USS Laurens (APA-153) was a Haskell-class attack transport acquired by the U.S. Navy during World War II for the task of transporting troops to and from combat areas.
Laurens, an attack transport, was launched by Oregon Shipbuilding Corp., Portland, Oregon, under Maritime Commission contract; sponsored by Mrs. James C. Black; acquired by the Navy 7 September 1944; and commissioned the same day, Capt. A. R. Ponto in command.
World War II service
After shakedown along the California coast, Laurens departed Oakland, California, 26 October 1944, arriving Lae, New Guinea, 12 November. For the next month she operated out of New Guinea and New Caledonia, training in preparation for the Lingayen Gulf landings. Forwarded to Guadalcanal in mid-December, Laurens loaded over 1,400 troops and proceeded to Manus, Admiralty Islands.
Landing troops in the Philippine Islands
Laurens departed Manus 2 January 1945 and arrived in Lingayen Gulf to land troops off San Fabian, Philippine Islands, 9 days later. She stood out of Lingayen Gulf on the 12th, returning to New Guinea 27 January. During February she made another cruise to the Philippines transporting forces to Leyte and remained there in preparation for the Okinawa campaign.
Landing troops onto the beaches of Okinawa
On 27 March 1945 Laurens steamed out of Leyte Gulf for Okinawa, doorstep to Japan. The first wave of troops hit the beach 1 April 1945 while Laurens arrived in the transport area 9 miles offshore. The continued landing troops and cargo until she sailed for Saipan, 6 April arriving there 4 days later.
During May Laurens was under repair at Pearl Harbor and San Diego, California, before returning Eniwetok 15 June 1945. For the next 6 weeks the transport operated among the islands, transferring troops and supplies to various staging areas. After loading war veterans at Ulithi 31 July, Laurens sailed the same day for San Francisco, arriving there 1 day before the end of the war.
Post-war Magic Carpet assignments
Following the Japanese surrender, Laurens carried occupation troops to the Japanese home islands, then formed a unit of the “Operation Magic Carpet” fleet assigned to bring the fighting men home. She returned to Portland, Oregon, 8 January 1946, on her final “Magic Carpet” run from the Far East. The following month she sailed for the eastern seaboard.
Laurens decommissioned 10 April 1946 at Norfolk, Virginia, and returned to War Shipping Administration (WSA) 13 April 1946. On 2 May 1956 Laurens entered the National Defense Reserve Fleet in the Hudson River, New York, where she remained. She was eventually struck from the Navy List (date unknown) and was sold for scrapping in 1988.