The LSM 287 was built by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company of Newark, New Jersey. On or about December 1st, 1944, the ship was delivered to Pier 42, North River, New York, New York for outfitting and preparation for sea duty. On the same date, LSM Training Ship Crew #7327 consisting of four Officers and forty-eight Enlisted Men, arrived in New York from Little Creek, Virginia with orders to facilitate the preparations, and put the ship into service.
On January 1st, 1945 the LSM 287 was commissioned as a ship of the U.S. Navy as recorded in the Deck Log on that date. After numerous inspections and a shakedown cruise in the Atlantic and in Chesapeake Bay, the ship was assigned to the Amphibious Training Base in Little Creek, Virginia, for duty as a training ship for new LSM crews. In May, after about four months of training ship duty, we left Little Creek and proceeded south, through the Gulf and the Panama Canal, and up to Long Beach and San Pedro, California. There we received some new, updated equipment and some additional personnel. From San Pedro, we went to San Francisco to pick up a load of pontoons for transport to the Pacific area. Our first destination was Hawaii.
At Pearl Harbor, we picked up thirty Petty Officers, mostly Radiomen, for transport to an undisclosed area. We stopped at Eniwetok, and Guam, and arrived at Saipan on August 8th, the day before the second atomic bomb was dropped. There were many, many ships in the anchorage, which were being assembled in preparation for the invasion of Japan. We found out later that the projected invasion of Japan was about November 1st, 1945. The dropping of the atomic bombs negated the need to invade Japan.
We were anchored at Saipan when we received word that the firing and bombing had stopped (to the best of our knowledge this was on August 11th). We celebrated all night long, as did all the other ships in the anchorage area, knowing that it would not be too long before we would be heading home. Fog horns and whistles were blowing, blinker signal lights were being used as searchlights, every ship was shooting tracer shells into the air, and there was absolute pandemonium. On August 15th, we received word that Japan had surrendered. Shortly thereafter, we were sent again to Guam, where we unloaded our pontoons and passengers, and picked up about twelve cherry pickers (small cranes with booms) and some more Navy personnel as passengers.
We unloaded the passengers at Okinawa and remained at anchor in Buckner Bay and Haguchi, Okinawa for some time with little to do except play cards. We had to go to sea because a typhoon was approaching. It was safer to go to sea than to risk being blown up on the beach, because typhoon winds were so strong that the anchor would drag and it would be impossible to keep control of the ship. On October 9th and 10th, we rode out the biggest typhoon that had hit the area in many years. We found out later it was named Louise. The winds were over one hundred miles per hour and the waves over sixty feet high. This was a terrible ordeal that none of us will ever forget. It was virtually impossible to control the ship and we bobbed around like a cork, praying that the ship would not break apart or capsize. We estimated that it lasted around thirty hours. When the typhoon ended, we anchored in a harbor in the Kerama Retto islands, and stayed there about two days to sleep and recoup from the battering of the storm. It is probably safe to say that every man aboard gave prayers of thanks when the storm was over. Our ship came through it quite well, we lost our smoke pots and some stanchions, but nothing serious. The cherry picker cranes remained secure throughout the entire typhoon. When we returned to Okinawa, the island was a shambles and Buckner Bay was filled with partially sunken ships and debris. Many ships were blown far up on the beach, some of them were large cargo ships, as well as many Navy ships, and most of them much larger than our ship.
We were again at anchor at Haguchi, Okinawa until November 3rd, when we received orders for Tsingtao in north China, where we unloaded some of our cherry picker cranes. We had our first liberty there since leaving Honolulu. Next stop was the Taku anchorage at the mouth of the Hai Ho (Peking) river, where we went up the river to Tientsin and unloaded the rest of the cranes. We then made several trips to load fresh and frozen provisions from refrigerator ships in the harbor, and carry them up the river for a Marine base which was being established in Tientsin. We also had more liberty and a chance to see some of the Chinese culture. On November 23rd we left for Saipan, and knew that we were on our way back to the States.
In Guam we picked up a group of thirty-one Army Engineers for transportation to Oahu. Arrival in Pearl Harbor was on December 23rd, and we discharged our passengers. The Christmas holidays were celebrated in Honolulu and then we left for San Diego. We arrived in San Diego on January 6th, 1946 and after receiving minor repairs to the ship, departed for Balboa, Canal Zone on January 26th, in company with LSM's 56, 65, 144 and the LCS 118. We went through the Panama Canal, leving Coco Solo, C.Z. on February 9, and proceeded solo (without other ships) through the Gulf of Mexico toward New Orleans.
We went up the Mississippi River to New Orleans on February 14th to get provisions and further assignment. Our orders were to go to Lake Charles, LA for decommissioning. A few days later, we went back down the Mississippi, then westward in the Gulf and up the Calcasieu river to Lake Charles, along with about fifteen other LSM's. We beached our ship for the last time on February 21st, with our bow lines secured to trees on the shore. We spent the next two months packing equipment, materials, supplies, and records for transfer to various Navy depots. The ships engines and larger equipment, anti-aircraft guns, etc. were packed with some type of heavy grease, and "moth-balled", in the event that it might ever become necessary to restore the ship to service. On May 2nd, 1946, the U.S.S. LSM 287 was decommissioned, and all remaining personnel were detached for separation from the U.S. Navy Reserve. It is our understanding that all of the LSM's decommissioned at Lake Charles were later sold for scrap to a material reclamation company.