USS Paul Revere (APA-248)

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USS Paul Revere
History
United States
Name: USS Paul Revere
Builder: New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, New Jersey;
Laid down: 15 May 1952
Launched: 11 April 1953, as SS Diamond Mariner
Acquired: by the USN, 14 September 1956
Commissioned: 9 October 1958
Decommissioned: 1 January 1980
Renamed: Paul Revere, 4 June 1957
Reclassified:
  • APA-248, 4 June 1957
  • LPA-248, 1 January 1969
Struck: 1 January 1980
Fate: Sold to Spain, 17 January 1980
Spanish Navy EnsignSpain
Name: Castillia (L-21)
Acquired: 17 January 1980
Decommissioned: 6 June 1998
General characteristics
Class and type: Paul Revere-class attack transport
Displacement: 16,828 long tons (17,098 t)
Length: 563 ft 6 in (171.75 m)
Beam: 76 ft (23 m)
Draft: 27 ft (8.2 m)
Propulsion:
  • Geared turbine, 19,250 hp (14.35 MW)
  • 2 × Foster Wheeler boilers, 620 PSI[1]
  • Single screw
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Troops: 1500
Complement: 414
Armament: 4 × 3"/50 caliber guns
Aircraft carried: Up to 8 helicopters

USS Paul Revere (APA/LPA-248) was the lead ship of the Paul Revere class of attack transport in the United States Navy. She was named for the early patriot, Paul Revere (1735–1818). She later served in the Spanish Navy as Castillia (L-21).

The ship was originally laid down as Maritime Administration Hull 27 on 15 May 1952 by the New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, New Jersey, and was launched on 11 April 1953 as the SS Diamond Mariner, sponsored by Mrs. Franklin Ewers. The ship was delivered to MARAD on 22 December 1953, and was operated by the Prudential Steamship Corp. for MARAD until placed in the Maritime Reserve Fleet on 24 July 1954. She was acquired by the US Navy on 14 September 1956, classified APA-248 and named Paul Revere on 4 June 1957, converted by Todd Shipyards, Los Angeles Division, San Pedro, California, and commissioned at Long Beach, California on 3 September 1958, Capt. Robert Erly in command.

Service history[edit]

1958–1964[edit]

After shakedown, Paul Revere spent the next full year participating in a series of amphibious training operations: "Rocky Shoals" at San Diego in November 1958, "Twin Peaks" at Camp Pendleton in February 1959, "PACNAMIDLEX" at Del Mar, California in August, "Clear Ridge" off California in September, and "Totem Pole" at Kodiak, Alaska during November.

During 1960–1961, she was assigned "Ready APA" duty, in which she maintained on board, at all times, a fully equipped and reinforced battalion of landing troops to be put ashore on short notice at any trouble spot in the Pacific. On 21 March 1961 trouble flared in Laos, and Paul Revere commenced patrolling the waters off the coast of Southeast Asia. She remained in the area in a ready status for a total of fifty-four days until tensions eased, then resumed her normal South China Sea patrol.

In January 1962, after returning to the U.S., Paul Revere accomplished a most dramatic rescue, when one of several helicopters engaged in anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercises plunged into the ocean. Operating several hundred yards from the scene, she launched a manned boat which returned the three crewmen of the helicopter to the ship for medical treatment, all in the space of six minutes.

Following overhaul, she spent the last 5 or 6 months of 1962 in the Western Pacific. This deployment included the ports of Subic Bay, Hong Kong, and several ports in Japan. The year 1963 saw her complete a successful WestPac deployment and another rigorous schedule of training operations.

Departing San Diego on 28 January 1964 for her fourth WestPac deployment en route to Pearl Harbor Paul Revere participated in "Coco Palm", a merchant convoy sailing exercise. From Pearl Harbor she sailed to Buckner Bay in preparation for one of the largest amphibious operations since the end of World War II. This exercise, called "Back Pack", involved over 50,000 American and Nationalist Chinese personnel and over 125 ships. It was conducted off the southwestern coast of Taiwan and terminated on 12 March. Paul Revere also participated in "Ligtas", a combined SEATO exercise in the Philippines during May, and operation "Minute Hand", conducted at Numazu, Japan in July. Returning to the States, she joined another convoy exercise, "Mad Bull", and arrived San Diego on 6 August.

Vietnam, 1964–1972[edit]

Paul Revere spent the first seven months of 1965 conducting training operations off the coast. In August she lifted elements of the 1st Marine Division to Okinawa and during October and November she transported personnel of South Korea's famed Tiger Division to Qui Nhon, South Vietnam from Pusan. From 7–18 November she conducted her first actual combat assault as a unit involved in operation "Blue Marlin", with Marine battalions embarked. She was involved in a similar operation called "Double Eagle" at Quảng Ngãi Province, landing the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, on 28 January 1966. She continued lift support for Marine units in Vietnam through March and then returned to San Diego on 19 April. Personnel aboard Paul Revere were eligible for hostile fire pay for the months of November 1965 as well as January and February 1966.

Paul Revere resumed coastal operations on her return, until May 1967 when she again deployed to the Far East. As a unit of the Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) off the coast of Vietnam she engaged in operations "Belt Drive", "Fortress Sentry", "Formation Leader", and "Knox". She returned to San Diego on 16 December and commenced coastal operations. For meritorious service from 17 August to 11 November 1967 during sustained amphibious operations against communist insurgent forces in the Republic of Vietnam, Paul Revere was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation, the first ship of her type to receive the award.

During 1968 she participated in training cruises for Naval Reservists and Midshipmen, including a special familiarization cruise for Sea Cadets. She also continued her upkeep and training preparations for her next coming deployment in January 1969.

Having been redesignated LPA-248 on 1 January 1969, Paul Revere deployed on 30 January, departing San Diego as part of ARG "Bravo" (TG 76.5) in company with Tulare (LKA-112), Belle Grove (LSD-2), Alamo (LSD-33), Cook (APD-130), Tortuga (LSD-26), and Valley Forge (LPH-8), bound, via Pearl Harbor and Subic Bay, for Southeast Asia. Ports-of-call during the cruise included Pearl Harbor, Subic Bay, Buckner Bay, Okinawa; Yokosuka, and Hong Kong. While in Pearl Harbor, Paul Revere was berthed near the Enterprise (CVN-65) while it was being repaired after a serious fire at sea. She arrived in her operating area off Vietnam on 7 March and delivered her cargo to Da Nang and supported combat operations conducted by a USMC Battalion Landing Team which was embarked on board. On 3 June 1969, while operating off the coast of Viet Nam, Paul Revere received word that USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754) had been struck and cut in two by HMAS Melbourne (R21). The stern section of the Evans was towed to Subic Bay and was in the floating drydock when Paul Revere arrived for upkeep.

Toward the end of the deployment, Paul Revere participated in a series of "Keystone" operations beginning with "Keystone Eagle" on 14 July 1969. After an impressive ceremony on the deep water piers in Da Nang Harbor, the 1st Battalion 9th Marines boarded Paul Revere and sailed for Okinawa in the first increment of America's withdrawal from South Vietnam. A photograph of the ship loading Marines appeared in Newsweek magazine. The 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 9th Marines were transported to Okinawa in two subsequent trips. Paul Revere was relieved of duty with ARG "Bravo" (TG 76.5) by Vancouver (LPD-2) on 29 August 1969 at Subic Bay. During the homecoming sea and anchor detail the crew observed the San Diego–Coronado Bridge, under construction for three years, had been completed. In an awards ceremony at Naval Station San Diego, Captain Mitchell Karlowicz was awarded the Bronze Star for commanding Paul Revere in support of combat operations against the enemy.

On 7 November 1969, USS Paul Revere participated in an exercise with several ships and USS Sculpin, SSN 590, to test torpedoes on a decommissioned submarine, USS Bream SS 243, which was to be sunk as a target in the SoCal Op Areas. The Bream, which was operated remotely from the Paul Revere, was ultimately sunk by naval gunfire from an accompanying cruiser.

Paul Revere had a dry dock period at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard from November 1969 to April 1970. Other ships at Hunters Point during this period included USS Midway CV 41 and a Turkish destroyer. During the time in the yards, she was refitted with modern ECM equipment and additional communications hardware to enable the ship to deploy as the flagship for Amphibious Groups I and III on a WestPac cruise in September 1970. The cruise began with Paul Revere escorting two new gunboats, Tacoma (PG-92) and Welch (PG-93), to Pearl Harbor. During the 1970–71 cruise, under the command of a naval aviator, Captain Charles Lindberg, the ship visited Pearl Harbor, Bangkok, Subic Bay, Okinawa, Sasebo, Yokosuka, Hong Kong and Singapore. On the voyage to Singapore Paul Revere crossed the equator and initiated the crew's "pollywogs."

In 1972 she participated in the Easter Offensives.

Post-Vietnam, 1972–decommissioning[edit]

Paul Revere (LPA-248) made a WESTPAC cruise Feb. -Sep. 1974 and was Host to TACRON-1 Unit Delta and Seventh Fleet Amphib Staff. After departing the US to begin the cruise, after passing Guam, the ship was shadowed by a Russian trawler until reaching its first port of call, White Beach, Okinawa. After Okinawa the next stops were, Subic Bay and the Tonkin Gulf. Skirting just outside the Vietnam combat zone, Paul Revere passed near a Russian task force of seven combat ships, mostly destroyer-class. During which time some of the vessels approached the ship. The next stop was Bangkok, Thailand, and then Singapore. On the way to Djakarta, Indonesia, the crew crossed the equator. Returning briefly to Subic Bay, Paul Revere made a hasty run to open water to escape being caught in port during an incoming typhoon. Eventually stopping back at Okinawa. Paul Revere continued its '74 WESTPAC north to South Korea and Japan.

After Vietnam Paul Revere was placed in reserve status, home-ported at Terminal Island, Long Beach, CA and crewed by Naval Reserve personnel.

Later in 1974, she took on the men and equipment of the 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division at Ft. Lewis, WA and delivered them to the Marine Corps Camp Pendleton for amphibious operations and desert warfare training. During the voyage, she was followed by a Soviet Union submarine, which was in turn followed by a U.S. Navy submarine.

In February 1975, she took the men and equipment of the 2nd Battalion 2nd Infantry, 9th Infantry division at Fort Lewis Washington and delivered them to San Diego for training at Coronado Naval Base and Camp Pendleton for Amphibious and Range Training.

In the summer of 1977 during her crew's annual drill period, she took on board the men and equipment of 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment (part of 1st Brigade, 9th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, WA), and delivered them to Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base for amphibious operations training.

May 1979, the USS Paul Revere served as a training platform for the first Seaman Apprenticeship class to be trained on a US Naval Vessel. Previously to this all sailor's who went to Seaman Apprenticeship training did so on the USS Never Sail at RTC San Diego, CA. At the time, the ship was based out of Long Beach and for two weeks, the students participated in both classroom and OJT instruction. At midpoint in training, the USS Paul Revere got underway and spent the weekend at sea and even performed an Unrep.

Castilla (L-21)[edit]

Paul Revere was decommissioned and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 January 1980, and subsequently sold through the Security Assistance Program to Spain on 17 January 1980, renamed Castilla (L-21). The Spanish Navy decommissioned the ship on 6 June 1998, and in 2000 it was scrapped at Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain, the seaport from which Columbus embarked on his second voyage.

Awards, citations, and campaign ribbons[edit]

Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation
National Defense Service Medal
Silver star
Bronze star
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with 6 service stars
Silver star
Bronze star
Vietnam Service Medal with 6 service stars
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation (5)
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

References[edit]

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

  1. ^ NAVSHIPS SIB-APA248, 1967

External links[edit]