USS Merapi (AF-38)
|Ordered:||as R1-M-AV3 hull, MC hull 2202|
|Laid down:||14 August 1944|
|Launched:||4 October 1944|
|Acquired:||5 March 1945|
|Commissioned:||21 March 1945|
|Decommissioned:||18 January 1959|
|Struck:||1 July 1960|
|Fate:||sold by the Maritime Administration in 1966, converted to fish factory ship|
|Displacement:||3,139 t.(lt) 6,240 t.(fl)|
|Length:||338 ft (103 m)|
|Beam:||50 ft (15 m)|
|Draught:||18 ft (5.5 m)|
|Propulsion:||diesel engine, single screw, 1,700shp|
|Speed:||12 kts. (max)|
|Capacity:||2,120 long tons deadweight (DWT)|
|Armament:||one single 3"/50 dual purpose gun mount, six single 20mm gun mounts|
USS Merapi (AF-38) was an Adria-class stores ship acquired by the U.S. Navy for service in World War II. Her task was to carry stores, refrigerated items, and equipment to ships in the fleet, and to remote stations and staging areas.
Merapi was laid down 11 August 1944 by Pennsylvania Shipyards Inc., Beaumont, Texas, under a Maritime contract; launched 4 October 1944; sponsored by Mrs. A. B. Matthews; transferred to the Navy 5 March and commissioned 21 March 1945, Lt. William W. Wood in command.
World War II service
Converted at Todd Galveston Dry Dock Co., Merapi hastened through shakedown and departed Mobile, Alabama, 11 April, for the Pacific Ocean war zone. Specializing in refrigerated stores, she sailed via Pearl Harbor to Kerama Retto, Okinawa where in the midst of numerous air alerts she unloaded 14 to 19 June. Having retired to Pearl Harbor for more supplies she got underway again 20 July and spent the final month of the war at Eniwetok Atoll disbursing cargo.
In the postwar period Merapi provided logistic support for U.S. occupation forces, initially using Auckland, New Zealand, as her supply base. Spending much of 1946 and part of 1948 on the China coast she remained active through the central and western Pacific until 1950. Assuming command of the Merapi at Shanghai, China on 5 Jul 1948, LCdr R. G. Nichols, USN, served as her skipper until 27 Sep 1949.
Korean War operations
During the Korean conflict this storeship operated with units of the U.S. 7th Fleet in Korean and Japanese waters. While employed as a support vessel, she saw action off the Pusan Perimeter, participated in the Wonsan and Inchon invasions, and assisted in the evacuation of troops from Hungnam.
A return to the United States in the latter half of 1953 preceded assignment to the mid Pacific logistic support group home ported at Pearl Harbor. Support of facilities at Kwajalein, Marshalls, Eniwetok, Carolines, and Midway Island was temporarily interrupted in September 1954. For 3 months Merapi provided food stocks to the ships engaged in the evacuation of civilians and troops from North Vietnam to Saigon in Operation Passage to Freedom.
Supporting nuclear testing activity
Interruptions also occurred March to July 1956 as AF-38 appeared in support of the nuclear testing exercise, Operation Redwing, and the following April as she sailed on a good will visit to Australia. She then participated in Operation Hardtack in the Marshall Islands.
The ship departed 5 August 1958 for a brief 2 month WestPac tour before steaming back to the United States for her first appearance in over 4 years.
Inactivation and decommissioning
Arriving Astoria, Oregon, 6 November, inactivation began almost immediately. She decommissioned 16 January 1959, joining the Pacific Reserve Fleet, until struck from the Navy List 1 July 1960. She was then sold by the Maritime Administration in 1966, and converted to fish factory ship. Final Disposition: fate unknown.
Military awards and honors
Merapi received one battle star for World War II service, five for the Korean conflict, and was twice awarded the Korean Presidential Unit Citation. Her crew was eligible for the following medals shown in order of precedence:
- China Service Medal (extended)
- American Campaign Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (1)
- World War II Victory Medal
- Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp)
- National Defense Service Medal
- Korean Service Medal (5)
- Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation (2)
- United Nations Service Medal
- Republic of Korea War Service Medal (retroactive)
- Photo gallery of Merapi at NavSource Naval History