USNS Greenville Victory (T-AK-237)

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Name: Greenville Victory
Namesake: Greenville County, South Carolina
Ordered: as type (VC2-S-AP3) hull, MCV 18
Builder: California Shipbuilding Corporation, Los Angeles, California
Laid down: 21 March 1944
Launched: 28 May 1944
Sponsored by: Miss Mary J. Vukov
Completed: 7 July 1944, as SS Greenville Victory under charter by Sea Shipping Company, New York, New York
Acquired: by the U.S. Navy, 1 March 1950
Commissioned: 30 March 1948 as USAT Greenville Victory
Decommissioned: 1 March 1950 as USAT Greenville Victory
In service: circa 1 March 1950 as USNS Greenville Victory (T-AK-237)
Out of service: circa 22 March 1976 as USNS Greenville Victory (T-AK-237)
Struck: 16 January 1987
Fate: scrapped, 26 May 1983
General characteristics
Type: Greenvile Victory-class cargo ship
Tonnage: 4,512 tons
Tons burthen: 15,589 tons
Length: 455'
Beam: 62'
Draft: 29' 2"
Propulsion: cross compound steam turbine, single propeller, 8,500shp
Speed: 15.5 knots
Complement: 99 officers and enlisted
Armament: WWII: one bow mounted single 5"/38 dual purpose gun mount; one stern mounted single 3"/50 dual purpose gun mount; eight single 20mm AA gun mounts

USNS Greenville Victory (T-AK-237) was a Greenville Victory-class cargo ship that served as a commercial cargo ship during World War II. Post-war she was acquired by the U.S. Army as USAT Greenville Victory. She was acquired by the U.S. Navy in 1950 and assigned to the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) who operated her safety through the Korean War and Vietnam War campaigns. She returned home with two battle stars to her credit and was struck in 1987.

Victory built in California

Greenville Victory (T-AK-237) was laid down under U.S. Maritime Commission contract by California Shipbuilding Corporation, Los Angeles, California; 21 March 1944; launched 28 May 1944; sponsored by Miss Mary J. Vukov; and delivered to the War Shipping Administration (WSA) 8 July 1944.

World War II operations

During the remainder of the war, SS Greenville Victory served as a merchant ship under charter to Sea Shipping Company of New York City.

U.S. Army service

Following World War II, she transported cargo in the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. She was transferred to the Army Transportation Service in the spring of 1948. Acquired by the Navy 1 March 1950, she was assigned to MSTS.

Korean War era service

Manned by a civilian crew, Greenville Victory, from 1950 to 1953, operated in the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean, carrying military cargo to French, English, and German ports; Guantanamo Bay; and the Panama Canal Zone.

Between 19 February and 9 May she sailed out of New York City to the Far East and back, loaded with ammunition for Korea. After completing a run to Europe and back, she again departed New York 9 July for the Far East. She reached Yokohama, Japan, 9 August and during the next 2 months operated in the Western Pacific Ocean, carrying ammunition to Formosa and to French forces fighting Communist Viet-Minh guerillas in French Indochina. Sailing from Yokohama 4 October via San Francisco, California, she reached New York City 6 November 1953 to resume cargo runs to Europe.

Services at the world’s poles

File:Deepfreeze I 471a.jpg
Greenville Victory during Operation Deep Freeze in 1956.

During the next 2 years, Greenville Victory steamed primarily between New York City and West European ports. In June and July 1964 she sailed to the Western Mediterranean to replenish at sea ships of the mighty U.S. 6th Fleet. On 16 November she departed Newport, Rhode Island, for Antarctica and arrived at McMurdo Sound 16 January 1956 to provision ships of Task Force 43, as part of the Navy's Operation Deep Freeze. Departing Antarctica 5 February, via New Zealand, she arrived in New York on 28 March.

Between 1956 and 1964 Greenville Victory maintained a busy schedule transporting cargo to American bases scattered throughout the world. She replenished Task Force 43 on three more Antarctic deployments; and, from December to February 1956-57, 1957-38, and 1960-61, she operated in Antarctic waters. Cargo runs sent her to the Caribbean in 1958, 1960, and 1962 and to Thule, Greenland, during September and October 1958.

She also deployed with the 6th Fleet five times between June 1956 and March 1964; and on two deployments in 1963 and 1964 she transited the Suez Canal, steaming to India and Pakistan.

Greenville Victory departed Norfolk, Virginia, 6 October 1964 to participate in the massive transatlantic trooplift exercise, "Steel Pike I." Departing Morehead City, North Carolina, 8 October, she closed the Spanish coast off Rota 19 October. For more than 2 weeks she discharged supplies and cargo in support of amphibious and shore operations. Departing Rota 7 November, she steamed via Morehead City to New York, arriving 20 November.

Vietnam War era services

In response to American determination to protect the integrity and independence of South Vietnam from external Communist aggression, Greenville Victory departed New York 22 November for duty in the Western Pacific. Sailing via San Diego, California, she arrived Guam 24 December. During the next month she steamed to Okinawa, Korea, and Japan, carrying cargo. Arriving Manila, Philippine Islands, 26 January 1965, she sailed the 28th for Pearl Harbor and San Francisco, California. After reaching the U.S. West Coast 25 February, she made a run out of San Francisco, California, to Seattle, Washington, then sailed for the U.S. Gulf Coast 15 March, arriving New Orleans, Louisiana, the 28th.

During the next 5 months, Greenville Victory made cargo runs in the Atlantic out of Norfolk, Virginia, and New York. She departed New York 20 October after a voyage to Labrador and back; and, steaming via Norfolk, Virginia, and Long Beach, California, she reached Yokohama, Japan, 22 November. Loaded with military cargo, she sailed for South Vietnam the 30th and arrived Saigon 16 December. The following day she sailed via Vung Tau for the U.S. West Coast, arriving San Francisco 3 January 1966.

Greenville Victory replenished her holds with vital military supplies for the forces of freedom in Southeast Asia before returning to the Western Pacific. Sailing via Sasebo, Japan, she reached Bangkok, Thailand, 13 February, sailed the 22d for South Vietnam and arrived Vung Tau the next day.

Having unloaded, she sailed 1 March for the U.S. West Coast to transport additional military material from the United States to Vietnam. She continued operations between the United States and the Western Pacific until transferred to the Atlantic at mid-year. In 1967 she was busy supplying Allied forces in Europe.

Post-war decommissioning and career

Greenville Victory was decommissioned at (date unknown) and struck from the Navy list on 16 January 1987. She was transferred to the U.S. Maritime Administration who placed her in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River Group, at Lee Hall, Virginia. On 26 May 1983 she was sold for scrapping.

Honors and awards

Greenville Victory participated in the following campaigns:

  • Vietnam Defense - 16 December 1965
  • Vietnamese Counteroffensive - 23 February 1965

Eligible Greenville Victory personnel were authorized the following:

National Defense Service Medal (2)
Korean Service Medal
Antarctic Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal (2)
United Nations Service Medal
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
Republic of Korea War Service Medal (retroactive)