USS Crittenden (APA-77)
The USS Crittenden (APA-77) was a Gilliam-class attack transport named for counties in Arkansas and Kentucky. The vessel served late in World War II and during the occupation of Japan before being used as a test vessel for atomic bomb tests on the Bikini Atoll.
The USS Crittenden was built by the Consolidated Steel Corporation of Wilmington, California, under a contract from the U.S. Maritime Commission. It was launched on November 6, 1944, and christened by Mrs. W. R. Boyd. The Crittenden was transferred to the U.S. Navy on January 16, 1945, and commissioned a day later under command of Commander P. C. Crosley.
The USS Crittenden weighed 4,247 tons and was 426 feet long and fifty-eight feet wide, traveling at a top speed of 16.9 knots. It carried a crew of 293 men and twenty-seven officers and could transport up to 802 troops and forty-seven officers. Crittenden was armed with one 5-inch 38-caliber dual-purpose gun mount, four twin radar-directed 40-mm gun mounts, and ten single 20-mm gun mounts.
The USS Crittenden sailed from San Diego, California, on March 14, 1945, and trained at Pearl Harbor until May 24, after which it sailed to San Francisco, California, to carry troops and cargo to Okinawa, arriving on August 5. From there, it sailed to Manila and, from September 15 to October 21, transported occupation troops from Leyte to Wakayama and Mitsuyama, Japan, returning to Okinawa on October 27 and serving as part of the occupation service from November 4 to November 10.
Crittenden had the task of transporting American troops from Okinawa and Samar to the United States between November 10, 1945, and January 24, 1946. It sailed from San Diego on February 16, 1946, to take part in Operation Crossroads at the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Operation Crossroads involved an atomic air blast on July 1 and an undersea atomic explosion on July 25, the latter of which destroyed the USS Arkansas (BB-33).
On August 27, 1946, the USS Crittenden was taken to Kwajalein after the Operation Crossroads blasts and studied for the effects of the atomic bomb explosions. It was decommissioned the next day. Crittenden was towed to San Francisco on January 1, 1947, and then scuttled in an explosives test off San Clemente Island, California, on October 6. The vessel was struck from the navy list on October 21, 1948.
For additional information:
“Crittenden.” Dictionary of American Fighting Ships. https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/c/crittenden.html (accessed July 13, 2018).
“Operation Crossroads.” Atomic Heritage Foundation. https://www.atomicheritage.org/history/operation-crossroads (accessed July 13, 2018).
“USS Crittenden (APA-77).” NavSource Online. http://www.navsource.org/archives/10/03/03077.htm (accessed July 13, 2018).
Mark K. Christ
Little Rock, Arkansas
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