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”Come In, Swanee Leader"

The Thirty-Three-Month Odyssey of LST 561 in the 1950s

with Over 300 Photographs by the Author



After enlisting in the U.S. Navy in September 1950, the author completed Electronics School and was assigned to USS LST 561.

Chapter 1 - Going Aboard


The first time for the author to be aboard a ship was on 23 Oct. 1951. Drawings and descriptions of compartments in the stern of the Landing Ship Tank are presented.

Chapter 2 - 01 Deck Operations


How the ship was controlled. The only "technical" chapter in the book describes howthe navigation, radar, and other operations were conducted.

Chapter 3 - Oakland to Hawaii


A nine day introduction to the gyrations of this flat-bottomed floating roller coaster.

Chapter 4 - Hawaii to Japan


After seventeen days of relentless motion, the LST arrives at Yokosuka, Japan.and into the aura of the Far East.

Chapter 5 - Yokosuka to Pusan, Korea


The voyage through the Shiminoseki Straits between Kyushu and Honshu to wartime Korea.

Chapter 6 - Pusan


Greetings from Korea included a corpse floating in the water by the bow of the ship as it was moored to a Pusan quay.

Chapter 7 - Pusan to Koje-do


The first of numerous trips to the island of Koje was made on 29 December 1951. This initial trip was to transport 600 North Korean prisoners of war.

Chapter 8 - Koje-do


The compounds on Koje contained more that 130,000 POWs, which was five times the number for which they were designed. Many photos of life on the island.

Chapter 9 - POW Operations


Numerous trips were made with prisoners of war between Koje-do and the Korean mainland. Some voyages were with as many as 2,000 POWs aboard.

Chapter 10 - Sasebo, Japan


A look into the Japan that was emerging from the disaster of World War II. Many color photos of this Kyushu seaport.

Chapter 11 - Prologue to 3/3/52


This chapter summerizes the war in Korea and describes the situation in the Haiju Bay area.

Chapter 12 - March 3, 1952


At 7:10 AM the LCPL of the ship left, never to return. A minute by minute account of what occurred this day with the loss of the boat and the twelve men aboard is detailed in the chapter.

Chapter 13 - Haeju-man Operations


The primary function of the LST was to control the movement of junks near the island of Taeyonp’yong-do.

Chapter 14 - Taeyonp'yong-do


This island was the base of guerrilla operations and the center of covert activities by the CIA in the Haeju-man area.

Chapter 15 - Apple Pie to Yokosuka


Apple Pie was the code word for Taeyonp’yong-do. Failure of the fresh-water distillery forced the ship to return to Japan for repairs.

Chapter 16 - Inch'on


Independence Day1952 and amphibious excercises with U.S. Marines at Sokcho-ri are featured in this chapter. Great color photos of the tracked vehicles (LVTs) are included.

Chapter 17 - Back to the USA


Mooring at San Diego on September 8, 1952 marked the end of a very busy tour of duty in the Far East.

Chapter 18 - Shipboard Life


The food, laundry, enertainment and what it was like living on an LST during the 1950s are described here.

Chapter 19 - West Coast Operations


Amphibious excercises involving pontoons and US Army troops from Washington (state) are displayed in this chapter.

Chapter 20 - San Francisco Bay


The ship traveled to the shipyard at Hunters Point for a well-deserved maintenance period.

Chapter 21 - Arctic Operations


Transporting material for construction of the DEW line took the LST through the pack ice of the Arctic.

Chapter 22 - Return to the Far East


Back to Japan and Korea with manuevers at Okinawa and Iwo Jima.

Chapter 23 - The Last Months


The return to San Diego marked the end of the author’s very interesting thirty-three-months of travel aboard USS LST 561