USS LCS(L)(3)102 is the last survivor of the 130 LCS vessels built for the U.S. Navy. She was initially designed for close-in fire support during amphibious landings.
The Landing Craft, Support — later reclassified Landing Ship Support— class of amphibious warfare ships were used by the United States Navy in World War II in the Pacific. They were primarily used for close support before landing forces on beaches. They also performed radar picket duty and fire fighting. They were nicknamed the “Mighty Midgets”.
The original designation for the ships was LCS(L)(3), which stood for “Landing Craft Support (Large) Mark 3”. In 1949 the class was reclassified to “Landing Ship Support, Large” (LSSL). The USN had to have the designation LCS(L) because there was also a smaller class named LCL, that were built mainly for rescue and smoke laying during amphibious operation.
At the end of the war, surviving ships returned to the United States. Some were restored to action for the Korean War. Many were transferred to Japan, France (and on to Vietnam), Cambodia, Thailand, Greece, and other nations.
Only two ships are known to still exist. One has been highly modified as a fishing boat. The second was in Thailand and was kept in very similar configuration to its original (HTMS Nakha, formerly USS LCS(L)102).
The National Association of USS LCS(L) 1–130 was successful in having the HTMS Nakha transferred to the association for public display in the United States. She was officially released from the Thailand Navy on November 10 of 2007 after being returned to the USA in September of that year.
(As of May 2010 the USS LCS(L)102 is under restoration for eventual public display and tours on the Waterfront in the Historic Core of Mare Island)