Montrose (APA-212) was laid down under Maritime Commission Contract 17 June
1944, by Permanente Metals Corporation, Richmond, California and launched 13
September 1944. She was sponsored by Mrs. Marcia C. Barnhart and commissioned
2 November 1944 with Commander H. G. Davis in command.
After shakedown off California, Montrose embarked troops at Seattle, Washington
and steamed to the Philippines, arriving at Leyte 21 February to prepare for the
invasion of the Ryutus. She participated in the landings in Kerama Retto 26 March
and on 2 April splashed two twin engine Bettys and a "Sure Assist" for a third. She
steamed to Menna Shima off Okinawa 15 April and disembarked units of the 306th
Field Artillery of the 77th Division. Four days later she took part in a diversionary feint
on the southwest tip of Okinawa, retuning to Menna Shima 23 April. Leaving the
Rukus she sailed to Ijlithi with Army casualties, en route to San Francisco to embark
She debarked these units at Manila 27 July. For the next 2 months she shuttled
troops between the Philippines and Hawaii. From 25 August to 24 October Montrose
was busy carrying occupation troops to Sasebo, Kyushu. She decommissioned 26
October 1946 and was assigned to the Reserve Fleet at Stockton, California.
After hostilities broke out in Korea, Montrose recommissioned on 13 September 1950
and arrived in Yokosuka, Japan on 8 January 1951 to help repel the Communist
invasion. She took troops to Inchon early in 1951 and in April, after a run to Hong
Kong the Montrose picked up "The King's own Scottish Borderers" and took them to
Korea. At Inchon the troops were landed in time to help stem the communists spring
offensive. Members of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders were returned to Hong
Kong. After visits to Yokosuka, Sasebo and Kobe, Japan the Montrose returned to
San Diego. She returned to Yokosuka 30 July 1952 and joined TF90, supporting
operations off Korea until returning to San Diego 6 December.
Again in March 1953 Montrose returned to the Far East and operated off Korea until
November 1953 before returning to Seattle and for a complete overhaul.
She returned to Japan in March 1954 and took part in training exercises from Iwo
Jima to Korea. When Communism threatened in Indochina, she sailed to Haiphong to
evacuate refugees from there to Saigon as part of Operation "Passage to Freedom".
This lift was to become the largest civilian evacuation by sea in history. By 12
September Montrose had evacuated 9,060 people for which all hands were
congratulated by Commodore Winn USN, for carrying "The Mostest the Fastest". She
sailed home, arriving in San Diego 21 November.
In March 1955 she steamed again for japan, disembarking members of the 3rd
Marine Division. Between April and November she helped train south Korean
amphibious forces and operated off the Japanese coast which included a massive
search in June for two Marine aviators who went down off the coast of Honshu.
Comtrans Div 52 embarked on board and assumed the duties of Commander, Task
Group 36.8. With the Montrose as the flagship, sixteen ships searched an area
covering over 100,000 square miles. Reluctantly after 9 days of unsuccessful
searching, on 4 July the task force was dissolved and Montrose returned to San
Diego in November.
She spent the early part of 1956 in the yards at Long Beach, California and the
proceeded to the Far East for operations in the Bay of Siam in October. "Operation
Teamwork" was a joint exercise with the 3/9 Marines and the Royal Thai Marines.
Upon its completion Montrose pulled into Bangkok for a couple of days of R&R. In
July Montrose went to Hawaii for "Operation Tradewinds". While there she
participated in the filming of the movie "South Pacific". She arrived back in San Diego
in early 1957 and for the next 5 months was in local operations. In September she
took part in a cold weather exercise in Kodiak, Alaska.
In early 1958 Montrose had a short yard period in Portland, OR. March saw
Montrose once again prepare for WestPac. On 12 June 1958 Montrose again set
sail for the Far East. Montrose spent several months training her troops. During this
trip she was sent to Lebanon. She went through "The Straits of Malacca" at
Darkenship. Montrose got as far as the Indian Ocean before being turned back to
Singapore to wait two weeks. In October Montrose relieved Skagit as station ship,
Hong Kong B.C.C. The Montrose departed Japan in early November for San Diego.
In 1959 Montrose participated in a number of operations off the coast of California
and Hawaii with "Twin Peaks" in May being the largest.
In September of 1960 Montrose once again headed to WestPac. Montrose had a
Christmas Party for three orphanages in Japan. One, the Hakvaien was adopted by
the Montrose. She then came back stateside and finished 1960 with operation "Sea
Wall" in Washington state.
On 12 June 1962 Montrose was headed west again, for the Far East. Montrose
visited the ports of Hong Kong, Manila and Buckner Bay, Okinawa. In Hong Kong the
crew of Montrose and BLT 2/3 helped the residents in recovering from the damage
caused by the passing of typhoon "Wanda". In addition to donating blood, clothing
and money, they assisted in search and rescue efforts. Montrose returned to San
Diego in December 1962 and had a four month Fram II conversion in 1963 in San
In January of 1964 Montrose departed for West Pac. Montrose took part in
"Operation backpack" in Formosa. She paid a visit to Kobe, Japan and followed up
with almost constant ops for the remainder of the cruise. Montrose returned to
CONUS in August of 1964. Montrose also participated in the filming of "In Harm's
Way" in July of 1964.
On 10 January 1965 Montrose sailed for Pearl Harbor to pick up a load of Marines to
bring back to California for "Operation Silver Lance". During off loading the troops at
San Clemente Island orders came to back load them and take them to Okinawa. It
seems Vietnam was heating up. After unloading in Okinawa she returned to CONUS.
Again in 1965 Montrose departed San Diego in August for West Pac. Montrose took
a full load of troops and combat cargo to Okinawa. In the months of October,
November and December, Montrose as part of the amphibious ready group
conducted several very successful strikes against Viet Cong strongholds. Montrose
took part in Operations "Blue Marlin", "Dagger Thrust I and II" and "Harvest Moon".
Montrose helped teach the Viet Cong that they would never be safe from attack from
the sea at any place or any time. On Christmas Eve Montrose departed Vietnam for
Okinawa for rotation of fresh troops.
In January of 1966 Montrose took part in "Operation Double Eagle", the largest
operation since the Korean War. Montrose returned to San Diego in April of 1966.
She went to Portland, Oregon in June for the Rose Festival and went in to the ship
yard in San Francisco, California for four months.
In February of 1967 Montrose once again headed west. On 23 March Montrose
relieved the Henrico on station at the mouth of the Long Tau River near the Vung Tau
republic of Vietnam. This period of duty was difficult for most but a sense of
satisfaction came in knowing that the Montrose was making an important contribution
to the establishment of the Navy's first Riverine Force since the Civil War. With that,
river Assault Flotilla One was on board the Montrose. The men of the Montrose also
volunteered in the nearby fishing villages of Can Gio Dong Hoa, Thanh An and Can
Thanh to help paint, build and administer medical and dental care. Montrose was
relieved by the Benewah in late April. A major disturbance at the DMZ took Montrose
to anchorage off the Cua Viet River Republic of Vietnam. The ship's boats were
required to deliver their cargo up the river to the Marine Base at Dong Ha. During the
operation Montrose boats came under light sniper fire but suffered no casualties.
However while anchored, Montrose herself came under hostile fire for the first time
since 1945. This was 25 May 1967 and after unloading Montrose made another
round trip from Okinawa to Hue, Republic of Vietnam. En route to Hong Kong,
Montrose received a distress call from Merchantman Winsome. She was on fire and
by the time Montrose arrived she had sunk. The crew was rescued by another ship.
On 27 July Montrose arrived in the Tonkin Gulf to pick up a group of midshipmen.
Montrose headed home 26 August and arrived 16 September.
Montrose had a short stay stateside for upkeep and leave. Montrose was adopted
by the Montrose School in Montrose, California. Members of the crew paid visits to
the school. On Navy Day Montrose paid a visit to Santa Monica, California.
On 1 August 1968 Montrose got under way for her last West Pac tour. Montrose
went to Subic Bay, Philippines. Montrose had a number of lifts in to Da Nang,
Republic of Vietnam. Her stay at Sasebo, Japan was cut short due to typhoon Della.
She rode the storm out at the typhoon anchorage. Montrose's next lift was from
Subic Bay, Philippines to Nha Be, Republic of Vietnam. Nha Be was a P.B.R. base
about 10 miles south of Saigon. Montrose picked up some boats at Nha Be and took
them to the River Patrol Squadron located by the Cua Viet River (DMZ). She went 30
miles south to "Tan My", which is at the mouth of the Perfume river. Hue Republic of
Vietnam is located 10 miles up the Perfume River.
In December 1968 Montrose paid a visit to Singapore to run Liberty boats for the
battleship New Jersey. Montrose detoured to cross the equator. Christmas Day was
spent at Cam Ranh Bay. On 26 December Montrose towed the USS Gallup, a high
speed gun boat, to Subic Bay, Philippines for repairs.
On 17 January 1969 Montrose departed for Bangkok, Thailand to pick up Royal
Thailand Army volunteer force and take them to Saigon. It took 3 round trips to
Montrose returned to San Diego on 27 March 1969. On 2 November 1969 USS
Montrose APA/LPA 212 was stricken from the list of naval ships. That was 25 years
to the day that she started her naval career. Also, Captain H.G. Davis (then
Commander) put her into commission and another Captain Davis, Captain Jack E.
Davis put her out of commission. In 1970 the Ziddell Corporation of Portland, Oregon
cut the USS Montrose up for scrap.
She was a fine lady who was manned by fine crews from start to finish.