Newspaper Articles on First River Run of 282, and its first accident.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Thursday, October 28, 1943
LST Crash-Lands in Ohio and Gives Guests 'Battle' Thrill
Burned Out Fuse Blamed in Accident During Trial Run; Ship Is Pulled Loose to Resume Trip Up River
By Ray Sprigle
Post-Gazette Staff Writer
Half a hundred guests aboard the American Bridge Company's Tank-Landing ship, LST 282, on its trial run down the Ohio yesterday afternoon, got a thrill non on the program when the big boat actually made a crash landing on the Ohio shore below Aliquippa.
Burning out of a fuse on a switchboard in the electrical steering control for a few seconds as the boat was completing its trial run. Engines were reversed to full speed astern, but the ship swerved into the south bank of the river.
The crash landing that ensued was a perfect preview of the landings the boat will make in days to come on shores somewhere in Europe or in the Pacific.
Boat Pulled Loose
All that was needed to make the crash landing more realistic was a flock of tanks to come rumbling over the landing stage in the bow and open up with their 105's as they hit the shore.
The boat pulled out of the mud bank where she came to rest without a scratch and resumed her way up river. The combat crew that will board her in a few days when she is commissioned by the navy will know that their boat is going to stand up like a veteran when they crash her on enemy shores thousands of miles away from the peaceful Ohio.
A dab of paint dropped from a painter's brush was responsible for the unscheduled crash test that the LST 282 got yesterday. The pain dropped on the fuse connection behind the switchboard. When it got hot it resulted in the fuse burning out.
"That's why we have test runs," commented a Navy officer. "It's a whole lot better that that fuse burned out in the Ohio -- than someday when we'll be driving shoreward to establish a beachhead under enemy fire. "
The LST 282 came through its trial run, crash landing and all, with flying colors. That's standard practice for these big boats that are turned out of the shipyards of the Pittsburgh district.
These tank landing boats are no mere patrol boats. They're ships, fighting ships too. They serve a double purpose They land our tanks and crews on enemy beaches but they also help in the tremendous job of transporting war material and troops from the United States production front to the war fronts scattered all over the world.
Rear Admiral Charles Lee, Navy Chief of the Shipbuilding Division, Bureau of Ships, USN, paid a tribute to the tank landing craft being turned out along the Ohio. Each of them carries a smaller craft chocked on its deck to the theater of war, he told an audience of thousands that gathered in the American Bridge Company's shipyards yesterday in observance of Navy Day. In their bottoms they carry oil for the engines of war. In their holds they carry cargo and fighting men as well as the tanks thay were designed to carry and land.
The LST's are Diesel-driven by giant motors. On each ship is an entirely separate engine room where smaller Diesels drive generators that produce the current for the vast and intricate electrical system which controls the operation of the ship.
View of Operation
Most dramatic feature of yesterday's test run was when the great doors in the bow of the ship swung open, the big drawbridge over which tanks will some day rumble, dropped and the ship was ready to unload the deadly freight she will carry on her tank deck. That tank deck where the big tanks will ride across the ocean, each chained to the steel deck plates, brings the war right up the Ohio.
Every ship that leaves the American Bridge Company fitting dock is completely equipped for action, from the quarters of beef hanging in the refrigerators, to the drugs and surgeons' instruments in the tiny hospital.
Preceding the trial run of the 282, a sister ship the 286, was launched from the ways of the transfer area of the yards. Sponsor of the launching was Mrs. Lois Ethel Leseman, a welder in the navy plate yard at Ambridge who cracked the traditional bottle of champagne on the 286's bows as she slid into the Ohio. Mrs. Lesemnan's husband is a soldier with the American Army in Europe. Her brother is in the navy. Her aide was a fellow welder, Mrs. Wanda Olbeter, and both of them demonstrated that even a welder's outfit can't hide good looks and charm.
Stern Section Readied
L. A. Paddock, president of the American Bridge Company spoke for the builders of the ship and Rear Admiral Brand represented the navy.
While the ceremonies were in progress the entire pre-assembled stern section of a tank landing ship was moved into position, and before the launching was completed, the stern was welded into place. While that was in progress the keel for another ship was completed on the ways left vacant by the launching of the 286 and the pre-fabricated bow was welded into position on another ship.
Rear Admiral Brand was guest of honor last night at a dinner in the Urban Room of the William Penn Hotel which highlighted the observance of Navy Day in Pittsburgh. The dinner was sponsored jointly by the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce and the navy personnel now stationed in the Pittsburgh district.
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