USS Munargo (AP-20)
|Acquired:||8 June 1940|
|Commissioned:||4 June 1941|
|Decommissioned:||18 October 1943|
|In service:||as USAHS Thistle|
|Out of service:||March 1946|
|Fate:||scrapped in 1957|
|Length:||432 ft (132 m)|
|Beam:||57 ft 6 in (17.53 m)|
|Draught:||23 ft 7 in (7.19 m)|
|Propulsion:||steam turbine, single propeller, 5,800shp|
|Armament:||one single 5"/38 dual purpose gun mount, four 3"/50 guns, eight .50 cal machine guns|
USS Munargo (AP-20) was a commercial vessel-class transport acquired by the U.S. Navy for service as a troop carrier during World War II. She operated in the Atlantic Ocean, and, during the war, she was converted into a U.S. Army Hospital ship.
Munargo (AP 20) was completed in December 1921 by New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, New Jersey; acquired by the Navy from the Army 6 June 1941; and commissioned 4 June 1941, Comdr. Harold F. Ely in command.
World War II North Atlantic operations
Following conversion at Brooklyn, New York, Munargo was attached to the Naval Transportation Service at Brooklyn in December 1941. On 16 December she embarked troops and sailed to Bermuda, arriving St. George’s Harbor 2 days later. She departed 19 December for San Juan, Puerto Rico, with troops and civilian passengers, and thence steamed to Trinidad to take aboard suspected German agents for transportation to New York, arriving 5 January 1942.
For the first 3-1⁄2 months of 1942, Munargo carried troops between New York and Reykjavík, Iceland. On 17 April she embarked British troops on Iceland, then carried them to Gourock, Scotland. After another such voyage, she returned to Boston, Massachusetts, 27 June to disembark British officers, then spent 4 months In New York.
South Atlantic and Pacific operations
Munargo left New York 30 December with troops, cargo, and U.S. currency for Trinidad and Brazil, from which she sailed through the Panama Canal to San Francisco, California, arriving 18 March 1943. On 17 May she reached Noumea, New Caledonia with troops, returning to California to reload, and once again arriving in Noumea 18 July. She sailed almost at once for Samoa, Hawaii, Guantánamo Bay, and the U.S. East Coast. She decommissioned at Brooklyn 18 October 1943, and was returned to the War Department.
Conversion to hospital ship
The U.S. Army converted her to a hospital ship and she renamed Thistle. Operating from Charleston, South Carolina, she made nine voyages of mercy to the Mediterranean. Ordered to the Pacific Ocean in September 1945, she called at Leyte and returned to the west coast in December, decommissioning as a hospital ship in March 1946.