USS Kleinsmith  

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Kleinsmith APD-134

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Kleinsmith

Charles Kleinsmith, born 28 September 1904 in Zionville, Pa., enlisted in the Navy 26 October 1922 as an apprentice seaman. Until honorably discharged 5 October 1926 as Fireman Second Class, he served on board several ships, including Wyoming (BB-32) and Maryland (BB-46). Kleinsmith reenlisted 20 December 1928, and during the next 11 years he had duty on board Milwaukee (CL-5), Cincinnati (CL-6), Portland (CA-33), and Honolulu (CL-48),. He reported on board Saratoga (CV-3) 27 December 1939 and transferred to Yorktown (CV-5) 31 October 1940. During the Battle of Midway 4 June 1942, Kleinsmith maintained auxillary power on Yorktown after an in-tense enemy bombing attack extinguished the fires in all boilers but one. Despite the stifling fumes, intense beat, and imminence of explosion, he performed courageously, enabling the fighting carrier to attain speed necessary for launching plances to oppose a Japanese aerial torpedo attack. At the end of the attack, Chief Watertender Kleinsmith was missing and presumed dead. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.

The name Kleinsmith was assigned to DE-376 31 May 1944, but construction of the ship was canceled 6 June 1944.

I

(APD-134: dp. 1,450; 1. 306'; b. 36'10"; dr. 13'6"; s. 23.6 k.; cpl. 204; a. 1 5", 6 40mm., 6 20mm., 2 dct.; el Crosley)

Originally designated DE-718, a Rudderow-class destroyer escort, Kleinsmith was redesignated as APD-134 on 17 July 1944; launched 27 January 1945 by Defoe Shipbuilding Co., Bay City, Mich.; sponsored by Mrs. Mary Agnes Kleinsmith; and commissioned at New Orleans 12 June 1945, Lt. Comdr. Alden J. Laborde in command.

After shakedown out of Guantanamo Bay, Kleinsmith arrived Norfolk 21 July. Departing 4 August for the Pacific, the high-speed transport steamed via San Diego and Pearl Harbor and reached Buckner Bay, Okinawa, 1 October. She operated between Okinawa and the Japanese home islands until 21 February 1946; then she sailed from Sasebo via the Marshalls and Pearl Harbor, arriving San Francisco 24 March with 118 returning veterans embarked. Departing 10 April, she proceeded via the Panama Canal to the East Coast, arriving Norfolk I May.

Based at Norfolk and Little Creek, Va., during the next 6 years, Kleinsmith operated along the Atlantic coast from Labrador to Venezuela while conducting amphibious and antisubmarine operations. She served primarily as an amphibious command ship; many of her cruises carried her into the Caribbean, where she operated out of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guantanamo Bay.

Returning from the Caribbean 13 February 1951, Kleinsmith, departed Little Creek 5 March on the first of four deployments to the Mediterranean. Arriving Gilbralter 15 March with UDT personnel embarked, she deployed with the mighty 6th Fleet and participated in amphibious operations that ranged from Oran, Algeria, to Phaleron Bay, Greece. After serving as amphibious control ship, she departed Gilbralter 26 June for the United States, arriving Little Creek 6 July. On 19 July 1952 she departed for a 4-month deployment with the 6th Fleet and supported its important peace-keeping activities off the troubled lands of the Mediterranean.

Returning to Little Creek 29 January 1955, Kleinsmith resumed operations along the eastern seaboard to the caribbean. On 9 January 1957 she again departed for duty with the 6th Fleet and for almost 3 months operated in the Eastern Mediterranean. In response to an urgent request from King Hussein of Jordan, whose government was threatened with leftist-oriented, Egyptian-supported subversion, Kleinsmith departed La Spezia, Italy, 25 April for the Levantine Coast. Arriving off Beirut, Lebanon, 30 April, she joined ships of the 6th Fleet in a formidable display of seapower, designed to show U.S. determination that the integrity and independence of nations in the Middle East would be guaranteed against Communist subversion or aggression. Remaining on station until 3 May, she then departed Rhodes, Greece, 18 May and returned to Little Creek 1 June.

In less than 3 months Kleinsmith sailed once again for the Mediterranean, arriving Palermo, Sicily, 15 September. During the previous August, a pro-Soviet takeover of the Syrian Army had threatened the stability of the Middle East. The high-speed transport proceeded to the Eastern Mediterranean 19 September and operated there to prevent aggression and to preserve peace. She departed Barcelona, Spain, 4 November arrived Little Creek 17 November.

In 1958 Kleinsmith continued her activities along the Atlantic coast. While operating out of Guantanamo Bay 24 October, she rescued 56 U.S. citizens and 3 foreign nationals at Nicaro, Cuba, where they were endangered by military operations between the Cuban Army and the Castro rebels. From 27 May to 3 August 1959 she cruised to the Great Lakes via the newly opened St. Lawrence Seaway. On 1 April 1960 Kleinsmith departed Little Creek for the Pacific. Steaming via San Diego, Pearl Harbor, and Guam, she arrived Tsoying, Taiwan 15 May. Kleinsmith decommissioned 16 May and was transferred the same day to the Nationalist Government of the Republic of China. At present she serves in the Nationalist Chinese Navy as Tien Shan (APD-215).