Begor

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USS Begor (DE-711) was laid down on 6 March 1943 at Bay City, Michigan, by the Defoe Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 25 May 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Katherine A. Begor, widow of the late Lieutenant (j.g.) Begor; reclassified as a high speed transport and redesignated APD-127 on 17 July 1944; and commissioned at New Orleans, La., on 14 March 1945, Lt. Comdr. Ben T. Brooks, USNR, in command.


Following shakedown training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during the first half of April, the high speed transport reported at Norfolk for amphibious training and shore bombardment exercises in Chesapeake Bay during the latter part of the month. On 28 April, she commenced an availability in the Norfolk Navy Yard that lasted a week. Begor got underway on 7 May for the Panama Canal as an escort for a convoy bound for the west coast. She transited the canal on the 14th and arrived at San Diego on the 22th. There, the warship received orders to continue on to Pearl Harbor where she arrived on 30 May. Begor remained in Hawaii from 30 May to 16 June undergoing voyage repairs and training with divers from Navy underwater demolition teams (UDT's).


She departed Pearl Harbor on 18 June screening a convoy bound for Ulithi, the forward base that served as the hub of her activities during the few remaining weeks of the war. Begor and her convoy stopped at Eniwetok from 25 to 27 June and reached her ultimate destination on 3 July. The next day, the warship left the lagoon as part of the escort for another convoy, this one headed for Leyte. She reached her destination on the 8th, carried out a brief availability, and then got underway to return to the Western Carolines on 10 July. Begor made repairs at Ulithi between 12 and 19 July before putting to sea in the screen of an Okinawa-bound convoy on the 20th. She shepherded one convoy to Okinawa on the 24th and departed again the next day. She reached Ulithi on 31 July. Subsequently, during a stint of local patrols on 4 August, she suffered damage to her port shaft that required her to enter the floating dry dock ARD-23 the next day for repairs.


The high speed transport resumed duty on 6 August patrolling the Ulithi anchorage. On 8 August, she stood out of Ulithi with another Okinawa-bound convoy and screened it safely into the anchorage at Naha on the 12th. She started out on the return voyage on the 13th but received orders that same day to rendezvous with William J. Pattison (APD-104) back at Okinawa and then to steam to Guam. During the voyage to Guam, Begor received news of Japan's capitulation on 15 August. She reached Guam on 17 August and began embarking UDT No. 21 on the 19th. She put to sea again on the 20th in company with William J. Pattison as escort for a group of LST's bound for a rendezvous with the 3d Fleet preparatory to the occupation of Japan.


On 27 August, Begor anchored in Miyata Wan, Japan, for two days and then got underway for beach reconnaissance at Futtsu Saki. The marines landed on that beach the next day, and Begor stood by to provide gunfire support if necessary. At 0631, the transport steamed into Yokosuka Naval Base, where her UDT cleared the docks for San Diego (CL-53) and also demilitarized the Japanese ships there. Begor moved offshore at Tateyama Wan on 31 August for more beach reconnaissance but later anchored in Tokyo Bay where she remained through the formal surrender ceremony on 2 September. Begor demilitarized submarines and destroyed suicide and midget submarines in various Japanese ports from 8 to 27 September before returning to Tokyo Bay where she received orders on 30 September to return to the United States.


After stops in Guam and Pearl Harbor, Begor reached San Diego on 21 October, then moved on to San Francisco on 30 November. The high speed transport remained active with the Pacific Fleet along the west coast until ordered to Bikini Atoll late in the spring of 1946. Begor anchored at Bikini Island on 5 June and remained until 3 August providing support services as a drone boat control vessel during Operation "Crossroads," the two atomic bomb tests carried out in July. The warship returned to Pearl Harbor for several weeks following the tests and then returned to the west coast in October. At that point, she resumed normal training duty with the Pacific Fleet.


That employment lasted until the following summer. Begor departed for the Far East on 7 July 1947, anchoring at Tsingtao, China, on 4 August for a six-month tour of duty. She returned to the United States in February 1948, but went back to China early in 1949. Her resumption of service in Chinese waters, however, proved very brief because of the communists' successful conquest of the country. By August of 1949, she had moved south to the Philippines where she carried out operations until late in the year.


For most of 1950, the warship conducted training missions out of San Diego. Late in the year, she embarked upon the first of her two tours of duty in the Korean conflict. Serving as flagship for Transport Division (TransDiv) 111, Begor arrived in the combat zone in December 1950 and spent the next eight months patrolling the Korean coast in support of the United Nations (UN) troops ashore. Once again, she served with UDT divers, carrying them to their areas of operations, inserting them, and then retracting them. One of her first missions came on the afternoon of the day before Christmas. Begor's embarked UDT No. 3, joined by 11 volunteers from her crew, was the last UN unit to leave Hungnam Harbor after blowing up selected targets in the dock areas during the evacuation of UN forces prompted by the massive Chinese communist intervention in late November. In addition to working with American UDT divers, she also occasionally transported British commandos on similar raids and reconnaissance missions behind enemy lines.


Begor returned to San Diego on 8 September 1951 and, after some post-deployment rest and relaxation, took up training duty along the west coast. In February 1952, she participated in the largest Pacific Fleet training exercise held since the end of World War II. The exercise, dubbed "Lex Baker One," took place off the coast of southern California with over 70 ships and more than 15,000 sailors and marines taking part. Later in the spring of 1952 she began an extended overhaul at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard. That fall, Begor returned to the western Pacific for her second tour of duty in the Korean conflict, reentering the war zone in mid-November 1952. Her duties consisted of more patrol and UDT landing operations, as well as visits to Hong Kong and open ports in Japan and Korea. After the armistice in July 1953, Begor aided in the exchange of prisoners of war before returning to the United States. Another overhaul, this one carried out at Long Beach, occupied her during the latter part of 1953 and the first weeks of 1954. The repairs ended in February, and she resumed normal operations out of San Diego until the summer.


In mid-July 1954, Begor received orders to a four-month assignment in Japan before being deactivated. Events in southeast Asia, however, forestalled her decommissioning; and, almost immediately after her arrival in Japan, the high speed transport received orders to proceed with a UDT embarked to French Indochina. There, Begor served as flagship for the embarkation phase of Operation "Passage to Freedom," evacuating anticommunist Vietnamese from Haiphong to Saigon on several trips, and later saw duty as flagship again during the disembarkation at Saigon. After performing these duties for almost four months, Begor steamed to Singapore for a port visit before returning to Japan. The warship arrived in San Diego on 23 March 1955, steaming in a convoy of Amphibious Squadron (PhibRon) 3 ships which were bringing troops of the 1st Marine Division home from Korea.


Begor got underway again for the Far East on 29 August 1955 having been stateside for only five months. She arrived in Yokosuka on 15 September and served as primary control vessel in three Marine Corps landing exercises held on Okinawa in October and November. The high speed transport then returned to the United States and spent the next three years in operations along the west coast.


On 20 April 1959, Begor was decommissioned and placed in the Pacific Reserve Fleet at San Diego, where she remained until the summer of 1961, when she was towed to San Pedro, Calif., for reactivation overhaul by the Bethlehem Steel Co. Shipyard.


Begor was placed in commission on 20 November 1961 in a dual commissioning ceremony with Weiss (APD-135). In mid-December, she returned to her home port of San Diego where she operated locally with Transport Squadron (TransRon) 5 until she was finally decommissioned on 13 July 1962. In a general reclassification, Begor became LPR-127 on 1 January 1969 but never saw active duty again. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 15 May 1975, and she was sold in December 1976 to the National Metal & Steel Corp., Terminal Island, Calif., for scrapping.


Begor earned six battle stars for her Korean service.[1]

References

  1. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships [1]
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