Underwater Demolition Team SIXTEEN was conceived, trained and commissioned under an Amphibious Force Fleet Directive issued by Vice-Admiral TURNER., which called for the formation of three teams recruited from the Pacific Amphibious Forces.

All officers and men selected. were sent to Maui, T.H. to the Naval Combat Demolition Training and Experimental Base, Commanded by Captain A.J. COUBLE. Original drafts reported to the base on or about 16 September 1944.

All enlisted personnel had seen at least a year's combat service with the fleet. Officers were recruited partly from the Pacific service and partly from volunteers in small boat training at the Amphibious Training Base, Coronado, California.

The Team, from its conception, was commanded by Lieutenant E.A. MITCHELL assisted by Lieutenants ZANDT and FISCHER.

During the eight weeks training program, work with explosives was ingrained with a physical training and swimming program.


Early in February of 1945, orders were received commissioning Underwater Demolition Team SIXTEEN under the command of Lieutenant E.A. MITCHELL, with Lieutenant (jg) Robert E. FISCHER as Executive Officer. The organization was assigned APD 121 under Commander Samuel HALE.

On 13 February the team was embarked at Maui and proceeded as a part of Captain WILLIAM'S APD division to the Marshalls.

In addition, orders attached Team SIXTEEN to the Commander Underwater Demolition Teams, U.S. Pacific Fleet and designated it for the main approaches in the coming Okinawa invasion.

With token stops at Eniwetock and Asor, Ulithi the Division proceeded to Tacloban, Leyte. From late February until around l5 March, teams and ships stood by awaiting sailing orders.

On 23 March Team SIXTEEN embarked upon the U.S.S. RAYMON W. HERNDON, bound for Okinawa Gunto. Upon reaching Okinawa, the reconnaissance, originally planned for Love minus Four Day on 28 March 1945, was postponed one day to enable minesweepers to complete their mission.

At 0900, 29 March, landing craft were lowered and loaded. The sea was calm and smooth but swimmers faced the sun, causing them to be easily seen from the beach. Our units, however, provided good fire support, effectively countering sporadic small arms, light machine gun and mortar fire from the beach. At 1130 all swimmers were recovered and by 1145 all boats were aboard the APD. The reconnaissance report indicated three rows of wooden posts, approximately 40 yards from the high water mark, totaling 1200, imbedded in the reef across beaches Red Three, Blue One, and Blue Two. The posts averaged six feet in height and eight inches in diameter, and judging from the sea growth on them, had been in the water for some time. During the following two days Team SIXTEEN, in company with Team ELEVEN, placed charges and cleared the beaches of these obstacles. One casualty was suffered on 30 March when LYNCH, Francis Joseph was killed by enemy fire.

On 2 April Team SIXTEEN began post-assault reconnaissance and demolition operations which consisted of blasting channels for LCTs and LCMs. By 22 April, these operations were completed, and the team released from Commander, Northern Attack Force. For the pre-assault operations at Okinawa five officers and fifteen men were awarded the silver and bronze star respectively.

The team next proceeded to Ulithi Atoll, which was reached on 1 May. Disembarking on Asor Island, it passed the following four weeks recuperating. On 6 June Team SIXTEEN received orders to proceed to the Demolition Base at Maui, T.H. Embarking on the U.S.S. JEAN LAFITTE it arrived at Pearl Harbor on 20 June and was transferred to Maui by an LSM. The Maui stop proved to be a short one, as on 1 July the team was ordered to embark on the U.S.S. ATTALA (APA) for San Francisco. Arriving there on 7 July, the team was granted thirty days leave, after which it was to reassemble at Oceanside, California. Reporting to Oceanside on 11 August, the team was prepared to undergo a course in cold water training; but due to the capitulation of Japan, the program was cancelled.


One of the few teams to remain behind, SIXTEEN stood the base duty until 20 October, when it was decommissioned.

(compiled by Robert Allan King for the UDT-SEAL Museum from public records at the Operational Archives of the Naval Historical Center)

TEAM ROSTERS - To protect the integrity of the Teams and the privacy of individual frogmen, Team rosters are not made public. If you or your relative was a member of UDT Team Sixteen and you would like further information, we suggest you contact the UDT-SEAL Museum.

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