History of The USS St. Francis River (LSMR-525) – (LFR-525)
March 16, 1999
LSMR-525 was laid down on 19 May 1945 by the Brown Shipbuilding Co., Inc., Houston, Texas; Launched on 16 June 1945; and commissioned on 14 August 1945.
Ordered inactivated after shakedown, LSMR-525 reported to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet on 25 October and was decommissioned on 28 March 1946. She was berthed at Green Cove Springs, Fla., until ordered activated after the outbreak of hostilities in Korea. Recommissioned on 16 September 1950, LSMR-525 entered the Korean combat zone on 17 July 1951, firing rockets at enemy positions at Wonsan. Operating out of Japan, she continued to carry out fire support missions against Wonsan into the fall. In mid-December, she returned to San Diego and remained on the west coast during 1952. Departing San Diego on 12 January 1953, she arrived off Korea on 24 March, and served as gunfire support ship for the defense of Sok To, an island located on the west coast of Korea southwest of Pyongyang and Chinampo. After the truce, she returned to San Diego, arriving on 28 August. A little over a year later, on 20 September 1954 she sailed west again for her first post-Korean Conflict deployment. Routine operations took her into 1955; when, in February, she covered the evacuation of the Tachen Islands. Returning to the west coast, LSMR-525 resumed 1st Fleet duties, and, on 1 October, she was named USS St. Francis River. Decommissioned on 21 November that year, she entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet.
Re-commissioned on 18 September 1965 at San Francisco, she departed San Diego on 8 February 1966 and sailed for her new homeport of Yokosuka, Japan. From Japan, she steamed south and arrived at Danang, South Vietnam, on 19 April, to begin operations in support of Allied forces fighting along the coast and in the Mekong Delta area. Rearmed regularly at Cam Ranh Bay and overhauled periodically at Yokosuka, St. Francis River provided rocket fire in support of Allied forces in South Vietnam from 1966 through 1969. During that period, her ability to coordinate her operations with the tactical situation ashore resulted in an impressive number of successful support missions.
Reclassified as an LFR on 1 January 1969, St. Francis River was decommissioned and struck from the Navy list on 17 April 1970. She was sold in November 1970 to Nissho-Iwai American Corp., Sasebo, Japan, for scrapping.
Awards earned during the Vietnam War: Combat Action Ribbon, (2) 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 (10) Battle Stars.