USS Onslow (AVP-48)

USS Onslow (AVP-48)

USS "Onslow" (AVP-48) was a sclass|Barnegat|seaplane tender commissioned by the U.S. Navy for use in World War II. "Onslow" tended to seaplanes, and served in the volatile Pacific War in combat areas that provided her four battle stars by war's end and another battle star for her work in Korea.

"Onslow" (AVP–48) was laid down 18 May 1942 by Lake Washington Shipyard, Houghton, Washington; launched 20 September 1942; sponsored by Mrs. W. W. Fitts; and commissioned 22 December 1943, Comdr. Alden D. Schwarz in command.

World War II Pacific Theatre operations

After shakedown, "Onslow" sailed, on 19 March 1944, for Kwajalein via Pearl Harbor and Majuro for duty with Task Group 57.3.

Assigned cleanup of Ujelang

On 20 April, "Onslow" was given the task of cleaning up Ujelang, a small island in the Marshalls, occupied by enemy troops. Embarking troops of the 111th Infantry, U. S. Army, she rendezvoused with "YMS–91" on the 21st. The following morning, 160 men were put ashore to cover the island. They met resistance at the center of the island from 18 entrenched Japanese soldiers, who were killed, with no American casualties. During this time, "Onslow" came under attack by a twin-engined "Betty", which was driven off by 5-inch fire. Onslow returned to Kwajalein on the 25th and resumed tending planes.

Rescuing downed pilot on a raft

After six weeks, "Onslow" was sent to Eniwetok, arriving 10 June. On the 15th, in company with USS|Downes|DD-375, she screened for USS|Pocomoke|AV-9 enroute to Saipan. While on this passage she rescued a downed fighter pilot who was adrift in a raft, 25 miles off Saipan. Three days after the initial landings "Onslow" took up duties tending the planes of Patrol Squadron 16.

Japanese swimmers attack seaplanes

On the morning of 10 September, two Japanese swam from the island and succeeded in climbing aboard one of the moored Cues undetected. They proceeded to blow the plane up with hand grenades and a boat was dispatched from the ship to assist the plane crew. The first boat was driven back under fire, but two additional boats joined in and they were then able to reach the plane and kill the boarders. However gunfire set the plane's fuel ablaze destroying it; the crew was saved.

Supporting the Palau Islands invasion

"Onslow" with USS|Chandeleur|AV-10, USS|Yakutat|AVP-32, USS|Mackinac|AVP-13, and "Pocomoke" sailed on 12 September to participate in the invasion of the Palau Islands. At noon on the 16th the formation entered Kossol Passage. For 12 days they tended planes under adverse conditions: floating mines, dangerous coral heads and rough water, not to mention the presence of enemy planes and subs.

Rescuing downed plane

On 13 November "Onslow" sped out to recover a Mariner seaplane down at sea with engine failure and towed it 275 miles to Ulithi.

Attacked by midget submarines

She then returned to Kossol Passage. On 12 January, three midget enemy submarines entered the harbor, and the ships spent the day dodging coral heads trying to ferret out the elusive little subs. One of the midget submarines was sunk with the other two escaping.
17 January 1945, "Onslow" moved to Ulithi and on the 19th she steamed for Guam. She then spent two months at Saipan beginning 20 January, providing services to CASU 48 bowser boats and the crews of two crash boats.

Supporting the invasion of Okinawa

On 23 March, she got underway for the invasion of Okinawa. Along with "Yakutat", USS|Shelikof|AVP-52, and USS|Bering Strait|AVP-34, she convoyed USS|Hamlin|AV-15, USS|St. George|AV-16, and "Chandeleur" from Saipan to Kerama Retto, arriving on 28 March. Upon anchoring, the ships began to lay out a seadrome and by the next day, were operating on a regular schedule with 60 Mariner seaplanes.

Helping to splash a Japanese plane

Here the tender's work was more difficult than ever before. Many of the planes were damaged by the enemy or by the heavy seas. Because of their frequency, it became necessary to ignore enemy air raids at times. On one occasion she assisted in splashing one Japanese fighter which was making a dive on her.

Helping collect Japanese troops

Beginning about 1 June many of the enemy troops isolated on the small islands began coming to the beaches to surrender. "Onslow" would notify the proper commands and often furnish shallow draft boats to assist the Army in picking them up. On 6 August, "Onslow" received orders to escort "Chandeleur" to Eniwetok via Saipan. She transferred all squadron personnel and equipment to USS|Duxbury Bay|AVP-38 and departed Okinawa. The cessation of hostilities was declared on 15 August, the same day she entered port.

End-of-war activity

Upon leaving Eniwetok, "Onslow" embarked military passengers for Pearl Harbor and the States, beginning a tour on "Operation Magic Carpet" duty.

Reactivated for Korean War duty

"Onslow" remained active for some time following the end of the war, participating in the Asian occupation until 10 January 1947. She was placed out of commission in reserve in June 1947, but was reactivated in January 1951 to serve in the Korean conflict. She operated on a rotational basis, finishing four tours in the Western Pacific prior to 1955. During these tour periods, she spent most of her time in Iwakuni, Japan tendering planes. She provided services during the initial establishment of the Naval Air Station there in 1952.

Post-war stateside duties

From 24 June 1955 to 3 April 1956, "Onslow" began a long tour of stateside duty, homeported at Alameda, California. Following this tour she began another WestPac cruise,serving as thje Station Ship in Hong Kong until Aug. 1957. Returning stateside again, "Onslow" provided services for various commands on the U.S. West Coast, with interim periods for upkeep and training.

Final decommissioning

"Onslow" decommissioned 22 April 1960 and was struck from the U. S. Naval Vessel Register on 1 June 1960. She was sold on 18 October to the Philippine Presidents Line, Inc.

Military awards and honors

"Onslow" earned four battle stars for service in World War II.


See also

* List of United States Navy ships

External links

* [ Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]

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