USS Olmstead (APA-188)
World War II service
Olmsted (APA–188), approved 16 March 1944, was laid down by Kaiser Shipbuilding Co., Vancouver, Washington, 11 April 1944 as MCV Hull no. 656; launched 4 July 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Duncan Gregg; accepted and commissioned 5 September 1944, Captain C. L. C. Atkeson in command.
Western Pacific operations
On completion of shakedown 27 October 1944, Olmsted joined the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Transporting troops and supplies in support of amphibious operations, she spent the last year of the war in the Pacific Ocean with an itinerary that reads like a summary of the war’s climactic stages: New Guinea, the Admiralties, Leyte, Lingayen Gulf, Okinawa and Japan.
Apparently charmed, she was bombed at Luzon and again at Okinawa without damage. Twice before the surrender of Japan, she returned to the States to lift reserve troops into the battle zone. She was in Japan to participate in the first occupational landings there, debarking the Army’s 81st (Wildcat) Division.
Getting U.S. troops back to the States
Landing the 81st at Honshū was Olmsted’s last full dress amphibious operation before post war “Operation Magic Carpet” duty. Olmsted made three voyages from the states to the war torn Western Pacific to return veterans and materials until she was ordered to the U.S. East Coast for deactivation.
Reactivated during Korean War
On 21 February 1947, Olmsted was placed out of commission in reserve at Norfolk, Virginia. Due to deteriorating international conditions, Olmsted was recalled to active service and commissioned 2 February 1952 under command of Captain R. C. Leonard, and assigned to the Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet.
After shakedown, operating out of Norfolk, Olmsted participated in training exercises along the U.S. East Coast, at Guantánamo Bay and in the Mediterranean conducting amphibious assault landings. Her primary mission was training Marines and Sailors in Amphibious Warfare tactics. She also conducted training cruises for Midshipmen and Naval Reservists. With interim periods for overhaul and operational readiness training, Olmsted served in this capacity until she decommissioned 27 February 1959 at Norfolk, Virginia, and was assigned to the Norfolk Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet. Olmsted was struck from the Naval Register 1 July 1960.