Capturing Iwo Jima 70 Years Ago…Honoring the brave sailors of the USS Belle Grove LSD2…

by | Feb 20, 2015


USS Belle Grove (LSD-2) at anchor, probably at Leyte, circa 20 to 22 October 1944. Photo by J.L. Brown.


USS Belle Grove (LSD-2) undergoing sea trials in San Francisco Bay, 16 August 1943. US Navy photo from “Allied Landing Craft of World War Two”, published by Arms and Armour Press.

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War Cruise of the USS Belle Grove LSD2…click photo to expand view…

Dad Photo and Awards

Vernon H. Sparks, BMC, USS Belle Grove LSD2 WWII Pacific…click photo for larger view…

USS Belle Grove…7 Campaigns WWII South Pacific…
Ashland Class Dock Landing Ship:

  • Originally authorized as (APM-2), a Mechanized Artillery Transport
  • Reclassified Landing Ship Dock (LSD-2), 1 July1941
  • Laid down, 27 October 1942, at Moore Drydock Co. Oakland, CA.
  • Launched, 17 February 1943
  • Commissioned USS Belle Grove (LSD-2), 9 August 1943, LCDR. Morris Seavey, USNR, in command
  • During World War II USS Belle Grove was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following campaigns:

    World War II Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Gilbert Islands operation
    Makin Island, 20 November to 2 December 1943
    Leyte operation
    Leyte Gulf landings, 20 October, 31 October to 9 November and 13 to 21 November 1944
    Marshall Islands operation
    Occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls, 31 January to 8 February 1944
    Luzon operation
    Lingayen Gulf landings – Abuyo and San Pedro Bay, 9 to 16 January 1945
    Marianas operation
    Capture and occupation of Saipan, 15 to 28 July 1944
    Iwo Jima operation
    Assault and capture of Iwo Jima, 19 February to 16 March 1945
    Tinian capture and occupation, 21 to 28 July 1944


    Until researching and writing my book in 2011, I did not know of my father’s WWII service in the Pacific. He did tell humorous stories of liberty from combat duty but never about the horror of war. The USS Belle Grove LSD2 spent 25 months at sea in 7 campaigns before going to Shanghai, China, for its first “liberty” giving the brave and exhausted sailors, including my father, a break from combat duty. My father finally returned home from WWII in June of 1945.

    It is an honor to now acknowledge and remember the 7 Pacific War Campaigns of the USS Belle Grove LSD2 on this 70th Anniversary of the capture of Iwo Jima… It is so often the case that we post WWII military family members and loved ones did not learn details of the brave service of our fathers until much later in life. It is never too late or too often to honor the veterans of all wars…

    Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…click the highlighted text for my author page…


    Reconciliation: A Son’s Story by Steve Sparks 2011…The USS Belle Grove LSD2 story included…

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
View all posts by stevesparks →

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