This was the ship that my Grandad Served on during WWII
After intensive shakedown along the California coast Gunston Hall prepared to sail for the Western Pacific, where she was to participate in every major operation from February 1944 to the end of the war, 18 months later. Loading 225 men from the 4th Marine Tank Battalion and 2 amphibious units, as well as 15 LVTs, 15 tanks, 17 LCMs, and 15,000 gallons of gasoline, Gunston Hall departed San Diego on 13 January 1944. On D-Day for the assault on Kwajalein, 1 February 1944, she stood offshore to unload her cargo as the Marines stormed the beaches on Roi and Namur Islands. Gunston Hall remained in the area to repair small craft until 6 February, when she reembarked her former passengers and equipment and sailed to Guadalcanal via Funa Futi. The pattern she set here held for her participation in eight further key invasion efforts in the Pacific as the Navy "Island-hopped" marines and Army troops ever closer to the Japanese home islands.
Through the rest of 1944, the versatile landing ship took part in the initial assault invasions of Emirau Island 20 March, of Hollandia on 22 April, Guam on 21 July, Peleliu Island on 15 September, and Leyte Island on 20 October. The last assault culminated in the momentous Battle for Leyte Gulf, one of history's greatest naval engagements. While not actually involved in an invasion effort, Gunston Hall trained troops and shuttled supplies and men from the rear islands to the staging areas.
In 1945 Gunston Hall participated in the initial assault landings at Luzon on 9 January, Iwo Jima on 19 February, and Okinawa on 1 April. After the first invasion waves went ashore at Okinawa, the Pacific's largest amphibious operation, involving over 1,200 ships and haIf a million men, Gunston Hall remained anchored at nearby Kerama Retto until 1 July to repair small craft. She was untouched by the enemy's fierce kamikaze attacks although she saw several other American ships hit and crippled.
Gunston Hall terminated her Pacific war duty 1 July 1945 as she sailed for a much-needed overhaul reaching Portland, Oregon on 26 July via Guam, Eniwetok, and Pearl Harbor. After a period of shuttling small craft along the West Coast, she anchored at San Diego in mid-December to repair small craft. Gunston Hall returned to the Pacific in 1946 to participate in one of the most significant series of scientific tests of the era. Departing San Diego 17 April, she reached Bikini Atoll on 6 May via Pearl Harbor for duties in connection with Operation Crossroads, the famous series of atomic bomb tests. Departing Bikini on 19 August, Gunston Hall returned to San Diego 3 October via Kwajalein and Pearl. Gunston Hall decommissioned 7 July 1947 at Terminal Island in San Francisco Bay.