USS Rockwall (APA-230)

USS Rockwall (APA-230)

USS Rockwall (APA-230) was a that saw service with the US Navy in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Rockwall was named after Rockwall County, Texas. She was laid down for the Maritime Commission on 9 September 1944 by Kaiser Shipbuilding of Vancouver, Washington; launched 5 November; acquired by the Navy on loan-charter 14 January 1945, and commissioned the same day at Astoria, Oregon, Capt. Charles W. Roland in command.

Operational history

World War II

After shakedown off the California coast, Rockwall sailed for Saipan, where she debarked a Marine Rocket Detachment and a Naval Construction Regiment 12 April. With other attack transports, she practiced amphibious operations and maneuvers off Lanai and Maui, 1-5 May. She then made a hydrographic survey on Palahinu Beach, Lanai, before arriving at Pearl Harbor on 7 May.
Invasion of Okinawa
She departed 24 May, with Marines and debarked them at Okinawa 10 June. The next day, Rockwall sailed for Ulithi, and on 18 May, took on board the 5th Military Police Battalion of the U.S. Marines at Guam and carried them to Iwo Jima.

Rockwall began her homeward voyage with officers and enlisted men from Iwo Jima 29 June, picked up further troops at Tinian 4 July, and arrived at San Francisco on 24 July.

After hostilities
Rockwall carried Army replacements to Manila 9 September and loaded stores and embarked Army troops at Leyte Gulf 13 September. She sortied on 18 September with , the amphibious force flagship, and a convoy of 24 attack transports and attack cargo ships for Honshū, Japan. The force arrived 25 September and began unloading.

Rockwall sailed 29 September for Shanghai, China, joining destroyer escort as escort on 4 October and arrived 6 October. She embarked 1,728 passengers 11 October and arrived at Seattle, Washington on 26 October. Rockwall made two more voyages to the Philippines.

Peacetime Operations

During the spring of 1946, she took part as a support vessel in Operation Crossroads, the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll designed to test the effectiveness of nuclear weapons on warships. Over 200 warships participated in the experiments, 75 of them as targets, the rest as support vessels.

Rockwall was then transferred to the Amphibious Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, and soon began amphibious training operations in the Caribbean. On 15 March 1947, Rockwall decommissioned and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.

Second commission

The ship recommissioned 3 March 1951 at San Francisco. Her duties during the next 4 years were varied. Rockwall carried 1,500 Army troops to Bremerhaven, Germany in August 1952. The next spring, she took part in refresher training off Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In January 1954, the transport embarked Marines at Morehead City, North Carolina, for a 5-month tour of duty in the Mediterranean with the 6th Fleet. She returned to Norfolk, Virginia on 27 May and began a series of amphibious operations off the beaches of Virginia and Vieques Island near Puerto Rico.

Final decommission

Rockwall entered the Reserve Fleet again 4 June 1955 and decommissioned 28 September. On 1 December 1958, she was struck from the Navy List and was transferred to the custody of the Maritime Administration, after which she was berthed in James River, Virginia. She was disposed of by MARAD on 1 August 1983, final disposition is unknown.

Decorations

For her service in World War II, Rockwall earned one battle star.

References

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