Kyushu, Japan, September 1945
Type: LCS(L)(3)-1 Class Landing Craft Support (Large)(Mark 3)
Length: 158.5 feet
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USS LCS(L)(3)102 is the last survivor of the 130 LCS vessels build for the U.S. Navy. She was initially designed for close-in fire support during amphibious landings. The designers could not anticipate that these versatile ships would also perform fire fighting, towing, damage control, convoy escort duty, underwater demolition team support, anti-smuggling patrol, smoke screen (fog) generation, anti-suicide plane and boat operations, and the rescue and medical assistance for survivors of damaged ships.
LCS(L)(3)102 earned the China Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II victory Medal. When World War II ended, she was laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet, Astoria, OR. In 1949, she was reactivated and re-designated Landing Ship Support Large, USS LCSL-102. In 1953 she was loaned to Japan and served in the Japanese Navy as the JMSDF Himawari until 1966. LCS(L)(3)102 was then transferred to the Royal Thai Navy as NTMS Nakha where she served from 1966 until 2007. In 2007 the National Association of USS LCS(L)1-130, a veterans group of officers and enlisted men who served aboard one of the vessels took possession of the vessel.
The LCSs, known as the Mighty Midgets, saw combat at Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Philippines, Borneo, China and the Cccupation of Japan. Twenty-six of the LCSs were either sunk or damaged. The LCSs had the greatest firepower per ton than any ship ever build for the U.S. Navy. Although they had no names, just numbers, the LCSs distinguished themselves in battle. LCSs earned Presidential Unit Citations and Navy Unit Citations. Lt. Richard M. McCool, the Commanding Officer of USS LCS(L)(3)122 was the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Many of their crews were awarded Silver Stars, Bronce Stars, Commendation Medals, Navy and Marine Corps Medals, and Purple Hearts.
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