USS Champion AM-314  

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Champion-AM-314

Champion III
(AM-314: dp. 890; 1. 221'2"; b. 32'2": dr. 10'9"; s. 18 k.,
cpl. 106; a. 1 3"; cl. Auk)

The third Champion (AM-134) was launched 12 December 1942 by General Engineering and Dry Dock Co. Alameda, Calif., and commissioned 8 September 1943 Lieutenant Commander J. H. Howard, Jr., USNR, in command.

Clearing San Diego 7 December 1943, Champion arrived at Pearl Harbor 13 December. Between 8 January and 4 March 1944, she was assigned the task of guarding vital shipping between Pearl Harbor and San Francisco. More direct support to frontline operations came from 18 March to 10 April, when she escorted two resupply convoys to Tarawa, after which she screened a convoy to Kwajalein from 19 April to 7 May in support of the Marshalls operation. After a short overhaul, She sailed to Saipan for minesweeping operations and local escort duty in late June, then returned to Pearl Harbor for more extensive overhaul. From 13 September to 17 November, she guarded convoys from Pearl Harbor to Eniwetok and Saipan, before training for the Iwo Jima Operation.

Champion arrived off Iwo Jima 16 February 1946, as the preliminary 3-day bombardment of the island began. Except for the period 21 February to 4 March, when she sailed escorting unloaded assault shipping to Saipan, from which she returned with resupply echelon, Champion remained off Iwo Jima until 7 March. After provisioning and fueling at Ulithi, she sailed for Kerama Retto and Okinawa. In these dangerous waters she conducted minesweeping operations, and served in screens, from 24 March to 19 June, aside from a convoy escort voyage to Saipan from 26 April to 19 May. On 16 April, a suicide plane crashed close aboard Champion spraying debris which slightly damaged her, and wounded four of her men. She returned to Seattle 20 July for an overhaul which lasted through the end of the war.

In support of Far Eastern occupation activities, Champion sailed from San Pedro 4 December 1946 called at Pearl Harbor and Eniwetok, and arrived at Sasebo, Japan, 1 February 1948. From this port she swept mines and patrolled in Tsushima Straits until 6 December, when she cleared for the west coast. Champion was decommissioned and placed in reserve at San Diego 30 January 1947. She was reclassified MSF-314 7 February 1966.

Champion received three battle stars for service in World War II.