USS Yolo (APB-43)


LST – 677 was laid down on 25 April 1944 at Ambridge, PA. by the American Bridge and Iron Company; launched on 16 June 1944; ferried down the Mississippi River to New Orleans; and commissioned there on 3 July 1944, Lt C. Homer Bast, USNR in command.

LST-677 conducted her shakedown training out of Panama City, Fl. and then loaded naval construction battalion (SeaBee) equipment at Gulfport, MS. for transport to combat staging areas. She put to sea from New Orleans on the morning of 8 August 1944, with a convoy bound for Cuba, then proceeded by way of the Panama Canal and San Diego to the Hawaiian Islands. She reached Pearl Harbor on 19 September and in the ensuing weeks, conducted amphibious warfare exercises at Maui with Army amphibious teams and their embarked tracked landing vehicles. The duty came to an end on 19 October when she moored at the amphibious repair dock at Waipio, Pearl Harbor, for conversion to a specialized type of support ship for amphibious operations.

LST-677’s conversion to a landing ship craft tender, or self propelled barracks ship, was completed by 21 January 1945. The ship reclassified initially to LST(M)-677 spent the following days taking on 406 tons of fresh, frozen, and dry provisions and embarking 315 officers and men for transportation to the Solomon Islands. She left Hawaii astern on the morning 2 February, proceeding by way of the Caroline’s to Okinawa. During the voyage to the next stop on the island-hopping campaign toward the Japanese home islands, LST(M)-677 was reclassified a self propelled barracks ship APB-43, and given the name Yolo, effective 31 March.

Yolo arrived off Okinawa on 1 April-D day for the strongly held island-and added to the gunfire that drove away enemy bombers that threatened the formation in which she was steaming. The following day she opened fire on a suicide plane, joining other ships nearby in putting up a devastating antiaircraft barrage that literally blew the planes to bits. That same day, she became the headquarters ship for the 70th Naval Seabee Pontoon Barge detachment and commenced tender duties that saw her service small craft alongside on 915 occasions. Yolo dispensed a grand total of 991 tons of issues – including 514 tons of dry provisions and 477 tons of frozen foods; delivered nearly 200.000 gallons of fuel; and handled more then 12,000 communications. Under day and night threat of enemy suicide planes and bombers she shot down one aircraft;assisted in the downing of three others; and witnessed the destruction of more then 50 enemy planes in the vicinity of her anchorage. Yolo’s duties at Okinawa terminated 28 June when she sailed for the Philippines with a convoy of amphibious vessels that reached San Pedro, Leyte, on 3 July. Upon her arrival she reported for duty to SerRon-10 on 22 July, she sailed for Subic Bay with fresh provisions for an attack transport and two attack cargo ships. She then embarked a draft of 50 men for passage back to Leyte. With the cessation of hostilities with Japan in mid-August 1945, Yolo became home for 255 men of SerDiv 101, awaiting occupation service in Japan. She headed out to sea on 3 September; joined a troop convoy off Batangas, Luzon; and proceeded thence to Tokyo Bay where she anchored on 15 September-less then a fortnight after the formal Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay.

Assigned to the Yokohama area, she provisioned small craft on an emergency basis and provided living quarters for men from various naval units until permanent facilities were established ashore. When Yolo’s occupation service in the Far East came to an end, she was rotated by way of the Panama Canal to Norfolk, VA. Where she was decommissioned on 9 August 1946. Assigned to the Norfolk Group of the Reserve fleet, Yolo remained in reserve until struck from the Navy list on 1 May 1959. She was removed from Navy custody on 5 February 1960 and sold to the J.C. Berkvit Company of New York City, and subsequently scrapped. Yolo won one battle star for her World War II service.

History Courtesy of Albert B. Moore (