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Landing Ship Tank
1,625 long tons
328' x 50' 8' 3"
2 x Twin 40mm AA
2 x 40mm AA
12 x 20mm AA
USN August 1943
US Army May 22, 1944
Built at Kaiser Shipyard in Richmond, CA. Laid down August 31, 1942. Launched November 23, 1942. Commissioned May 3, 1943 as USS LST-480 with W. H. Johnson, USN, in command.
During August 1943, LST-480 beached at Kiska Island in support of the U. S. Army unopposed landing. LST-480 participated in two campaigns. The first was the Gilbert Islands operation in late November to early December 1943. The second was the Marshall Islands operation during February 1944.
On May 21, 1944 LST-480 was loading ammunition at West Loch in Pearl Harbor for the upcoming amphibious operations in the Marianas. At 3:00pm, an explosion LST-353 suddenly exploded showering other LSTs and ships with fragments, which set off further explosions. In total, six LSTs were sunk including LST-480, and several others heavily damaged, along with twenty nearby buildings. 163 sailors and soldiers died and 396 were wounded, including many African American dock workers. Fires continued to burn into the next day. Afterwards, the wreckage of the shipwrecks were towed out to sea and dumped. The precise cause of the disaster is unknown, but likely rushed loading and storage of ammunition and a detonation that set off a chain reaction explosion. Until 1960, the accident was kept secret.
On May 8, 1946 officially struck from the Naval Register. For her World War II service, LST-480 earned two battle stars for Gilbert Islands operation and Marshall Islands operation.
The forward hull of LST-480 remains beached at West Loch and is visible to this day.
NavSource USS LST-480
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