Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Johnny

Last Name: Andrus

Birthplace: Crowley, Acadia Parish, LA, US

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)

Rating: Fireman 1st Class (Non Petty Officer)

Home of Record: LA
Middle Name: Irvin

Date of Birth: 09 June 1925

Date of Death: 15 February 1945 (Presumed)

MIA Date: 15 June 1944

Rank or Rate: Fireman

Years Served: 1943-1945

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


JOHNNY IRVIN ANDRUS was a son of Joseph Wilford and Mora Frances (Arceneaux) Andrus who married about 1914 in Acadia Parish, Louisiana. His siblings were Joseph Wilford Jr., Arceneaux (d.y.), and Marjorie Lee. Johnny Irvin (he did have a middle name contrary to military records) attended Crowley High School, but in response to a US Government call for young men to learn a trade to support the war effort, he enrolled in the Southwestern Louisiana Trade school to become an electrician (Oct 1942). In early 1943, Johnny began working for the Western Union Telegraph company. In early May 1943, he went home for a visit with his parents in Crowley, LA.

The next month Johnny enlisted in the Volunteer US Naval Reserve (V-6) on 07 Jun 1943 in Dallas, Dallas, TX as a Fireman Third Class (F3c). His navy service number was NSN:357-47-05. He began recruit training at the Navy Training Station, San Diego, CA on 16 Jun 1943. During recruit training, Johnny took a series of aptitude tests. Based upon his scores he was selected for specialized training as a dieselman after completion of recruit training. Johnny began his specialized training in August 1943 at the Naval Service Class A School for dieselman located at the Naval Air Technical Training Center in Chicago, IL. He received several intensive weeks of instruction in courses covering internal combustion engines, pumps, evaporators, air pressure systems, and boiler systems. Upon completion of dieselman training, F3c Andrus reported for additional training at the US Naval Amphibious Training Base (ATB), Solomon's Island, Dowell, MD. Following that training Andrus transferred to the precommissioning crew of the USS LST 133 on 16 Nov 1943. The ship was commissioned in New Orleans, LA on 29 Nov 1943. The crew ceremoniously reported on board for duty that day. Fitting out the ship began immediately.

LST 133 was the first of twelve new LSTs that would be placed into commission over the period of November - December 1943. They would comprise the yet to be commissioned LST Group Thirty, a element of Flotilla 10. LSTs 51, 133, 134, 285, 286, and 502 would comprise Division Fifty Nine (Div 59), and LSTs 53, 288, 494, 495, 504 and 505 would be assigned to Division Sixty (Div. 60). On 28 Feb 1944, LST GROUP THIRTY was placed in commission. It would be decommissioned on 21 Dec 1944. On that date the LSTs of Div 59 and Div 60 were reassigned to Commander Amphibious Training Command.

USS LST 133, under the command of recently commissioned LT Floyd Eugene Roberts, USN, a prior enlisted sailor, was underway from New Orleans steaming to St. Andrews Bay, FL on 18 Dec 1943. On New Year's Day 1944, LST 133 began shakedown training. Several days later, she steamed back to New Orleans and the Todd Johnson shipyard where she entered dry-dock for repairs and alterations on 5 Jan. Repairs completed, LST 133 got underway on 16 Jan from Pilotown, LA steaming for New York. After a brief port call at New York on 23 Jan 1944 for cargo delivery, she was underway again steaming for Narragansett Bay and Davisville, RI and an equipment load-out. After the load-out was completed, she steamed to Boston arriving on 06 Feb. Several days later, she was underway again steaming to Halifax, Nova Scotia to await the formation of a convoy bound for England. Convoy SC-153 formed and got underway on 13 Feb 1944 initially destined for Milford Haven, Wales, UK. However, the final destination was changed on 28 Feb to Falmouth, England via Milford Haven, Wales.

The convoy safely anchored at Milford Haven on 02 March. The following day the remainder of the convoy got underway for Falmouth where the ships anchored on 04 Mar. Over the next several weeks, LST 133 embarked personnel and a variety of cargo for delivery to Netley, Southampton, England on 13 Mar then on the 23rd she was enroute to the Isle of Wight and on 25 March she anchored at Jenny Cliff Bay, Plymouth, England. F3/c Andrus advanced in rate to Fireman Second Class (F2/c) in Mar 1944, and then he advanced to Fireman First Class (F1/c) by June 1944.

During April 1944, according to the WWII war diaries of Commander LST Grp 30, ships in LST Divisions 59 and 60 were employed in training and routine maintenance. LST 133 departed Plymouth, England on 24 April steaming to Falmouth were she arrived later that day. She departed Falmouth on the 27th bound for Portland, England where she anchored on 28 April. During May LST 133 engaged in training, maintenance, and cargo/personnel transport.

On 01 June 1944, ships of Divisions 59, 60, and 69 (under administrative control of LST Grp Thirty) were assigned to the Assault Force "O" and "B" of the Western Task Force, commanded by Rear Admiral Kirk, to participate in operation Neptune (Neptune was the code word for the Normandy landings.). From 01 Jun - 04 Jun, ships of division 59 (LSTs 133, 51, 134, 286, 285, and 502) loaded army vehicles and personnel for operation Neptune at Portland Harbor, England. On 05 Jun 1944, LST 133 with 13 other LSTs of Convoy Group III sortied from Portland and during the day lay at anchor in Weymouth Bay taking Rhino ferries and Tugs in tow. The convoy got underway at approximately H minus 13 hours (1730, 5 Jun) and steamed to the assault area about 120 miles away. The Convoy Group was delayed, however, and it did not arrive at the transport area until 1900. LST 133 arrived at her designated sector of Fox Green and anchored 3 miles off Omaha Beach in the Bay of Seine. A short time later, LST 133 received orders to proceed toward the beach immediately. Tow was cast off and word passed throughout the ship to all hands and Army personnel embarked to prepare for beaching.

As the ship approached the beach they could see it was littered with wrecks of small boats and almost a continuous line of wrecked and stranded vehicles. It was obvious that obstructions had not been cleared as they were 5-6 rows deep. No beach organization was apparent. The ship began opening her bow doors about 400 yards off the beach. Word was passed to standby for beaching. Suddenly, a flashing light message was received from LCI 86. It said, "Don't beach." Fortunately, LST 133 was able to back away from the beach, and she proceeded to anchor 1 1/2 miles from the beach at 2212.

The morning of 06 Jun dawned cloudy with a low hanging fog surrounding LST 133 while she was at anchor at Baie De La Seine, Omaha Beach. Suddenly, without warning, 3 JU-88 German twin engine aircraft appeared at an altitude of several hundred feet making a level attack. They were taken under fire from the ship almost immediately as all gun stations had been manned as a precaution. One plane was seen to sever a barrage balloon anchoring cable. Several hits were observed on the aircraft from the ship's guns. One plane was shot down. The ship was not engaged in any further activity that day.

On 07 Jun 1944, LST 133 received orders to beach by 1330. She weighted anchor and steamed for Sector Dog Red. As the ship approached the beach they observed a beach not yet marked, a similar scene of unbroken lines of uncleared obstructions and wrecks. The ship moved to the right flank of Dog Red and proceeded into the beach. Beach parties signaled NOT to beach, but it was too late as the ship had too much way on and could not stop in time. She grounded in 6 feet of water off the bow. Smart ship handling and an alert watch enabled the ship to avoid half submerged element "C" obstructions with Teller mines attached. In the War Diary of LST 133 it was written, "It would appear that by an act of Providence the ship had beached on the unique piece of sand in this sector suitable for beaching." This narrow piece of beach was the only area free of submerged obstruction and buried mines that had not been cleared. As the ship offloaded its cargo of vehicles and army personnel she came under fire from the cliffs above. All army personnel and vehicles were put ashore and beyond the beach line without even a minor injury or damage. At 2135, the ship retreated from the beach without incident and anchored about 2 miles off shore. The following evening (08 Jun), the ship returned to Portland Harbor in a convoy.

By June 11, more than 326,000 troops, 50,000 vehicles and 100,000 tons of equipment had landed on the secured Normandy beaches. The Allies fought across the countryside in Normandy in the weeks that followed. They successfully seized the vital port of Cherbourg, landed approximately 850,000 men and 150,000 vehicles in Normandy and were poised to continue their march across France.

On 14 Jun 1944, LST 133 was transporting its third cargo of Army vehicles and personnel from Portland Harbor, Dorset, England to Omaha beach at Normandy. This cargo was comprised of men and equipment of the HQ and three batteries of the 113th Field Artillery Battalion, 30th US Infantry Division. The load-out was finished by late afternoon. Orders were to join convoy EPL-8 and sortie at 2200. LST 133 was delayed by the late delivery of two C.B. Rhino tugs. Consequently, the ship did not clear the channel until 2310. The delay put the ship some 3000 yards astern of the convoy. Shortly after mid-nite star shells were seen indicating a possible E-Boat attack. After executing several evasive maneuvers the ship rang up flank speed. Shortly after 0500 on 15 June 1944, the ship joined the convoy and assumed its position. Not long afterward however, the ship began to lose its position again.

By 0800, she was about 27 miles northeast of Barfleur, France and about 2000 yards behind station. Suddenly, at 0816, an underwater explosion rocked the ship. The explosion blew off the greater part of the fantail into the sea. The starboard engine stalled. General quarters was sounded. One man was seen in the water. The ship was left without propulsion or steering, but for the most part it was still intact and water tight integrity was maintained forward of frame 41. Later damage assessments indicated extensive damage to various parts of the ship, but especially to the area of the stern where several gun emplacements were situated. USS Raven (AM 55) and USS Chickadee (AM 59) en route to Portsmouth came alongside to take off the wounded, while Raven took LST-133 in tow towards Omaha Beach until relieved by USS Arikara (ATF 98) at 1235 hours. Omaha beach was reached at 1912. The ship beached at the first high tide with the help of USS LCI(L)-490 and USS LCI(L)-84 at 1938. At 2345, the tide was low enough to start unloading. By 0200 on 16 June, all Army personnel and vehicles were unloaded. On the high tide of the following morning, the ship retracted from the beach and was temporarily berthed alongside a blockship for sufficient repairs, removal of bodies from the wreckage, and shoring to permit towing to England. On 18 June 1944, the ship left Omaha beach for the last time. She was towed by British tug Empire Meadow steaming for Southampton and later the repair yard at Barry, Wales.

The cause of the underwater explosion that damaged LST 133 was originally believed to have been made by an acoustic mine. However, that doesn’t seem plausible because the entire convoy had passed over that immediate area without it detonating. LST 133 came along shortly afterward. Another alternative was that the explosion was caused by a submarine fired Gnat torpedo. LST 133, who was lagging behind the convoy, was the perfect target for a submarine. U-621 was earlier credited with damaging USS LST-280, but the submarine's reporting time and position of the attack indicate that LST-133 was the target. And, because the explosion was believed to have been caused by a mine, US convoy escorts did not respond with anti-submarine searches allowing the sub to escape unscathed. U-621 was sunk several months later in the Bay of Bengal.

Casualties were high. Ship’s company: 7 dead, 17 wounded, 8 missing. Army passengers: 2 dead, 8 wounded, 20 missing. Seabee passengers: 01 dead, 3 wounded, 5 missing. Totals: 10 dead, 42 missing, 28 wounded.

F1/c Andrus was a gunner whose battle station was on a gun mount on the fantail of LST-133. That area took the full force of the explosion. He was reported missing in action on 15 Jun 1944 and presumed dead on 15 Feb 1945. His remains were unrecoverable.


The names of seven of the Navy ship's company that were either missing in action, killed in action or died of wounds on 15 June 1944 were found in official records :

1) Bascherini, Wilfert Lester, S1c, USNR, NSN: 8865073, Killed in action

2) Bradfield, Robert Edwin, F1c, USNR, NSN: 8347615. Died of wounds

3) Fryer, Donald Richard, S1c, USNR, NSN: 7269455. MIA

4) Hoffman, Lewis Henry Jr., S1c, USNR, NSN: 2496271. Died of wounds

5) McAnulty, Eldon Halgene, HA1c, USNR, NSN: 8497666. MIA

6) Turek, Leon Mathew, S1C, USNR, NSN: 6083071. MIA

7) Vakerich, John, S1c, USNR, NSN: 8096560. KIA


Fireman First Class (F1/c) Andrus was probably eligible for the following awards: (Posthumously) the Purple Heart, Navy Unit Commendation w/ribbon, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern-Campaign Medal with one bronze battle star for the invasion of Normandy, World War II Victory Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon.

Beware of the awards information published by Honorstates.org regarding Andrus. He was NOT eligible for the following: Navy Good Conduct Medal (Lacked time in Service), Navy Presidential Unit Citation (It was the Navy Unit Commendation), Navy Expeditionary Medal (not eligible if a campaign medal awarded for same event.). Very few Navy Expeditionary medals were awarded during WWII because Campaign medals were awarded in their stead.


F1c Johnny Andrus' family received a personal commemoration from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It reads: In grateful memory of JOHNNY ANDRUS, who died in the service of his country at Normandy, France, at sea, ATTACHED LST 133, 15 February 1945 (presumed). He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live and grow and increase its blessings. Freedom lives, and through it, he lives – in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.

//s// Franklin D. Roosevelt,

President of the United States of America


Navy Unit Commendation awarded in 1947 for operations on 07 Jun 1944..

The Secretary of the Navy takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Unit Commendation to USS Landing Ship (Tank) 133 for service during assault operations against German-held beaches in the Bay of the Seine, northern France. "Under orders to land heavy artillery and antiaircraft equipment, LST 133 proceeded to the assigned area and closed the beach despite mine fields, underwater obstructions and wreckage of derelict craft. Under shellfire, sniper fire and aerial bombardment, her crew successfully beached the craft, unloaded her cargo of personnel and weapons, and took aboard 65 casualties for evacuation. The first LST of the force to hit the beach and the first in her assault group to put all army equipment and personnel ashore, the LST 133 completed her mission without loss of men or material."

Compiler's note:

The majority of the facts about LST 133 can be found in her war diary entries, the war diary entries of Commander, LST Group Thirty, various records on Ancestry.com, newspaper clippings and the information about U-621 from the website uboat.net (https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/ship/3265.html).

[Bio #238 composed 15 Aug 2020 and updated 22 Sep 22 by Gerry Lawton (GML470)]

Military Hall of Honoree ID: 187558

Find A Grave Memorial Page: # 243738330

Honoree ID: 187558   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image