US Army Vessel Lt. Col. John U.D. Page
from Kerry Myers (Deceased)
Displacement: 2,000 tons
Crew: 38 in peacetime, we ran with about 50
On the beach at Phan Rang
The ship was beached and retracted under its own power. Upon landing, the engine room would flood the forward ballast tanks with sea water. As I recall, tank #1 centerline held about 100,000 gallons and the port and starboard tanks held somewhat less. To get underway, the engine room would transfer the ballast from 1 centerline, port and starboard to the corresponding stern ballast tanks, labeled #7 port, centerline and starboard. Once off the beach, the skipper would call for trim as needed. The ship was also fitted with a retraction ram- a giant marshmallow-shaped steel pod attached to a hydraulic cylinder located under the beaching ramp. This was one of those Larry Lightbulb experiments which did not work in the real world. Instead of pushing the ship off the beach, the pod would simply bury itself in the sand.
Unloading at Phan Thiet next to civilian crewed WWII LST
Ports we visited during my two years aboard: from north to south: Da Nang, Chu Lai, Duc Pho, Qui Nhon, Tuy Hoa, Vung Ro, Nha Trang, Cam Ranh (home), Phan Rang, Phan Thiet, and Vung Tau.
Tide at Phan Rang
Note man standing under bow ramp.
& Pinion Gears
From 1 of 2 Vertical Axis Propellers
Propulsion System: The ship was powered by two Fairbanks-Morse Model 38D-8-1/8 opposed piston engines. The 8-1/8 in the model designation denotes the diameter of the cylinder bore in inches. Each engine had two pistons and two crankshafts. The pistons met in the middle where the diesel fuel was injected into the cylinders. These six cylinder engines developed 1,200 horsepower each at 850 rpm. An oil change required 190 gallons of HDO-30.
The power output of the two main engines was sent
through shaft alleys to the prop room where it was fed to two vertical
axis propellers. These
propellers each had five blades which were constantly adjusted
hydraulically to direct their thrust in any direction needed.
The original prop units were replaced in 1968 with new models which
allowed the bridge to control the pitch as well as the direction of the
In addition to the main engines described above, the engine room also held three 175KW generators, each powered by Caterpillar D-375 V-8 engines.
Strunk, Owens, French, Bucher, Cunningham
on the South China Sea
Approaching LST beach at Da Nang June 4, 1967
USNS Comet prepares to link up with the USAV Page April 8, 1967
In conjunction with the John Page, the Army developed two roll-on, roll-off freighters, the Comet and the Sea Lift. These ships had stern ramps which were designed to be lowered onto the deck of the Page. The two ships were held together during ro-ro operations by cables connected to two hydraulic cylinders on either side of the stern.
Ramp down, linkup nearly complete April 8, 1967 at CRB
En Route to Phan Rang
Bill Forges stands astride a load headed for the Air Force.
In Vietnam, the cargo we carried ranged from ammunition, including bombs and napalm for the Air Force, all varieties of wheeled and tracked vehicles, (we once moved a duster unit from Chu Lai to Phan Thiet), lumber, nonperishable food, barrels of oil, and the all-encompassing “general cargo.” More than anything else we carried munitions from the deepwater port of Cam Ranh Bay to beaches up and down the coast.