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The Whetstone was decommissioned and placed in reserve in San Diego, California on 20 October, 1948.

Her sojourn in mothballs was a short one, though, for the North Korean assault on South Korea, hurled across the 38th parallel on 25 June 1950, caused a drastic naval build-up. Many World War II-vintage men-of-war were taken out of reserve and activated for service; some ships whose postwar careers had been very short -- like Whetstone -- were also placed on active duty.

Accordingly, Whetstone was re-commissioned on 2 December 1950. During the Korean conflict, Whetstone proved her worth in support of UN operations in that war, conducting two deployments to Korean waters -- first from April to November of 1951 and second from December of 1952 to the end of the hostilities in July 1953.

In the first deployment, she took part in a notable operation -- the recovery of a Soviet-built MiG 15 fighter. On 9 July word was received in the upper echelons that a MiG had been downed in the shoal waters off the mouth of the Chongchon River. The initial plot proved inaccurate, however, and planes from the British aircraft carrier HMS Glory sighted the MiG a few miles offshore, 33 miles north of the estuary of the Taedong River. "Risky and navigationally difficult" to reach, the site lay less than 10 minutes' flight time from enemy air bases. Nevertheless, the risks to be run seemed acceptable -- especially in view of the fact that no MiG's had thus been available for inspection to see what made them "tick."

Whetstone loaded a special crane-equipped utility craft ( LCU ) at Inchon -- the port at which the LSD had arrived, from Sasebo, Japan, on 12 June -- and sailed for Cho Do Island on the 19th of July. The multinational effort proceeded apace despite the initial grounding of the LCU on a sand bar and, by the evening of the 22d, had proceeded to a successful conclusion.

Whetstone's sister ship Epping Forest (LSD-4) took the LCU and its precious cargo aboard and sailed for Inchon. Whetstone remained in Korean waters, operating out of Sasebo, into September and returned again to those climes twice in November. She sailed for the United States on 5 December and reached San Diego, Calif. via Wake Island, two days before Christmas of 1951.

The dock landing ship remained at San Diego undergoing post-deployment availability until 5 February, when she shifted to Port Hueneme. She operated locally in southern Californian waters -- touching at San Diego, Aliso Canyon, Long Beach, San Pedro and Port Hueneme -- into the summer of 1952. Visiting Bangor, Wash., from 14 July to 7 October, Whetstone departed that port on the latter day, bound for San Diego.

She lingered on the west coast until 1 December, when she set sail for the western Pacific. Touching briefly at Pearl Harbor en route, Whetstone reached Yokosuka, Japan, on 22 December and spent Christmas in that port before she shifted to Sasebo on the 28th, reaching her destination on the last day of the year Whetstone subsequently returned to Inchon two days into the new year, 1953, and remained there until the 8th, when she got underway to shift to Cho Do. The dock landing ship shuttled between Japan and Korean ports, frequenting Sasebo, Yokosuka, Wonsan, Inchon, Tokchokto, Nagoya, and the operating areas off the western coast of Korea through the summer of 1953 and the armistice that ended hostilities.

 Whetstone operated in the Far East into late September 1953; she sailed for the west coast of the United States on 30 September and, after stopping at Kwajalein and Pearl Harbor en route, reached San Diego on 26 October. There, she spent the remainder of the year.

During her next Western Pacific (WestPac) tour Whetstone returned to the Far East, touching at familiar ports. She also took part in Operation "Passage to Freedom," the movement of North Vietnamese to the South after the partition of the country in observance of the Geneva accords that ended the French-Viet Minh hostilities. For that evolution, the dock landing ship departed Yokosuka on 14 August and reached Haiphong on the 22d. She subsequently touched at Saigon and Tourane, as well as Haiphong -- the firstnamed port four times, the second twice, and the lastnamed six. Completing her participation in that humanitarian operation on Armistice Day (11 November) 1954, Whetstone departed Haiphong on that date, bound for Hong Kong and Subic Bay in the Philippines.

Text Box: President
Jim Dunn
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L. E (Rusty) Draper
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The Rolling Stone is a Quarterly publication of the USS Whetstone LSD-27 Association, INC. The Association is a non profit, historical and educational    organization dedicated to promoting fraternal, civic, patriotic and historical memories of those who served aboard.
 
 
 
 

Text Box: September 2005


 

Text Box: 32nd Edition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

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