U.S.S. LOGAN (APA-196) SHIP'S HISTORY
A few rain clouds spotted the sky; the morning was bright and brisk, a typical October 14th for the U.S. Naval Station at Astoria, Oregon. On the ship that was moored starboard side to Pier three, the crew was assembling on the boat deck aft. In the fifty odd chairs on deck sat friends and relatives of the men who were gathering around number four hatch. As the visitors listened to the band playing Anchors Aweigh, the Commanding Officer of the Commissioning Detail, Captain A. R. Ponto, U.S. Navy, was being received at the gangway and escorted to the speakers' seats on the Cabin deck.
The ceremony was under way, and the ship's Chaplain, Wilbur N. Webber, U.S.N.R., offered a prayer for the success of the ship and it's crew. Captain Ponte stepped to the microphone and read the Commissioning Orders. When he finished the band played the National Anthem and the National Ensign, Jack and the Commissioning Pennant were hoisted. On deck below the faint fluttering flags the ceremony continued. The command of the U.S.S. Logan was then turned over to Commander Joseph H. Foley, U.S. Navy, who ordered Lieutenant David M. Boatright, U.S.N.R., Executive Officer, to set the watch. When the last note of Retreat was sounded the ship's chronometers read 0940. The ship at Pier three was no longer just another transport hull. It was the U.S.S. Logan (APA-196).
The Logan was on her own, but like all great ladies she had plenty of men around to give her a helping hand. Her officers included Lieutenant E.C. Palmer, III, as Engineer Officer, with Lieutenant (jg) C. Sadowski, Ensign R.F. Konkle, Ensign N.L. Quint, Chief Electrician E.H. Lair, and Machinist P.M. Lee, as his assistants. The C and R Department, under First Lieutenant, Lieutenant (jg) F.M. Greene, included Lieutenant (jg) E.W. Carlson, Lieutenant (jg) E.S. Jackson, Ensign J.R. Woolley, Ensign W.M. Disharoon, Boatswain R.H. Polli, and Carpenter L.L. Havens. The navigator was Lieutenant (jg) S.K. Kneule and his assistant Lieutenant (jg) R.M. Steer.
The Communications Department, headed by Lieutenant R.D. Casterline, comprised Lieutenant (jg) V.H. Stevens, Jr., and Ensign W.H. Clark, Jr. Lieutenant C.P. Carey, in charge of Gunnery, had Lieutenant (jg) H.C. Owens and Ensign H.M. Tandy in his Department. Supply problems were taken care of by Lieutenant R.H. Lewis, Jr., as Supply Officer, and Ensign B.W. Johnson, Pay Clerk R.L. Gray and Pay Clerk D.W. Denton, as assistants. Lieutenant Commander H.M. Shaw, and Lieutenant (jg) I.L. White made up the Medical Staff. Radar operation was in the hands of Ensigns F.S. Crowe, Jr., and L.R. Shaver, Jr. Lieutenant (jg) W.N. Webber as the Logan's Chaplain.
Equally responsible for getting the ship started were the 284 enlisted crewmembers from all corners of the U.S. These officers and men worked hard together for the next 10 days fitting out the Logan.
The afternoon of the 17th, the Logan took another step away from being just an attack transport. She became a flagship. Captain Elmer Kiehl, U.S. Navy, later killed in the invasion of Okinawa, reported aboard with his staff and assumed the duty of Commander of Tentative Transport Division "I".
On the morning of October 25, 1944, the Logan nosed out past the Columbia River lightship and dipped her propeller in the Pacific for the first time. Once at sea, with the course set to the north, the 10-20mms, 5-40mms, and the fantail 5"/38 guns were trained out and structural firing test was conducted.
Shortly after midnight she passed through the Straights of Juan de Fuca, picked up a pilot at Port Angeles, and continued down the fog locked Puget Sound toward her destination at Sinclair Inlet. After anchoring for a short while in the morning of 26 October to await lifting of the fog, the Logan sailed into Sinclair Inlet and moored at Illahee, Washington for deperming. That night the crew was turned to loading ammunition into the magazines.
The following day the Logan dashed back and forth on the measured mile course at Point Dolphin, conducting speed trials. In the late afternoon the ship moored for the night at Pier 91, U.S. Naval Station, Seattle, Washington.
The next afternoon she left the pier long enough to make lazy circles in the Sound compensating compasses. On the 29th of October, the Logan headed out of the Sound bound for San Francisco. After a rather rough trip south, she passed through the Golden Gate into San Francisco Bay, picked up her 28 landing craft, and by sunset was headed out to sea again. Two days later, and once again in the fog, the ship steamed into San Pedro Bay and dropped the hook. Captain Kiehl and his staff were transferred from the Logan upon arrival. That afternoon Captain E.P. Abernethy, U.S. Navy, and his inspection party of the San Pedro Shakedown Group came aboard for an inspection of the ship.
During the period from 4 November to 10 November, the Logan underwent her shakedown training off Santa Barbara and Santa Catalina. Those were busy days of general drills, paravane streaming, fueling practice, anti-aircraft and surface gunnery exercises, tactical maneuvers, and obtaining tactical data. Some of the nights were busy too, with simulated night retirements and tactical exercises. Except for a delay caused by a broken paravane chain, which had to be recovered by a diver, the shakedown went along at a smooth rapid clip. On the morning of November 10th, orders came through for the Logan to report to the U.S. Naval Repair Base, San Diego. Without returning to San Pedro, the inspecting party from the Shakedown Group was transferred to the U.S.S. Las Vegas Victory and the ship headed for San Diego. The Repair Base was reached by 1755 that evening.
From the 11th until the 23rd of November when her availability was completed, the Logan underwent general repairs. The next day we commenced loading Cargo at Navy Pier 3 in San Diego. On the 26th the mooring lines were cast off and the ship headed for Pearl Harbor with a passenger load of 60 naval officers, 21 marine officers, and 262 naval enlisted personnel.
During the 7 day zigzagging trip west the Logan conducted a full power run, gunnery exercises, and steering casualty drills. On arrival at Pearl the APA-196 moored in the North Channel, and unloaded her passengers.
On the 4th she moved over to Pier Victor 1 to discharge cargo. Captain A.C.J. Sabalot, U.S. Navy, Commander of Transport Division 45, and his staff met her at the dock. The Logan was once again a flagship. The next day the ship moved back into North Channel until the morning of the 11th. On that date, TransDiv 45 left Pearl on a training cruise in the waters off the Hawaiian Islands.
The first day was spent doing tactical maneuvers and firing at a sleeve towed by one of the brilliant yellow target planes from Maui. The landing exercises scheduled for the 12th of December off Kaena Point, Ladai were cancelled because of the high seas. In the afternoon the ship picked up mail while underway from a patrol craft sent out from Pearl Harbor. During the night one of the escort vessels picked up a sound contact and dropped depth charges on a possible submarine. The Logan's crew manned their General Quarters stations for three quarters of an hour until the contact was lost. Next morning the ships rehearsed transferring dummy cargo to an LSM while underway. The rest of the day was spent in tactical exercises. The 14th was occupied with drills in towing an LST, receiving mail and lowering away landing boats. The following afternoon the division practiced streaming paravanes, and general drills. A sound contact just at sunset turned out to be non-sub.
On December 16th the transports practiced landing operations in Maalaea Bay off Maui. During the morning two SB2C's collided in the air and crashed into the sea just to the south of Papawi Point. Four parachutes were seen drifting down but only two survivors were picked up by the small craft that searched the area.
From December 17 to 21, the division continued landing practices off of Maui. The Logan practiced making smoke, conducted boarding and salvage drills, fueled a destroyer, and cut her time for lowering away all boats from 45 minutes to 15. The ship returned to Pearl Harbor the afternoon of the 21st and spent its first Christmas there.
On the 28th, the Logan and other ships of TransDiv 45 left Pearl and moored next day to Pier 1, Kahului, on the island of Maui. For the next three days everyone was busy loading the men and equipment of the 23rd Regimental Combat Team, 4th Marine Division.
On 1 January 1945, with the 86 officers and 1,300 odd men under Colonel W.W. Wensinger, U.S.M.C. aboard, the Logan moved from the east coast of Maui around to the Maalaea Bay area and practiced landings.
After a three-day respite in Pearl, the Logan returned to Maalaea Bay with Commodore Henry C. Flanagan's Transport Squadron 15, and held rehearsals until 9 January. Another 2-day rest in Pearl and then the transports of Task Force 51 were back off Maui with Vice Admiral Richmond K. Turner in command. These were the rehearsals for the invasion of Iwo Jima. During those days from December 12 to December 18, the pattern of power to be seen at Iwo a month later was polished by repeated rehearsals. On the 18th the ships returned to Pearl and spent the next 9 days topping off for the trip west.
Early on the morning of the 27th Task Force 51 moved majestically out of Pearl and headed for the forward area. After crossing the International Date Line, and fueling and provisioning at Eniwetok, the ships arrived at Saipan in the Marianas on the 11th of February. Here off Saipan and Tinian the Logan and her sister ships of Task Force 51 had their last dress rehearsal for the big show.
The afternoon of February 16 the transports pulled out on the last short leg of their journey. Early on the morning of the 19th the Logan arrived at the lamb chop shaped little island of Iwo Jima. It was still dark but the island was outlined in a tracer-tinted red by the blasting battlewagon bombardment that had been going on for several days. The Logan was in the Transport area at 0640 and by 0643 troops were already crawling down cargo nets into the lazily lurching landing boats.
That day and the next the Logan poured forth out of her holds whatever the men on the beach called for, and took in return the badly mauled men from the beach for excellent medical care and treatment. At night, the Logan and the other large ships retired from their daytime spots off the beaches to scattered areas where they did not present a concentrated target for the Nip bombsights.
In the early morning of 21 February, while returning with a formation of other ships from one of these retirements, the Logan had a steering casualty. Devoid of all steering control and able to maneuver with only engine, she avoided the ships of the first column on her right, but then with a sudden jolt her bow clipped into the hull plates aft of the superstructure deck of the U.S.S. Napa (APA-157). The Napa was the second ship in the last column, which stood between the Logan and open water. The Logan's sharp Victory-hull bow was rammed well into the number 4 hold of the other transport. It had mercifully missed by a few inches and one thin bulkhead the casualty crowded hospital area on the Napa. Searchlights were turned on despite enemy waters to assist in the rescue of men from the 157 who had seen the impending crash and had jumped overboard. They were all picked up in a very short time by a Logan boat. Meanwhile the two ships had not pulled apart for fear that tremendous tons of water might rush into the gaping hole and cause already listing Napa to capsize. Word had already been passed on the Napa to abandon ship. Abandoning ship when the nearest land was bloody, still Jap held beachhead of Iwo Jima some 20 miles away, was not a pleasing prospect. Escort vessels stood by to assist. Once temporary repairs were made by the repair crews on each ship the transports pulled apart and continued their trip back to the island. Despite their damage both ships were able to stay on at Iwo until they had unloaded their cargo. The Logan whose bow was crushed in above the water line, but cargo undamaged, stayed on until the 28th of February. On the 28th, when completely unloaded, the ship headed back to Saipan with about 200 wounded men. Luckily neither the Napa nor Logan lost any men or acquired any casualties as a result of the collision.
The Logan stopped only a few short hours in Saipan and then went on south to Guam. She pulled into Apra Harbor on the 4th, and unloaded her casualties the next day.
The following afternoon the ship sailed out of the crowded harbor and arrived at Saipan on the 6th of March. A new operation was already underway. On March 9th, 94 officers and 1159 men of the 1st Battalion, 8th Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, under Colonel C.R. Wallace, U.S.M.C., were embarked. From then until the 27th of Mach the Logan rehearsed for the invasion of Okinawa, in a new Task Group 51.2 under Rear Admiral J. Wright, U.S. Navy. Rehearsal landings were held off Tinian. Here the anti-aircraft gun crews spewed shells at towed targets, more fuel, ammunition and food was taken aboard and landing crews were drilled in crossing shallow reefs. In short all the tedious preparations for a major landing were gone over time and time again.
On the 27th of March the Logan set out on her second invasion. Arriving off of the southeast coast of Okinawa on Easter Sunday, 1 April, the ship had her boats in the water by 0630. The landing boats from all the transports headed for the beach and then when within a few hundred yards all turned and headed back to their ships. It was all an April Fool joke on the Japs to keep them busy while the big landing was going on at the western beaches. That night the 196 retired and next morning steamed into the area and repeated the same operation without landing any troops. The gun crews were busy this second morning taking pot shots at a Japanese Val, which flew directly over the transport area.
From the 3rd till the 10th the Task Group steamed around in a retirement area 10 miles southeast of Okinawa waiting to be called for unloading.
Some of the ships were sent around to the western beaches, but most of them continued their sailing and waiting. On the morning of April 11, Commander Task Force 51 decided that the remaining ships would not be needed and the Logan moved south with the others to Saipan. The troops were unladed to await further orders.
The Logan spent the remainder of April and all of May swinging around the hook in Saipan Harbor. Troops were loaded on the 16th of May to prepare for an operation on Amami to the north of Okinawa. The next day the operation was cancelled and the marines and all their cargo and equipment were unloaded.
May dragged on into June and the Logan lay at anchor and practiced landings and boat drills with the other ships of Transport Squadron 15. On the afternoon of June 4th the Squadron got underway for Tulagi on Florida Island in the Solomons. When the Logan arrived at Florida Island on the 12th she anchored for the first night in Purvis Bay. Next morning she moved over into Gavutu Bay to fuel and await others ships of temporary Transport Division 45. It was a short trip south, and by the afternoon of the 19th the Logan could be seen anchored off Noumea, on the southern tip of New Caledonia.
The Logan still had her crippled bow from the accident off Iwo, and arrangements were made to repair her. On the 23rd she moved along side the repair dock at Ile Nou, Noumea, New Caledonia, and the workmen started cutting away the old damaged bow.
By the 14th the big number 196 was painted on a brand new sleek looking bow. The Logan moved over to the Grand Quai Dock at Noumea. Lifts of cargo moved into the holds, and by the 17th the hatches were covered and the Logan was headed south across the equator to Guam.
On July 26th we put into Apra Harbor. In three days she had unloaded her cargo from Noumea and embarked 1500 passengers for the U.S.A. The 29th was a busy day for the Logan. Out of Guan at dawn, she put into Tinian at 1400 that afternoon; took aboard 200 casualties and was out of the harbor by five. That evening by 2000 she was alongside the dock at Tanapag harbor in Saipan loading more passengers for the United States.
Leaving Saipan on the 30th, the Logan headed east and sailed under the Golden Gate just before 0700 on August the 13th. With passengers unloaded the Logan commenced her availability at the Kaiser Yards in Richmond. Here she got some time in the dry dock while the world was celebrating the end of the war with Japan.
The Logan's job was far from done. As a transport she was needed to help with the occupation of Japan and the tremendous task of bringing all of the men back from the far corners of the Pacific.
On the morning of August 23rd the Logan slipped under the fog-hidden Golden Bridge with a western compass heading for Pearl Harbor. She arrived on the 28th, and next day moved over to Honolulu Harbor. Over the side came jeeps, trucks and supplies. Up the gangway came the 391st Regiment of the Armies 98th Infantry Division. These men with the Mohawk Indian patch on their sleeve were under the command of Colonel J.E. McGill. September the 7th was the day that the Logan left the Hawaiian Islands with Transport Squadron 18. On September 27th, after a three-day fueling stop at Saipan, the ships arrived at Wakayama on Honshu Island, Japan. The ships steamed up the swept channel with paravanes streamed and conducted the landing operation exactly the same way as an opposed invasion. A drenching drizzle made the first day long and hard even though no resistance was encountered.
On the 1st of October everything had been landed and the Logan steamed south with Temporary Transport Division 45. The Logan arrived at Samar Islands in the Philippines on the 6th. In this area she embarked troops bound for the United States from Tacloban on Leyte and Guiuan, Samar. The afternoon of October 11th the Logan left Samar alone and headed for the U.S. There was a short stop in Eniwetok for fueling on the afternoon of the 17th, and then the Logan hurried on bound for Seattle to arrive on 27 October. In November and again in January 1946, the Logan made "Magic Carpet" runs to the Philippines to bring the troops home. She was released from "Magic Carpet" duty on March 6th, decommissioned November 27th, 1946, and joined the Pacific Reserve Fleet at San Francisco.
The Logan was recommissioned November 10th, 1951, during the height of the Korean War. After shakedown and refresher training, the Logan departed for Yokosuka, Japan on April 9th, 1952 and arrived on the 26th. Three weeks later she moved to Sasebo on the west coast of Japan. On June 25th, the Logan left Sasebo for landing exercises at Inchon, Korea. Following these exercises she proceeded to the west coast via Sasebo and Yokosuka arriving Long Beach on August 24th. The ship again departed San Diego for Yokosuka July 3, 1953, just after the Korean cease-fire, arriving Yokosuka on the 25th. During October she returned to Korea for amphibious exercises. For the next two months, the Logan operated around Sasebo, then sailed home, arriving Long Beach April 23rd, 1954. In January 1955, she steamed to Seattle for inactivation. On June 14, 1955 the Logan was decommissioned and joined the Pacific Reserve Fleet at San Francisco. She was struck from the Navy List on July 1, 1960 and transferred to the Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, until sold for scrap, to Nissho Iwai on November 6, 1979.
The U.S.S. Logan (APA-196) received two battle stars for World War II and one for Korean service.