Ship's History

United States Ship

USS LSM-87

          The LSM-87 was built by Brown Shipbuilding Company, at Houston, Texas. Her keel was laid August 31, 1944, she was launched September 23, 1944, and commissioned at T.C.I. docks on 15 October 1944, by Lieutenant Commander John L. McMaster representing the Commandant of the 8th Naval District.

 

          On 20 October the ship left Houston, and proceeded to A.T.B. Galveston, Texas for shakedown. This duty was completed 4 November, without major damage, although the S.S. Amil F. Haines, Bouy 2A Galveston Harbor and LSM-82 were victims of minor (although then alarming) collisions. After shakedown, six days were spent in Todds Dockyards, Galveston, Texas for latest alterations and minor repairs. On 11 November 1944, she got underway for her maiden voyage, to Gulfport, Mississippi arriving the 12th, where she loaded asphalt piling and machinery for Pearl Harbor. On 14 November she got underway for Panama.  On 19 November she arrived Colon Harbor and on 22 November proceeded through the canal westward and thence to San Diego. On 3 December she arrived at San Diego, and proceeded on the morning of 8 December for San Francisco, for final availability prior departure the states. On 10 December, she arrived at San Francisco, and found her shipyards and drydocks so crowded that it would take at least 30 days to complete alterations. All hands got approximately 15 days leave, home for Christmas, or for New Years.

 


Deck Diagram Schematic from LSM-LSM(R) Vol. II pg.1
Links to: 2nd Deck, Main Deck, 01 Deck and Side Profile

1945

          On 11 January, 1945 she left San Francisco in company with other LSM's of the group and proceeded to Pearl Harbor arriving the 20th and unloading cargo the next day. On 31 January, Battery "B" of the 93rd AAA loaded for Dulag Beach, Luzon, Philippines. On 3 February LSM-87 departed Pearl Harbor  enroute to Eniwetok.  February 9th was completely lost as she crossed the International Date Line. Arrival at Eniwetok was on February 13th. After one day at anchor at Eniwetok, the same task group departed for Guam, arriving on 19 February. On the 22nd of February, she left Guam, arriving Ulithi on 24 February. LSM-87 waited until the 1st of March for escorts, thence proceeding to San Pedro Bay, Leyte, Philippine Islands, arriving 4 March, 1945. On 6 March LSM-87 unloaded the 93rd AAA Battery on Dulag Beach, Luzon. ON 13-14 March, she made mock invasion preparations for the Okinawa Invasion. On 21 March 1945, took departure for Okinawa as part of T.G. 51.7.9, the Western Island Tractor Group Haw.

 

Map of Okinawa Invasion 1 April 1945 from Veterans of Foreign Wars Edition Pictorial History of the Second World War, Vol. 4. pg. 324

          Saturday, 1 April, arrived at Koba Island, Okinawa Gento. In and out of this anchorage, leaving in late afternoons and returning the next mornings. On 13 April at 0830 National Ensign at dip for death of President Roosevelt. On 14 April anchored off Okinawa and remained so until evening of 17 April. LSM-87 underway in channel at various courses and speeds to clear ships in bay. Collided with LST 893 which was at anchor. Starboard side mid-ship collided with LST 893's stern. No serious damage to operation of ships. No damage to personnel. Considerable damage done to starboard side of conning tower and pilot level torn open, deck in radio shack buckled. Later continued on assignment to Ie Shima and anchored in early morning.

 

 

Conning tower of LSM-87 after collision with LST-893

 

          On 18 April, underway for beach at Ie Shima following a guide boat. Proceeding slowly but ran aground while following the guide boat. Different procedures used to free ship but not successful. Later the anchor was placed aboard an LCVP (Landing Craft, Vehicle and Personnel)  in order to carry out the stern anchor. Bow of the LCVP dropped under the surface due to the weight of scope of cable and weight of anchor. LCVP sank in 18' of water. LCVP crew rescued by passing boats. None of the crew was injured. Five hours later LSM-87 was clear of the sand bar and able to maneuver. 19 April, unloaded Army units aboard. While on beach unloading, the ship was hit by sniper firing. LSM-87 was assigned to the Ie Shima and Okinawa area from 18 April to 17 June to unload and ferry to the beach, troops, bombs, drums of gasoline and other supplies from the large transport ships in the area. Japanese bombers and suicide planes (Kamikaze) were making nuisance air raids day and night. Ship at general quarters many times during this period. On 6 May, guns 2 and 5 scored numerous hits on enemy plane which eventually downed it. Verified downed by Army personnel and ships in the vicinity.

 

Illustration of an LCVP (Higgins Boat) from http://www.challengelcvp.com/

 

          LSM-87 left Ie Shima on 17 June, proceeding to Leyte, PI, arriving 22 June. Until 20 July, the ship underwent repairs on starboard side and crew enjoyed R&R at Osmena Beach and a number of movies at nearby ships provided they would furnish the transportation. Several crew members suffered attacks of dysentery and were transferred to U.S. Relief for observation and treatment. On 22 June, ship underway to Subic Bay and Laog, PI (northern tip of Luyon) arriving 25 July. LSM-87 loaded the 385th Base Service Squadron Air Service Group, 3 officers and 29 men and equipment. LSM-87 joined a convoy of 29 LST's and 13 LSM's enroute to Okinawa. Encountered rough and squatty weather, high winds, rough seas and visibility of only 500 yards for several days. Unloaded army personnel at Ie Shima on 4 August and proceeded to Northern Mackinato anchorage and later to Naha anchorage for smoker duty. On August 10 at 2106, received word that Japan had surrendered.

 

 


Link to large photo

Read the telegram dated 15 August 1945 from the Secretary of the Navy, James Forestall.

 

          After a week of smoker duty off Naha, Okinawa, LSM-87 took departure 14 August for the Philippines, arriving Subic Bay 18 August and later to San Pedro Bay arriving 21 August. On 31 August she loaded elements of Batteries A and B of the 221st Field Artillery Battery. During the time on the beach another LSM beached several hundred yards to the windward of LSM-87 drifted against her. The other LSM's ramp punching a hole in her (LSM-87) portside at the waterline. On September 3rd a permanent patch was put on by ships company. Two days later (September 5) she took departure for Tokyo. Skirting the edges of two typhoons she arrived at Tokyo Bay on 12 September, and unloaded at Yokohama the same day. The following day, 13 September, LSM-87 departed for Manila arriving 21 September.

 

 
          On 25 September, she proceeded to Legaspi, Luzon, PI where on 28 September she beached and loaded elements of Company B of the 1279th Engineer Combat Battalion. LSM-87 remained anchored at Batangas until 2 October when she left for Subic Bay, arriving there the following morning. On 5 October, as part of T.U. 32.2.13 under Commander S.B. Talliaferro, COMLSMFLOTL, she proceeded to Tokyo Bay.  Again typhoons forced delay and it was not until 16 October that she arrived in Tokyo Bay. After unloading cargo, she laid at anchor and on 26 October Lt. Rounds transferred to LSM-186 as Captain. Ensign Cassius C. Sisler reported onboard for duty from LSM-90. LSM-87 departed Tokyo 27 October after giving all hands ample opportunity for liberty in Tokyo and Yokohama arriving Saipan on 1 November. For 34 days she was at anchor at Saipan, loaded with 37 Jeeps consigned to Guam. On 4 December she departed for Guam, where she unloaded the Jeeps, screened personnel and on 7 December departed Guam for Pearl Harbor arriving Pearl 21 December.

 

 


Link to large photo

LSM-87 crew on liberty in Japan: From L to R:
1st row (sitting): H. Dumeny, L. Coolidge, P. Ferrier, G. VonSpreckelsen
2nd row: R. Anderson, E. Henry, V. Beichner, J. Mower, T. Mincielli, J. Rice
3rd row: W. Johnson

1946

          Departing from Pearl on 24 December, LSM-87 arrived in San Francisco on 1 January, 1946 and lay anchor off Hunter's Point. On 2 January, Captain McDevitt leaves the ship for discharge and Lt(jg) Kurzinski assumes command and later the ship anchors off Sausalito. On 8 February Ensign Sisler transfers to Treasure Island for discharge. LSM-87 departed San Francisco on 9 February proceeding to the Panama Canal, passing through it on 23 February and departed the next day for Charleston S.C. arriving there 1 March.

 

 


25-foot cutaway scale model of a Landing Ship Medium, showing all internal parts. On display at the museum at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. from LSM-LSM(R) Vol. II. pg. 17

          On 5 March, Lt(jg) Burr relieved Lt(jg) Kurzinski in command of the ship. Lt(jg) Kurzinski transferred to receiving station for discharge. Preparation for decommissioning began with crew moved to barracks on the Navy base for temporary quarters.

 

 
          On 29 March, moved by tug to Waldo Creek having completed all preparations for decommissioning. Commanding officer received receipt placing ship in decommissioned status. 1442 commissioning pennant and ensign brought down. 1445 all hands off ship and on tug. LSM-87 was struck from the Navy Register on 5 June, 1946 and transferred to the Maintenance Commission for disposal 25 January 1948.  

Revised 12/11/02 by Mark R. Kurzinski