USS BETELGEUSE
AK (FBM ) 260
Ship's History
1944-1974
Thanks to Tom Lilly for the following information:
 

According to www.usmm.org/battle-a-f.html, U.S. Merchant Marine Ships whose Naval Armed Guard crews earned “Battle Stars” in WWII included the Columbia Victory for the following:

                        25 Feb – 6 March 1945   Assault-Occupation of Iwo Jima

                        27 May – 4 June 1945    Assault-Occupation of Okinawa Gunto

 

At http://en.wikipedia.org/wike/main_Page, you can find the WSS Warrick AKA-89, which states that on 2 March 1945, Warrick dispatched three LCM.s to help unload ammunition from SS Columbia Victory.

 

At http://ftp.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/IV/USMC-IV-VI-8.html. you will find a lengthy publication entitled Western Pacific Operations, History of U.S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II by Garand.Strowbridge, Historical Branch.G-3 Division.Headquarters.U.S. Marine Corps.  At pages 602-603, you will find this about the Columbia Victory:

            “The Japanese, increasingly compelled to watch the beehive of activity along the eastern shore in helpless frustration, saw an opportunity to interfere with operations on the western beaches.  On 1 March, an ammunition resupply ship, the Columbia Victory, was approaching the west coast with a cargo of artillery ammunition when mortar fire from Kama and Kangoku Rocks, as well as northwestern Iwo, bracketed the vessel.  One shell exploded so close to the ship that it wounded one man and caused light damage to the vessel.  Anxious eyes were watching the Japanese artillery fire, including those of Generals Holland Smith and Schmidt, who viewed the action from VAC headquarters on the west beach.  More than the loss of a ship was involved.  If the Columbia Victory’s cargo of ammunition blew up, the entire west coast of Iwo could go with it, along with thousands of Marines working on the beaches.  Keenly aware of the danger, the cargo ship reversed course and, miraculously evading additional near misses, headed back out to the open sea.”

 

We served on a very proud ship.  Remember the Columbia Victory when you go to see Flag of our Fathers. 

Tom Lilly




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