Inchon
harbor. In the latter
the efforts of the dock landing ship's fire and rescue
party saved the crippled ship.
In February 1962
Whetstone deployed to Christmas Island to participate
in operations with Joint Task Force (JTF) 8. Upon completion of that deployment
the ship returned home and conducted refresher training out of San Diego.
Later that year
to the Atlantic and Caribbean areas
participating in the "quarantine"
operations ordered in the wake of the discovery of offensive Soviet missiles
on Cuban soil. During that time
she served in Task Forces 53 and 128. Upon
the abating of the crisis
Whetstone resumed normal operations; she
deployed once again on a WestPac tour that December.
Over the next few years
Whetstone's regular WestPac tours were enlivened
by operations that reflected the increasing tempo of American involvement
in the war in Vietnam. During her 1964 deployment
the Gulf of Tonkin incident
ushering in a new phase of the conflict. It would not be long
before Americans -- heretofore employed only as advisors -- would be taking
active combat roles on a large scale against the communist insurgents (Viet
Cong) and their North Vietnamese allies.
>From 7 August to 2 October
Whetstone steamed as part of TF 76 in
the South China Sea
earning the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for her
contingency operations. As the Vietnam buildup continued into 1965 the veteran
dock landing ship was called upon to help transport men and materiel across
Whetstone departed San Diego on 11 February 1965 bound
for Vietnam with elements of the 3d Marine Division (3d MarDiv) embarked
for transportation to Okinawa. She arrived at her destination on 8 March
disembarked her passengers
and sailed for Japan
touching briefly at Yokosuka
before she returned to Okinawa to embark elements of the 5th MarDiv for
transportation to Vietnam.
Reaching Chu Lai on 27 March
Whestone offloaded her passengers brought
from Okinawa and embarked different Marine elements for transport up the
Vietnamese coast to the Hue-Phu Bai area of operations. After offloading
the dock landing ship shifted to Danang
where she soon commenced
what was to become a six-week tour of duty as "boat haven" for
Naval Support Activities (NavSuppAct)
arriving on the last day
of the month of March.
During her six-week stay
Whetstone made good use of her drydocking
performing major repairs on 41 small boats and craft -- mostly
LCM (Landing Craft
Medium) and LCU (Landing Craft
Utility). Those craft
served as the keys to keeping open the flow of logistics onto the beach
from the many merchant ships at anchor in Danang harbor.
Leaving Danang in her wake on 13 May
Whetstone arrived at Subic
Bay for liberty and upkeep two days later
but Typhoon "Irma"
forced the ship to execute a change in plans: five out of her allotted ten-day
period was spent riding out "Irma's" fury. Departing Subic Bay
on the 25th
Whetstone visited Hong Kong for five days of "rest
and recreation" slated to start on the 27th. Unfortunately
of yet another typhoon -- "Judy" -- caused the dock landing ship
to put to sea on the 28th and 29th to evade the storm. The ship left Hong
Kong on 1 June -- it had been an abbreviated port visit!
Whetstone returned to the waters of Vietnam
dropping anchor at Qui
Nhon to start two months as "boat haven" in support of the U.S.
Army's Qui Nhon Support Command. Two boat repair divisions -- consisting
of Whetstone sailors and Army soldiers -- worked 12-hour shifts
24 hours a day
to repair Army landing craft in Whetstone's capacious
well-deck aft. The display of Army-Navy cooperation facilitated the vital
offloading of ships delivering cargo to Qui Nhon. At the end of the time
spent at the port
Whetstone received a plaque
from the U.S. Army's 1st Logistical Command.
Whetstone hauled a load of Army LCM's to Camranh Bay on 31 July and
then headed for Japanese waters
reaching Sasebo on 7 August for an eight-day
port visit. The dock landing ship then returned briefly to Hong Kong --
the weather proved more favorable that time than previously -- before she
sailed for Danang to commence the last major assignment of that WestPac
Whetstone took part in the lift of elements of the combat veterans
of the 5th MarDiv from Danang to Okinawa. For the leathernecks
them coming straight from action in the field to the ship
the hot meals
and bunks on board Whestone proved a welcome change from life in
the field. The ship subsequently arrived at Okinawa on 6 September to offload
Reaching Yokosuka on 11 September
Whetstone underwent six days of
upkeep there before her departure from WestPac. She sailed for home on 17
September and reached Pearl Harbor on the 27th. Pushing on
two days later
the dock landing ship reached her home port of San Diego on 6 October --
thus ending a deployment of 238 days' duration.
For the remainder of 1966
Whetstone remained in port
for a shipyard overhaul slated to commence in January.
Shifting subsequently to Seattle
Whetstone spent four and
one-half months undergoing an extensive yard overhaul. Major changes were
effected to her communications facilities
while her engineering plant received
extensive repairs. Upon returning to her home port later that spring on
26 May 1967
Whetstone was prepared for a summer of hard training
in preparation for her deployment to WestPac in the autumn. Refresher training
followed -- evolutions that apparently revealed defects in the ship's propulsion
the ship underwent further yard work
this time at Long Beach.
Following her return to San Diego on 2 September
the dock landing ship
completed the remainder of her refresher and amphibious training and prepared
for her WestPac deployment date of 31 October 1967.
Arriving in WestPac in early December
Whetstone lifted 11 Marine
helicopters from Okinawa to Danang before she joined Task Group 76.5
Ready Group (ARG) "Bravo." Embarking units of the Marine Special
Landing Force (SLF)
composed of men from the 3d Battalion
1st Marine Regiment
Whetstone participated in two major amphibious operations during
The first was "Fortress Ridge" (21-24 December 1967) -- SLF "Bravo"
made an unopposed landing and swept through the marshy
sandy region north
of the city of Cua Viet. Encountering several pockets of enemy resistance
the marines called in air strikes
naval gunfire support and the fire from
helicopter gunships -- as well as artillery -- to subdue the resistors.
Killing 10 communist soldiers in the operation
the marines suffered the
loss of 10 men and the wounding of 28.
Later in the deployment
Whetstone took part in Operation "Badger
" from 23 to 26 January 1968. Members of SLF "Bravo"
went ashore from landing craft and helicopters to clear the Cua Viet River
region of the enemy troops that had recently preyed upon Navy coastal convoys
resupplying Marine activities along the coasts. After the landing -- unopposed
as in "Fortress Ridge" -- "Bravo" units teamed with
elements of the 3d MarDiv in a sweep inland. At the cost of 32 leathernecks
dead and 146 wounded
the marines succeeded in bagging at least 100 dead
by the end of January.
Besides the amphibious operations
Whetstone made two hazardous coastwise
supply runs -- one to Hue and the other to Dong Ha -- utilizing LCM's embarked
in the ship's well deck. Ultimately
on 16 March
relieved Whetstone as an element of the ARG
releasing the latter
for further support operations in the form of lifts of war materiel from
support bases to various areas further inland.
The versatile Whetstone subsequently served one more deployment in
Vietnamese waters in 1969
rounding out nearly two decades of naval service
before returning to the United States. Decommissioned on 2 April 1970
was struck from the Navy list on 1 September 1971 following transfer
to the Maritime Administration (MarAd) for custody and lay up in July 1970.
The dock landing ship remained in the National Defense Reserve Fleet
into the mid-1970's. As of 1 October 1979
amphibious craft was awaiting disposition
via a cash Navy sale. She had
been on the sale list since April 1976.
Although Whetstone was built too late to participate in World War II
she earned four battle stars for Korean service and seven for Vietnam.
[Note: The above USS WHETSTONE (LSD-27) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS WHETSTONE (LSD-27) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]