USS Suisun AVP-53 (1944-1966)

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The USS Suisun was a small seaplane tender. The Suisun was a Barnegat-class ship in the United States Navy. It was was put down on October 4th, 1942 at Houghton, Washington by the Lake Washington Shipyard. On March 14th, 1943, the ship launched.  Mrs. Marty sponsored it, on September 1944, under the command of Commander James. J. Vaughan, Suisun was commissioned. Suisun went to San Diego, California, after fitting out, one October 18th 1944 for the ships’ shakedown cruise that lasted until November 21st 1944. Next, the Suisun had a post shakedown yard period of availability.

On December 7th 1944, the Suisun left the U.S. West Coast headed for Hawaii. On December 14th, 1944, the Suisun arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and on December 18th, 1944 the Suisun left for Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands area. The ship stayed at Eniwetok from December 26th until January 1st of 1945 when it sailed onto the Marianas Islands. The Suisun then left for the Ulithi Atoll in Caroline Islands for 3 days. She was underway on January 13th, 1945 for the Kossol Passage in the Palau Islands and carried on there until February 5th, 1945 when it came back to Ulithi. The ship sailed on April 8th, 1945 to the Marianas and worked there until mid April 1945.

On April 20th, 1945, the Suisun left the Saipan area and came to Kerama Retto, Ryukyu Islands and anchored there. She looked after seaplanes until forced to depart for Saipan on June 15th. On June 26th, 1945, the Suisun came back to Kerama Retto and continued seaplane tending in that area throughout the ending of hostilities that were with Japan on August 15th, 1945, which served to bring a close to World War II.

On August 16th, 1945, the Suisun left Kerama Retto and headed for Japan. On August 28th, 1945, the ship accessed Tokyo Bay and was known as the 8th allied ship to come do so at the close of the war. She was present on September 2nd 1945 for Japan’s formal surrender ceremony.  The Suisun worked in the Tokyo Bay area until November 16th, 1945 when she left for Pearl Harbor. She was decommissioned in October 1966 and sunk as a target.

The USS Suisun is recognized with 2 battle stars for service in World War II.

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.


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