Monument Commemorates Service of USS Biscayne During World War II

USS Biscayne Monument

USS Biscayne Monument. Courtesy of Andy Kelly Photography.

From time to time, we get the opportunity to assist a veteran who wants to recognize a ship or shipmate. Stanley Morrison served on board the amphibious force flagship USS Biscayne (AVP 11/AGC 18) during World War II. Now 93 years old and living in Pennsylvania, this radioman has a fond place in his heart for Biscayne, a veteran of both the Mediterranean and Pacific theaters during the war. Through his generous donation, a granite marker was  installed at the Miami Military Museum in March 2012. Our Executive Director, Captain Todd Creekman, USN (Ret) played a small role in facilitating this process and helping this veteran’s dream become reality.

Biscayne was originally commissioned as a seaplane tender in 1941, but was converted to an amphibious force flagship in 1943. During World War II, the ship participated in campaigns in the Mediterranean at Sicily, Salerno, and Anzio, as well as Operation Dragoon, the invasion of Southern France, which took place 68 years ago today. She later served as the flagship of a destroyer squadron and subsequently participated in the invasions of Iwo Jima, Kerama Retto, and Okinawa. After the war Biscayne was turned over to the Coast Guard and served as USCG Dexter (WAVP-385, later WHEC-385) until decommissioned and returned to the Navy in 1968 for use as a target.

Morrison happens to be an NHF Member, and consulted with Creekman on possibilities for publicizing his efforts and promoting the idea of a monument. Creekman spoke with historian Bob Cressman of the Naval History and Heritage Command, prompting Cressman to pen a story for Naval History magazine about Biscayne. Creekman further suggested that Morrison and the Biscayne veterans contact the Navy League in Florida to see if a home could be found for the monument. Through this connection the Biscayne group soon began to develop a relationship with the Miami Military Museum, and all of the pieces began to fall into place. The location made perfect sense, given that the ship was named after Miami’s Biscayne Bay. In a formal ceremony held on 11 March 2012, the monument was unveiled and dedicated, finally establishing a place of permanent remembrance for the ship and her crew.

USS Biscayne 80-G-223478

USS Biscayne (AVP 11) Serving as invasion force flagship for the Anzio landings, 21-22 January 1944. National Archives Photo 80-G-223478.

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8 Responses to Monument Commemorates Service of USS Biscayne During World War II

  1. Robert tenpenny says:

    That was my uncle Wally’s ship. Gunner Walter Tenpenny. He passed away september 16 th 2012.

    • admin says:

      Our condolences to you Robert.

    • LEILANI HODGERSON FLORENCE says:

      Hi Robert,
      My dad Norman “Gene” Hodgerson was on the Biscayne with your uncle. They use to talk on the phone all the time and exchange Christmas cards every year. My dad died 3-18-11. I think the next time I go to Miami I am going to the Memorial and take some pictures. I use to live down there and go fishing all the time with my family on Biscayne.

  2. John E. McLaughlin says:

    ROBERT,
    My Dad, John J. McLaughlin, served on Uss Biscayne from ’43-’46. He was a loader on a “pom-pom” gun. He told me if the gunner was hit, he was next in line. I guess it is possible he was standing next your uncle. He passed 10/2006. He was 17yrs. old in 1943. They were children, they were HEROES! Condolences to you and God Bless your “Uncle Wally”. God Bless Them All.

  3. Dave Kopfensteiner says:

    My father, Robert Kopfensteiner was assigned to the ship June 30th 1945, after serving on the USS Panamint during the Okinawa invasion. He was a radio man (RM3c). He later went back on the Panamint.

  4. Clifford J. Newell says:

    My father, Joseph J. Newell served on the ship from 42 to 45. He was a quartermaster,
    and his gun station was a 20mm. He was very fond of the Biscayne. He passed on
    Sept.26, 2002.

  5. david murphy says:

    My father, Robert Murphy, served on the Biscayne with the US Army 6th Signals Battalion from its service in North Africa through Italy to the south of France. It’s funny, Dad was in the army but because of his service it’s the Navy he remembers fondly. He will be 90 this year, so a little younger than a lot of the guys in his unit on the Biscayne at that time. He remembers a lot about the Biscayne, and he is still especially proud to have served under Admiral “Close Up” Connolly. He remembers Connolly as a commander who was competent and courageous, respected and liked by all his men. Dad, as an Irish Catholic kid, was especially proud of Connolly achievements as a Navy Admiral.

  6. Frank Jasionowicz says:

    My Father, Joseph Jasionowicz served on board the Biscayne, he was a Radar Technician. He was there for Salerno, Sicily and Anzio. He passed in 2001.
    The War correspondent, Ernie Pyle was on the ship as well.

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