USS Caswell (AKA-72)

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TollandClassAKA.jpg Tolland class AKA, similar to USS Caswell
History
Laid down: Unknown
Launched: 24 October 1944
Commissioned: 13 December 1944
Decommissioned: 19 June 1946
Struck: Unknown
Fate: Scrapped, 1974
General Characteristics
Hull Type: C2-S-AJ3
Displacement: 8,635 tons light, 13,910 tons loaded
Length: 459 ft 2 in (140 m)
Beam: 63 ft (19.2 m)
Draft: 26 ft 4 in (8.0 m)
Propulsion: GE geared steam turbine drive, single propeller,
6,000 shp (4.5 MW)
Speed: 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h)
Complement: 395 (62 officers, 333 men), plus embarked troops
Armament: 1 × 5"/38 caliber DP gun,
4 × twin 40 mm AA guns,
16 × 20 mm AA guns
Boats: 14 LCVP,
8 LCM
NOTES: Some sources report different displacements for ships of this type. Speed and complement may have changed as the ship or her mission were modified. Often one or two LCVPs were replaced by LCPLs. 20mm AA guns were sometimes removed.

USS Caswell (AKA-72) was a Tolland class attack cargo ship named after Caswell County, North Carolina. Like all AKAs, Caswell was designed to carry military cargo and landing craft, and to use the latter to land weapons, supplies, and U.S. Marines on enemy shores during amphibious operations. She served as a commissioned ship for 18 months, receiving one battle star for World War II service.

History

Caswell was launched 24 October 1944 by North Carolina Shipbuilding Co., Wilmington, North Carolina, under a Maritime Commission contract; sponsored by Mrs. W. H. Williamson; acquired by the Navy 27 November 1944; and commissioned 13 December 1944, Lieutenant Commander P. M. Diffley, USNR, in command.

Caswell cleared Bayonne, New Jersey, 16 January 1945 for the Panama Canal and Guadalcanal, arriving 14 February. A month of training preceded her departure combat-loaded for the Okinawa beaches. Sailing with the Northern Attack Force, Caswell arrived for the initial landings on 1 April, and remained off the beaches for the next week, landing cargo to support the 6th Marines in their rapid advance across the Motobu Peninsula. The skillful work of her men made an important contribution to this success, and she cleared Okinawa 9 April for overhaul and replenishment at Pearl Harbor.

Returning to the west coast, Caswell loaded cargo for Okinawa, where she arrived 5 August to begin a series of cargo and troop movements throughout the Far East, calling at ports in the Philippines, China, and Japan until 7 December, when she cleared Sasebo for San Diego. Between 23 February and 2 May 1946, Caswell carried cargo from San Francisco to China, returning to Norfolk, Va., where she was decommissioned 19 June 1946. Caswell was returned to the Maritime Commission two days later.

References

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