HISTORY OF THE USS CAVALIER (APA-37)

 



*NOTE ; (APA 37 : dp. 8100; l. 492; b. 696; dr.256; s. 18 k: cpl. 523; a. 2 5; cl. Bayfield)

USS Cavalier (AP-82) was reclassified APA-37, 1 February 1943; launched 15 March 1943 by Western Pipe and Steel Co., San Francisco, Calif.; sponsored by Mrs. M. W. Jackson; acquired 19 July 1943; fitted out as an attack transport by Bethlehem Steel Co., Hoboken, N.J.; and commissioned 15 January 1944, Captain R.T. McElliott, USCG, in command.

 

COMMISSIONING I

 

USS CAVALIER is named for a county in the State of North  Dakota. She  was built under the contract of the Maritime  Commission  by the Western Pipe and Steel Company of San Francisco,  California.  Assigned the name CAVALIER on 5 October 1942, she was launched 15 March  1943 under the sponsorship of Mrs. Monroe W.  Jackson  and delivered to the Navy on 19 July 1943.  She was fitted out as  an attack  transport by the Bethlehem Steel Company of Hoboken,  New
Jersey and placed in commission on 15 January 1944 under  command of Captain Raymond T. McElligott, United States Coast-Guard.


JAN-SEPT 1944 INVASION OF SAIPAN, MARIANAS, ENIWETOK

CAVALIER  conducted  sea trials in Long Island  Sound  and  after loading  ammunition,  departed Brooklyn, New York on  26  January 1944  for  Hampton  Roads, Virginia,  where  she  loaded  landing barges, then conducted training operations in the Chesapeake  Bay while  based  at Norfolk, Virginia.  Departing 16  February,  she sailed  first  to  Newport, then  to  Davisville,  Rhode  Island, arriving 17 February 1944.  Here she loaded cargo and men of  the 141st  and 10th Special Sea Bees, departing 24 February  for  the Pacific.   On 3 March, she completed transit of the Panama  Canal enroute to Honolulu, T. H., arriving 16 March and was assigned to the   Fifth  Amphibious  Force,  FIFTH  Fleet.    She   conducted
amphibious  assault  and landing exercises in Maalea  Bay,  Maui, Hawaiian  Islands  with the 167th Regimental Combat Team  of  the 27th  Infantry  Division and on 28 May at  Pearl  Harbor,  became flagship  of Commander Transport Division Seven.   After  further amphibious training exercises she departed Pearl Harbor on 1 June and  sailed via Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands (9-11 June)  to take part in the invasion of Saipan, Marianas Islands. Arriving  off Saipan on 16 June, her boat division landed  troops at Caran-Kanon at Blue Beach, but before she was able to land all her  artillery  ashore, CAVALIER was suddenly ordered  to  retire from  the area to be out of the way of the  approaching  Japanese Fleet.   Twenty-three  of her boats were left  behind  and  these shuttled  back  and  forth between the  beaches  and  the  ships,
returning to the beach area each day, carrying ammunition,  water and  supplies ashore and returning to ships with wounded  Marines and  Army troops.  CAVALIER returned to the transport area on  25 June  to  put the remainder of the artillery ashore and  took  on many  casualties.  She departed the next day for Eniwetok  Atoll, arriving  30 June 1944.  Here she debarked casualties  between  1 and 9 July and took aboard cargo, including---37 tons of dynamite for  use of Underwater Demolition Teams at Saipan.  Upon  arrival 13  July, she serviced many smaller ships and loaded  troops  and vehicles of the Second Marine Division, departing 20 July to take part in the invasion of Tinian, Marianas Island.  Arriving at the northern  end  of  that island on 24 July 1944,  she  landed  her troops  and  cargo  at  White  Beach  and  took  on   casualties.  Departing  28  July,  she sailed via Eniwetok  to  Pearl  Harbor, arriving 10 August 1944. After  transfer  of casualties, she underwent  repairs  until  22 August,   then  embarked  equipment  and  troops  of  the   184th Regimental  Combat Team of the Seventh Army Division for  landing rehearsal exercises off Maui, Hawaiian Islands. Departing Pearl Harbor as part of the THIRD Fleet on 15 September 1944,  she sailed via Eniwetok (25-28 Sept.) to Seeadler  Harbor, Manus, Admiralty Island, arriving 3 October and reported for duty as a unit of the SEVENTH Fleet.

 

OCT 1944 - BATTLE OF LEYTE

Forming  as  a unit of Task Group 79.1, she departed  14  October 1944 to take part in the Leyte landings for the liberation of the Philippine  Islands.  Arriving  of Leyte, 20 October, she landed troops on  the  yellow beach  near  the  burning town of  Julag  under  opposition  from Japanese mortar batteries and machine gun fire.  She remained off the beach, landing troops and receiving casualties under cover of smoke screen for protection against enemy planes over the  island until late in the day of 23 October, departing only hours  before the  Battle  for  Leyte  Gulf took  place  on  24  October  1944.  Arriving  at  Seeadler  Harbor, Manus,  and Admiralty Island  on  29 October, she transferred her casualties to a Navy Hospital  Base. 
On 30 October 1944 while at Manus, Captain Raymond T.  McElligott, USCG, was relieved by Captain A. G. Hall, USCG.



NOV 1944 SUICIDE PLANES, LINGAYAN GULF, WHITE BEACH LANDING, LUZON

Departing  2  November, she arrived at Oro Bay, New Guinea  on  4 November, and loaded Army troops of the llth Air-borne  Division.  She  sailed  11 November and landed the reinforcement  troops  at Leyte,  near Abuyog, on 18 November 1944. She returned to Manus Island on 24 November 1944.

 

On  30 November 1944, CAVALIER arrived in Berlin Harbor,  Aitape, New  Guinea  and  after  loading troops and  cargo  of  the  43rd Infantry  Division, conducted landing rehearsal  exercises,  then departed on 28 December to take part in the landings at  Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, and Philippine Islands.  On the night of 7 January 1945, CAVALIER  made  initial  radar contact  with  Japanese  destroyer HINOKI that was lit up by star shells and sunk by escorts of the convoy under her observation.  On 9 January 1945, she arrived off Luzon  in southern Lingayen Gulf and commenced landing troops  on
White  Beach.  The 6th, 7th, and 8th waves, made up  entirely  of CAVALIER'S boats, penetrated an almost solid wall of mortar shell splashes  in reaching the beaches and many of her landing  barges returned with holes from exploding shrapnel.  Four members of her beach   party,  one  member  of  a  boat  crew  and  her   combat correspondent, were returned to CAVALIER as casualties during the day.   In  the  dusk air alert, she  was  showered  by  exploding
shrapnel  of a five-inch shell as screening ships opened fire  on suicide  planes.   Three of her men were hit, one  of  whom  died during  the  night.  On 10 January, as she  took  departure  from Lingayen Gulf, a suicide plane was taken under fire as it crossed her  bow  and  crashed into DUPAGE (AP-41).  The  next  day,  the DUPAGE,  which  was  the  lead ship in the  column  next  to  the CAVALIER, buried fifty-nine of her sailors at sea.

 

JAN 1945 LINGAYEN GULF TORPEDO ATTACK
CAVALIER arrived at Leyte, 13 January 1945.  She proceeded to San Pedro  Bay, Leyte Gulf on 18 January to load cargo and troops  of the  34th  Regimental  Combat Team of  the  24th  Army  Division.  Departing  on 26 January, she arrived off Luzon, 29 January,  and landed  troops  just north of Subic Bay near San Miguel  and  San Antonio.  There was no opposition to the landings since  guerilla forces had secured the area two days before her arrival.  Enroute to  Leyte  on 30 January, at 0133, she was shaken  by  a  violent underwater  explosion while off Manila Bay.  Hit by a torpedo  on her  port side, aft of hold 5, most of her men were  thrown  from their  bunks.   Decks  buckled  and  split  at  Number  3  hatch.  Steerageway   was   lost,  engines  stopped  and  some   of   her compartments were flooded.  None of her men were killed, but some fifty men were treated for minor injuries.  Taken in tow by  RAIL (ATO-139),  she arrived at San Pedro Bay, Leyte Gulf,  and Philippine Islands  on 4 February 1945.  She remained for temporary  repairs until  15  March and was then taken in tow by  two  War  Shipping Administration tugs.  Arriving at Ulithi Atoll on 24 March, heavy seas  delayed  departure until 4 April when tow was  resumed  for Eniwetok,  Marshall Islands, thence to Pearl Harbor,  arriving  1 May 1945.

 

JUN 1945 NOV 1945
CAVALIER  remained in the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard for repairs  and alterations  until 12 September 1945.  During this time, 13  June 1945, Commander C. R. MacLean, USCG, relieved Captain A. G. Hall, USCG.   On  2 September 1945, Commander MacLean was  relieved  by Captain  Carl E. Guisness, USCG.  CAVALIER departed Pearl  Harbor on  12  September  1945  and  sailed  via  Eniwetok  for  Manila, Philippine  Islands,  arriving  28 September  1945.   She  loaded
troops  at Subic Bay (11 October) and departed the next  day  for the United States.  Steaming via Pearl Harbor, she arrived at San Francisco on 1 November 1945.