List of ships of the United States Army

From SpottingWorld, the Hub for the SpottingWorld network...

During World War II the U.S. Army operated approximately 127,793[1] ships and watercraft. Those included large troop and cargo transport ships that were Army owned hulls, vessels allocated by the War Shipping Administration, bareboat charters and time charters. In addition to the transports the Army fleet included specialized types. Those, included vessels not related to transport such as mine vessels and waterway or port maintenance ships and other service craft. The numbers below [1] give an idea of the scope of that Army maritime operation:

  • Troop and cargo ships over 1,000 gross tons that often carried the U.S. Army Transport (U.S.A.T.) with their name if they were Army owned or long term allocated: 1,557 ships
  • Other ships over 1,000 gross tons, including hospital ships (U.S.A.H.S.), cable ships, aircraft repair ships, port repair ships and others without any title other than “U.S. Army” and a number or name: 108 ships
  • Vessels under 1,000 gross tons that include the 511 FS small coastal freighters, 361 Minecraft with the large Mine Planters carrying U.S. Army Mine Planter (USAMP) with a number above a name, 4,343 tugs of all types and a varied array of 4,697 launches and small service craft just designated U.S. Army with a number or name: 12,379
  • Barges and non-propelled watercraft that included 16,787 pontoons: 25,383
  • Amphibious assault craft: 88,366

Limiting the number to only the named and numbered vessels, discounting the various simple barges and amphibious assault craft, the remaining number is 14,044 vessels.

This fleet and the Army’s Ports of Embarkation[2][3][4] operated throughout the war’s massive logistics in support of the worldwide operations. After the war the Army’s fleet began to resume its peacetime role and even regain the old colors of gray hulls, white deck houses and buff trimming, masts and booms with the red, white and blue stack rings. An example may be seen in the photos of the U.S.A.T. Fred C. Ainsworth.

Then came the reorganization that led to the U.S. Department of Defense rather than a separate United States Department of War and Department of the Navy with the decision on maritime logistics going in favor of it being administered by the Navy. As a result Army lost almost all its big vessels. Many of the Army vessels were transferred to Navy with the transport types becoming components of the new Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS now MSC) under Navy[5][6]. Some of the Army’s specialized vessels became Navy commissioned ships (USS) or non-commissioned utility vessels. Digital photographs[7] of a few of these vessels in Army service are provided at the Naval History and Heritage Command. Others were sold commercially or simply scrapped.

The Army heritage of civilian crewed transports and cargo ships continued in the operating model for MSTS and its “in service” non-commissioned ships designated as U.S. Naval Ship (USNS). Some Army vessels, still crewed by Army civilians, just transferred were suddenly sailing before fully taking on the new service’s administrative functions and colors[8].

The Army still operates vessels of many types[9].

Aircraft Repair Unit (Floating)

Auxiliary Aircraft Repair Ship (a.k.a. Aircraft Maintenance Ship)

  • FS-204 Col. Clifford P. Bradley
  • FS-205 Col. Richard E. Cobb
  • FS-206 Col. John D. Corkille
  • FS-207 Col. Demas T. Craw
  • FS-208 Col. Everett S. Davis
  • FS-209 Col. Sam L. Ellis
  • FS-210 Col. Oliver S. Ferson
  • FS-211 Col. Percival E. Gabel
  • FS-212 Col. Donald M. Keiser
  • FS-213 Col. Douglas M. Kilpatrick
  • FS-214 Col. Raymond T. Lester
  • FS-215 Col. Donald R. Lyon
  • FS-216 Col. William J. McKiernan
  • FS-217 Col. Armand Peterson
  • FS-218 Col. Charles T. Phillips
  • FS-219 Col. Edgar R. Todd
  • FS-220 Col. Harold B. Wright
  • FS-221 Col. Francis T. Ziegler

Cable laying ships

The Army had a history of submarine cable work by the time of World War II operations dating back to the 1899-1900 period[10]. Much of this work had been in relation to communications with far flung Army forces in the Philippines and Alaska[11]. The Army Signal Corps used a number of cable ships for that work including Burnside, Romulus, Liscum, Dellwood and two vessels intimately associated with the Coast Artillery Corps controlled mine work at the coastal fortifications; Cyrus W. Field and Joseph Henry. That cable laying capability had been allowed to deteriorate to the point that the Army had to charter the C.S. Restorer in 1941[12].

The Army entered the field of undersea cable work in connecting the military installations in the Philippine Islands[10]. As with other cable work, some vessels were chartered. For example the vessel Orizaba (not the later Army owned vessel of the same name) was under Army charter from the Pacific Coast Steamship Company before being lost in 1900 [1]. The first ship supplied by the Quartermaster Corps to the Signal Corps for cable work was the U. S. Army Transport Burnside[13]. That Spanish American War prize was replaced by the larger Dellwood for work with Alaskan cables.

There is some confusion on ship designators within even official records. The conventional commercial and nautical term for such ships was “C.S. (name)” for “Cable Ship.” The mix of U.S.A.T., C.S. and even the simple “Steam Ship” (S.S.) as seen in postwar construction of the SS William H. G. Bullard, later the USS/USNS Neptune[14] can be somewhat confusing. All three terms are found in official usage. For example, Smithsonian Institution library records clearly show some of these Army ships as C.S. Dellwood, C.S. Silverado[15]. Army’s ship management lay in the Quartermaster Corps and later the Transportation Corps. Technical management of the cable ships was under Signal Corps and the entire enterprise of undersea cable work was the very specialized realm of several large communications corporations which operated their own cable vessels and provided experts in handling cable equipment and cable. Each appears to have used familiar terms when noting the ships in records as seen in the Quartermaster reference[13] and the records elsewhere[10][15].

The nature of the work is such that specialized crews are required to operate the cable machinery and so the actual cable splicing and technical work. The ex-Coast Artillery ships involved in mine planting were military crewed[1]. The C.S. Restorer was under charter and used civilians, many from its commercial crew, under Army contract[16]. The remaining ships were probably mixed crews[1].

Eleven Transportation Corps ships under technical management of Signal Corps are known to have been active in WW II[1]:

  • Dellwood
  • Silverado
  • Restorer (Commercial Cable Ship under Army charter)
  • Col. William A. Glassford (BSP - Self Propelled Barge )[17] Later USS Nashawena (YAG-35/AG-142)
  • Basil O. Lenoir (BSP - Self Propelled Barge)[17]
  • Gen. Samuel M. Mills (1942 Mine Planter)
  • Joseph Henry (Associated with Coast Artillery Corps mine work)
  • Lt. Col. Ellery W. Niles (1937 Mine Planter)
  • Albert J. Myer
  • William Bullard
  • Brico (ex fishing vessel turned cable barge)

Hospital ships

Engineer Port Repair Ships

Ten ships, nine being Maritime Commission type N3-M-A1 cargo vessel hulls being built at Penn Jersey Shipbuilding for the U.S. Navy or Lend Lease, were transferred to the Army for operation as Engineer Port Repair Ships. The other ship, first obtained for the purpose, was a commercial ship allocated by the War Shipping Administration. All the ships were managed and crewed by the Army Engineers organized into Engineer Port Repair Ship Crew units, named for Army Engineers killed in action during WW II and heavily modified from their original design.

WSA allocated the WW I vintage Josephine Lawrence to be converted to:

N3-M-A1 types:

Mine Planters

The U.S. Army Mine Planter Service (AMPS), under the Coast Artillery Corps, operated ships designated as U.S. Army Mine Planter (USAMP) to plant the controlled mines guarding approaches to coastal fortifications[18]. Numerous smaller vessels not designated as USAMP worked with the planters in a mine flotilla[19].

Numbered planters constructed during WW II[20][21]:

Note: Cyrus W. Field was a Signal Corps ship closely associated with mine cable work and sometimes listed with the planters. Joseph Henry was a cable ship transferred to the Coast Artillery Corps. Both were associated with the next generation of mine planter development that incorporated some cable capability into the 1917 and 1909 ships. [20][22]

Research ships

Retrieving Vessel (H/HA)

Eleven of these small ships were built for the U.S. Army Air Corps/Army Air Forces in late 1942 through mid 1943.[23] The official designation was "Design No. 210, 150 Foot Steel Diesel Retrieving Vessel", sometimes termed "Aircraft Retrieving Vessel" in later references. Name format was "U.S. Army" over "H.A.# NAME" as indicated by a builder's model. Dimensions were 158' 3" LOA X 32' beam (moulded) at deck X 8' draft powered by two 300 hp diesels.[24]

  • H.A. 2 Morrow
  • H.A. 3 Van Nostrand
  • H.A. 4 Miller
  • H.A. 5 Beck
  • H.A. 6 Colgan
  • H.A. 7 Chandler
  • H.A. 8 Bane
  • H.A. 9 Bower
  • H.A. 10 Stone
  • H.A. 11 (?)
  • H.A. 12 (?)

Transport ships

This is a list, presently incomplete, of ships in Army service under one of the following arrangements:

  • Army owned
  • Under bareboat charter (Army management of all operational aspects including crewing)
  • Allocated by the War Shipping Administration (WSA) for varying periods with commercial crews
  • Under a charter of the time or voyage type to Army with normal commercial crews

Ships known to fall in each of these categories appear in the list below.[1]

In general only ships owned, under long term bareboat charter or allocation to the Army, first through the Quartermaster Corps and later the Transportation Corps, were formally designated as a U.S. Army Transport (U.S.A.T.).[1] Those under other arrangements continued operating as SS NAME. Essentially all maritime commercial cargo and passenger type vessels were under strict control of WSA under Executive Order No. 9054. Exempted from WSA control were combatants, vessels owned by Army or Navy and coastal and inland vessels.[25]

The FS numbered vessels and Army tugs do not normally have U.S.A.T. in their names. They and other smaller Army craft were simply designated as Army with "U.S. Army" over the number (photos).

Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


























  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Grover, David (1987). U.S. Army Ships and Watercraft of World War II. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-766-6. )
  2. | San Francisco POE
  3. | Hampton POE
  4. | New York POE
  5. | History of United States Naval Operations: Korea - Chapter 4: Help on the Way - Part 2. Troops and Supplies
  6. | Military Sealift Command celebrates 50 years of service
  7. | Online Library of Selected Images: SHIPS of the UNITED STATES ARMY
  8. USNS Sgt. George D. Keathley (T-AGS 35)
  9. | Watercraft Categories, Watercraft Units, and Equipment
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 | History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications - U.S. Armed Forces Cables
  11. | Alaska Communications System (ACS) Totally Explained
  12. U.S. Armed Forces Cables
  13. 13.0 13.1 | US Army Quartermaster Foundation - The Work of the Army's Fleet by Col. T.M. Knox, QMC
  15. 15.0 15.1 | Lemelson Center - Western Union Telegraph Company Records 1820-1995 - Subseries 5: Cable Ships, 1924-1954 (not inclusive)
  16. | C.S. Restorer - Second World War; by Dirk van Oudenol
  17. 17.0 17.1 | ARC-1, ARC-5 & Nashawena (AG-142) - Short discussion of Army Coast Artillery and Signal Corps cable ships with complete list of the ARC designation. (Col. Basil O. Lenoir painting)
  18. | The California State Military Museum - Forts Under the Sea - Submarine Mine Defense of San Francisco Bay
  19. | Ft. Miles; Principle Armament - Mine Field - Army Mine Planters
  20. 20.0 20.1 | Army Ships -- The Ghost Fleet; Coast Artillery Corps - Army Mine Planter Service
  21. | Shipbuilding History - U.S. Army Mine Craft
  22. |Random Recollections by FQC Gardner; 17. OFFICER IN CHARGE OF THE TORPEDO DEPOT
  23. | Shipbuilding History: Bay Shipbuilding Company, Sturgeon Bay WI
  24. | Army FP/FS Vessels: An interesting Question
  25. | Executive Order No. 9054, 2a(1)(2)

External links

pl:Lista okrętów United States Army sl:Seznam transportnih ladij Kopenske vojske ZDA