USNS Lt. George W. G. Boyce (T-AK-251)

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Name: Lt. George W. G. Boyce
Namesake: Lt. George W. G. Boyce, awarded the Medal of Honor
Ordered: as type (VC-2S-AP2) hull 852
Builder: Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard, Inc., Baltimore, Maryland
Laid down: 13 July 1945, as SS Waterville Victory
Launched: 19 September 1945
Sponsored by: Mrs. Christine M. Roundy
Acquired: by the United States Navy, 9 August 1950
Commissioned: in 1946 as USAT Lt. George W. G. Boyce
Decommissioned: February 1950
In service: circa 9 August 1950 as USNS Lt. George W. G. Boyce (T-AK-251)
Out of service: 15 July 1973
Struck: 15 July 1973
Honors and
four battle stars for service during the Korean War
Fate: scrapped, 1 October 1974 at Portland, Oregon
General characteristics
Type: Boulder Victory-class cargo ship
Displacement: 15,589 tons
Length: 455'
Beam: 62'
Draft: 29' 2"
Propulsion: steam turbine, single propeller, 8,500shp
Speed: 15.5 knots
Complement: 99 officers and enlisted
Armament: none

USNS Lt. George W. G. Boyce (T-AK-251) was a Boulder Victory-class cargo ship built for the U.S. Maritime Commission during the final months of World War II.

She was acquired by the U.S. Army in 1946 as USAT Lt. George W. G. Boyce and served the Army until 1950 when she was acquired by the United States Navy during the start of the Korean Crisis. After serving the Navy during that conflict and earning four battle stars, she continued serving the Navy’s needs until 1973 when she was struck and subsequently scrapped.

Victory built in Maryland

Lt. George W. G. Boyce (T AK 251) was laid down as Waterville Victory under Maritime Commission contract by Bethlehem Fairfield Shipyard, Inc., Baltimore, Maryland, 13 July 1945; launched 19 September 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Christine M. Roundy; and delivered to her operator, Parry Navigation Co., Baltimore, Maryland, 15 October 1945.

U.S. Army service

Waterville Victory operated under the control of the War Shipping Administration until July 1946 when she was transferred to the Army Transportation Service and renamed USAT Lt. George W. G. Boyce. She was inactivated in February 1950 and entered the Maritime Commission Reserve Fleet at Olympia, Washington.

U.S. Navy service

Korean War service

Following the Communist invasion of South Korea in June 1950, Lt. George W. G. Boyce underwent reactivation. She was acquired by the Navy from the Maritime Commission 9 August and assigned to the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS).

Manned by a civilian crew, she departed Seattle, Washington, 29 September and steamed to the Far East with vital military cargo. During much of the period of conflict in Korea, she bolstered the seaborne supply line between the United States and the Far East carrying supplies to ports in Japan, South Korea, Formosa, and Okinawa. In addition she supplied American bases in the Aleutian Islands.

Post-Korean War service

On 25 January 1954 Lt. George W. G. Boyce departed Bangor, Washington, for MSTS duty in the Atlantic Ocean. She steamed via San Juan, Puerto Rico, to ports in West Germany and France, thence returned to New York City 30 March. During May and June she expanded her scope of operations to include ports in the Mediterranean.

Over the next 6 years she maintained a busy, wide-ranging schedule of supply runs in support of the defense of the United States and the free world. In addition to numerous transatlantic voyages to ports in western Europe, she operated from Greenland to the troubled Middle East. In August and September 1957 and again in 1958 she made logistics runs to the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. And she operated in the eastern Mediterranean during the summer of 1958 following American peacekeeping operations in troubled Lebanon.

Departing New York 14 January 1960, Lt. George W. C. Boyce sailed on a 6 month, round the world deployment which sent her via the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean to ports in South Vietnam, Formosa, South Korea, Japan, and the Philippine Islands. Thence, after touching American bases in the Mariana Islands and the Marshall Islands, she returned to the U.S. East Coast 29 June and resumed transatlantic service. The veteran cargo ship made a second run to the Far East and back later that year, and from 22 April to 31 August 1961 she circumnavigated the earth for the second time in little more than a year.

During the next 2 years she cruised primarily to the Mediterranean and Europe with additional assignments sending her to the Caribbean and to the Pacific coast of the United States. From September 1963 to February 1964, she steamed via the west coast to the Far East and back to supply American forces in that unsettled area. She resumed transatlantic runs in April and In December deployed once again to the Far East.

Vietnam support

Since 1964 Lt. George W. G. Boyce alternated supply runs to European and Middle Eastern ports with logistics deployments in support of America’s growing commitment to the defense of South Vietnam from external Communist aggression. Her role In the defense of the free world is truly worldwide in scope and she cruised wherever and whenever needed to support keeping the peace operations of the versatile and powerful U.S. Navy. Into 1969 she continued her support of American military form in Southeast Asia in general and South Vietnam in particular.

Post-war decommissioning and career

The vessel was placed out of service on 15 July 1973 and struck from the Navy list on the same day. She wa placed in the reserve fleet, and, on 1 October 1974, sold for scrapping in Portland, Oregon.

Honors and awards

Lt. George W. G. Boyce received four battle stars for service during the Korean conflict:

First UN Counter Offensive - 5 to 21 April 1951
Communist China Spring Offensive - 22 April to 5 May 1951 - 4 to 11 October 1951
First UN Summer-Fall - 4 to 11 October 1951 - 15 December 1951 to 3 January 1952 - 14 to 21 February 1952 - 8 to 29 April 1952
Second Korean Winter - 15 December to 3 January 1952 - 23 to 29 April 1952

Qualified personnel were authorized the following:

National Defense Service Medal (2)
Korean Service Medal (4)
Vietnam Service Medal (1)
United Nations Service Medal
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
Republic of Korea War Service Medal (retroactive)