USS Krishna (ARL-38)

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USS Krishna
Career
Name: USS Krishna
Builder: Chicago Bridge & Iron Company
Laid down: 23 February 1945
Launched: 25 May 1945
Commissioned: 3 December 1945
Decommissioned: 15 September 1971
Struck: 15 September 1971
Fate: Sold to the Republic of the Philippines, 30 October 1971
Career (Philippines) Flag of the Philippines
Name: RPS Narra (AR-88)
Acquired: 30 October 1971
Fate: Unknown
General characteristics
Class & type: Achelous class repair ship
Displacement: 1,781 long tons (1,810 t) light
3,700 long tons (3,759 t) full
Length: 328 ft (100 m)
Beam: 50 ft (15 m)
Draft: 11 ft 2 in (3.40 m)
Propulsion: 2 × General Motors 12-567 diesel engines, two shafts, twin rudders
Speed: 12 knots (14 mph; 22 km/h)
Complement: 260 officers and enlisted men
Armament: • 2 × 40 mm guns
• 8 × 20 mm guns
Service record
Operations: Vietnam War
Awards: 12 battle stars

USS Krishna (ARL-38) was one of 39 Achelous-class landing craft repair ships built for the United States Navy during World War II. Named for Krishna (a deity worshipped across many traditions of Hinduism), she was the only U.S. Naval vessel to bear the name, and only one of two ships (along with the USS Indra) to be named after a Hindu deity.

Originally classified LST-1149, Krishna was reclassified ARL-38 on 14 August 1944; laid down 23 February 1945 by Chicago Bridge & Iron Company of Seneca, Illinois; launched 25 May 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Eva Best Smith; placed in reduced commission during transfer to Mobile, Alabama for conversion; and commissioned 3 December 1945 at Mobile, with LT Lyle E. Brown in command.

Service history[edit]

Departing Mobile 8 January 1946 Krishna arrived Norfolk 14 January for duty with Amphibious Group 2 at Little Creek, Virginia. For more than 19 years the landing craft repair ship operated out of Little Creek, during which time support-and-repair operations carried her from Baffin Bay to the Caribbean. From 25 May to 31 August 1951 while under the command of CDR Harold C. "Brownie" Brown she participated in "Operation Blue Jay" during the initial phase of establishing the large air base at Thule, Greenland. While at Little Creek she made annual deployments to Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and other Caribbean islands supporting amphibious landing exercises.

Krishna departed Little Creek 5 October 1964 and sailed to waters off southern Spain, arriving at Huelva 26 October. While there she participated in "Operation Steel Pike" (the largest amphibious landing operation since World War II, which sent more than 28,000 2nd Division Marines storming the shores on a mock invasion). One of 84 naval ships, Krishna provided support and replenishment services during this impressive exercise that clearly illustrated the strength and diversity of American naval sea power and emphasized the Navy's ability and readiness to move a vast amphibious force to any shore if needed in keeping the peace. Departing Huelva 4 November, Krishna steamed to the East Coast via Oporto, Portugal, and arrived Little Creek 29 November.

Vietnam[edit]

From 1 December to 22 February 1965 Krishna reactivated the USS Kirwin (APD-90), and on 1 June she was assigned to Service Force, Pacific Fleet. Departing Little Creek, she steamed via Pearl Harbor and Guam for duty in the Far East. Operating out of Subic Bay, Philippines, she reached the Gulf of Thailand off the coast of Vietnam 17 September and began duty as support ship for patrol craft of U.S. Coast Guard Squadron One based on Phu Quoc Island. While the cutters patrolled coastal waters to prevent infiltration of ammunition and supplies to the Viet Cong, Krishna served as a repair facility and fueling station as well as an operations, communications, and command center. Later in the year she also provided services for eight 50-foot "Swift" launches that arrived to strengthen the coastal surveillance program.

Krishna remained on station until 1 December when she departed for Bangkok, Thailand, arriving 3 December. She returned to her various support duties in the Gulf of Thailand 11 December. In February Krishna raised and salvaged fast patrol craft PCF-4. On 30 April, men from Krishna helped extinguish a fire in An Thoi, a South Vietnamese village. She had a number of distinguished visitors through 1966, including Secretary of the Navy Paul H. Nitze on 15 July. On 21 July the landing craft repair ship headed for Sasebo, Japan with a stopover at Kaoshiung, Taiwan on 29 July to provide repair facilities, arriving Sasebo 9 August. Krishna departed Sasebo for Vietnam 22 September, arriving in the Gulf of Siam 7 October to resume her WestPac mission. Krishna continued to patrol off the coast of Vietnam through 1966 into 1967.

USS Krishna (ARL-38), LSM-297 and LST-521 in Greenland during "Operation Blue Jay," July 1951
USS Krishna (ARL-38) at sea, date and location unknown

During the Vietnam War Krishna participated in the following campaigns:

  • Vietnamese Defense (16 September to 3 December 1965 and 11 December to 24 December 1965)
  • Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase I (25 December 1965 to 30 June 1966)
  • Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase II (1 July to 22 July 1966, 6 October 1966, and 1 April to 14 April 1967)
  • Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase III (1 November 1967 to 29 January 1968)
  • Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase IV (2 April to 16 April 1968)
  • Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase V (21 September to 1 November 1968)
  • Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase VI (2 November to 10 November 1968)
  • Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase VII (31 December 1970 to 20 March 1971 and 30 May to 30 June 1971)
  • Tet Counteroffensive (30 January to 1 April 1968)
  • Vietnam Summer-Fall 1969 (30 June to 31 October 1969)
  • Vietnam Winter-Spring 1970 (1 November to 10 November 1969 and 4 January 1970)
  • Consolidation I (1 July to 9 October 1971)

Krishna earned twelve battle stars for service during the Vietnam War.

Fate[edit]

Decommissioned on 15 September 1971 at Subic Bay, Krishna was struck from the Naval Vessel Register the same day. Sold to the Republic of the Philippines 30 October 1971 and renamed RPS Narra (AR-88), her final fate is unknown.

References[edit]

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