The USS Carter Hall LSD-3 was the first of two naval vessels named in honor of the Millwood, Virginia, estate of Lt. Col. Nathaniel Burwell. An Ashland-class dock landing ship, she was launched in March 1943, sponsored by Mrs. T. Wilson with Lt. Commander T.N. Harris in command; she was commissioned in mid-September 1943.
Service in World War II
The Carter Hall’s first assignment after sailing from San Francisco in the fall of 1943 was transporting passengers and cargo to Brisbane, Australia and Milne Bay, New Guinea, eventually arriving at Buna in May 1944. The Carter Hall participated in numerous invasion landings, standing ready to service small craft. Sailing toward Guadalcanal for amphibious training, she stood ready to participate in the invasion of Saipan.
With her services not required for Saipan’s invasion, the Carter Hall began preparations for the assault on Guam, where she stayed in the area servicing small craft until late July. Operations at Morotai requested her assistance by early September. Joining the Palo Attack Group of the Northern Attack Force, the Carter Hall supported the Battle of Leyte Gulf, carrying cargo to and from New Guinea and serving as a tender and supply ship for landing craft in San Pedro Bay through the remainder of 1944.
Out of commission for a three-month overhaul in Oakland, California, the Carter Hall resumed her naval service with travel to Subic Bay, transporting small craft and participating in the invasion of Brunai Bay and Balkipapan. In Leyte Gulf, she drydocked small craft until early September when called upon to head toward Korea to assist in the reoccupation at Jinsen.
After the War
In April, 1946, the Carter Hall was cleared for return to San Francisco, where the 7,930 ton vessel was decommissioned and placed in reserve. Overall, she received six battle stars for World War II service.
By January 1951, the Carter Hall had been re-commissioned for duty with the Atlantic Fleet and assigned a new homebase at Norfolk, Virginia. Over the next three and half years, Carter Hall participated in fleet exercises, salvage missions and training operations, with a five-month tour in Mediterranean waters during the first third of 1953 as part of the 6th Fleet, with a supply lift to Greenland accomplished later that year.
The Carter Hall returned to San Francisco and resumed service with the Pacific Fleet in early 1955, with subsequent training and fleet exercises in the Western Pacific undertaken in 1955, 1958, 1959, and 1960. During the summer of 1956, she was deployed to the Arctic for a supply mission.
On the last day of October, 1969, the Carter Hall was decommissioned and struck from the Register of Naval Vessels. N.W. Kennedy of Vancouver, British Columbia purchased this dock landing ship in 1970 for scrapping.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, some auxiliary vessels also posed a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common, especially on older ships, because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.