History of The USS Satyr (ARL-23)
December 6, 1998
USS Satyr was laid down as LST-852 on 16 August 1944 by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Co. Seneca, IL launched on 13 November 1944 and commissioned on 27 November 1944, with Lt. Wm. J. Gavigan, USNR, in command. Following her initial commissioning LST-852 proceeded to Jacksonville, FL. converted to a landing craft repair ship and re-commissioned as the Satyr (ARL-23) on 28 April 1945. During the next month, she underwent training exercises in Chesapeake Bay; and on 3 June, she departed the east coast for the Panama Canal, California and duty in the Pacific Fleet. By the end of July, the ARL had crossed the International Date Line.10 August 1945, she joined the Pacific Fleet’s Amphibious Force at Guam. Ten days later, she continued west in a convoy of LST’s and APD’s; but a collision the next day sent her to Saipan for repairs to her bow doors. Repairs were completed on the 28th.
Commissioning 1945 – Courtesy of Mike O’Neal
10 September, she sailed for Okinawa, where she continued on to Japan for occupation duty. 2 September 1945, she anchored in Tokyo Bay off Yokosuka. 1 October 1945, she cleared the bay, moved north to Hakkaido and operated out of Otaru for two months. She then returned to Yokosuka where she joined ServDiv 102. In April 1946, she shifted to the China Coast. Then in July, she returned to Japan and at mid-month sailed for the United States. Steaming via Pearl Harbor, Satyr arrived in California in September and for the next 10 months, operated out of San Pedro in support of various amphibious commands., she was decommissioned and berthed with the San Diego Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet.
Early August 1950, the Satyr was ordered activated, and 8 September was re-commissioned.
23 October 1950, she assumed duties as landing craft tender at San Diego. For the next four months, she supported units training off southern California.
2 March 1951, she headed west toward Japan and the Korean peninsula.
7 April 1951, she arrived in Yokosuka and departed on the 24th. 28 April 1951, she took up duties as a landing craft tender at Pusan and continued that service until mid July. She then returned to Japan where she provided similar services at Sasebo and Yokosuka and participated in amphibious training exercises in northern Honshu and Hokkaido.
14 December 1951, she headed back to California and tender duties at San Diego.
After the cessation of open hostilities in Korea, Satyr returned to the Far East. Arriving in Yokosuka on 21 September 1953, she participated in amphibious assault exercises in northern Japan during October; provided tender services in Service Division 31 into January 1954; participated in further exercises in the Ryukyu, Bonin, and Volcano Islands and supported Sea Bee operations at Buckner Bay into March. She then sailed for Yokosuka to prepare for re-crossing the Pacific to California. Returning to San Diego in early May, Satyr performed tender services there until 1 October when she was transferred to Long Beach and assigned to Amphibious Squadron 7 for operational control.
11 October 1954, she sailed for her new home port, whence she operated until again ordered inactivated in January 1956. She then returned to San Diego.
17 April 1956, she was again decommissioned and berthed with the Pacific Reserve Fleet. December 1966, the ARL was ordered reactivated a second time. 1967 was spent in New Orleans for modernization.
15 February 1968, she was re-commissioned at the Naval Support Activity, Algiers, LA; and a month later, she headed for San Diego, her homeport. Refresher training was completed at the end of May. 5 June 1968, she sailed for the western Pacific. 5 July 1968, she arrived at Subic Bay; and on the 10th, she anchored at Vung Tau, Republic of Vietnam. The next day, Satyr moved into the Mekong Delta. 12 July 1968, she joined TF 117, the Mobile Riverine Force. Based primarily in Dong Tam, she operated throughout the delta area. 25 July 1968, she proceeded to the junction of the Soi Rap and Vam Co Rivers, near Nha Be, where she operated for nearly two months. 16 September 1968, she returned to Dong Tam. Early October 1968, she supported operations in the Vinh Long area and toward the end of the month, she entered the Bassac River and proceeded to the Can Tho area. November 1968, she supported units at Long Xuyen, Dai Ngai and Can Tho. December 1968, in mid-December, she moved into the Gulf of Thailand to support units participating in operation “SEALORDS.” On the 23rd, she escorted boats to Rach Gia, whence she returned to Can Tho, arriving on the 26th to resume support operations for TG 117.2.
July 1969, TF 117 was dissolved and operational control of Satyr shifted to Commander, Naval Support Activity, Saigon. Into January 1970 she operated in the vicinity of the Song Ong Doc. In May, the Satyr moved up the Mekong River and into August, supported American and Vietnamese naval and marine units involved in “Tran Hung Dao I, VII, XI, XVII, and XVIII”. Mid December 1970, the Satyr was back in the Mekong Delta area. With one run to Long Xuyen, she remained in the Tan Chau area until 15 February 1971 and then returned to Long Xuyen where she operated until decommissioned and transferred to the South Vietnamese Navy on 30 September 1971. The same day she was re-commissioned as the VNS Vinh Long (HQ-802). With the fall of the South Vietnamese Government she left for the Philippines where she served as Yakal in the Philippine Navy.
Awards earned during the Vietnam War: Presidential Unit Citation, (4) Navy Unit Commendations, RVN Gallantry Cross with Palm, RVN Civil Action Medal, First Class, with Palm, RVN Campaign Medal with 60’s device and the Vietnam Service Medal with (8) Battle Stars.