USNS Lt. James E. Robinson (T-AK-274)

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Name: USNS LT. James E. Robinson
Namesake: James E. Robinson, Jr., awarded the Medal of Honor during World War II
Builder: Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation, Portland, Oregon
Laid down: 25 November 1943, as SS Czechoslovakia Victory, type (VC2-S-AP2) hull
Launched: 20 January 1944
Christened: Miss Barbara Vickery
Acquired: by the United States Navy, 1 March 1950
Commissioned: 3 May 1948 as USAT LT. James E. Robinson
Decommissioned: date unknown
In service: 1 March 1950 as USNS Lt James E. Robinson (T-AKV-3)
Out of service: date unknown
Reclassified: T-AG-170, a cable transport ship in December 1962; T-AK-274, a cargo ship, 1 July 1964
Struck: 16 January 1981
Honors and
one battle star for World War II service
Fate: laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet on 17 March 1976 and sold for scrap on 26 May 1983
General characteristics
Type: LT. James E. Robinson-class cargo ship
Tons burthen: 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. James E. Robinson (T-AK-274/T-AG-170/T-AKV-3) was a LT. James E. Robinson-class cargo ship, which was launched as a World War II commercial cargo ship. She had earlier been the U.S. Army’s USAT LT. James E. Robinson before being acquired by the U.S. Navy.

Victory ship built in Oregon

Lt. James E. Robinson (AKV 3) was laid down under U.S. Maritime Commission contract as Czechoslovakia Victory by Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation, Portland, Oregon, 25 November 1943; launched 20 January 1944; sponsored by Miss Barbara Vickery; and delivered to her operator, American Hawaiian Steamship Corp., 11 March 1944.

World War II service

Owned by the Maritime Commission, she served on the merchant sealanes under the control of the War Shipping Administration during the remainder of World War II and later saw service in the Army Transportation Service as USAT LT. James E. Robinson. On 1 March 1950 she was transferred by the Maritime Administration to the Navy and assigned to duty under the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS).

Post-war service

Manned by a civilian crew, Lt. James E. Robinson operated out of U.S. East Coast ports, primarily New York City, while making runs to ports in West Germany and the British Isles. In September 1953 she expanded the scope of her operations with a supply and logistics run to the Mediterranean which sent her to Greece, Turkey, and Trieste.

She maintained this pattern of Mediterranean and western European cruises during the next 7 years. In addition, during the periods of August 1955, August-September 1956, and July October 1958, she carried cargo to Thule, Greenland, in support of military defense construction projects. Late in November 1958, again expanding her area of operations, she cruised to ports in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Persian Gulf before returning to New York City 31 January 1959.

Vietnam-era operations

Lt. James E. Robinson was reclassified AK-274 in May 1959 while operating in the Atlantic Ocean. Between 1 August 1960 and 9 September she steamed from New York to Saigon, South Vietnam, carrying cargo for the American military effort there. After making ports in Formosa, South Korea, and Japan, she returned to New York via the U.S. West Coast 29 November, thence resumed transatlantic cargo service 16 December.

Circumnavigating the globe

During April and May 1961 she cruised to the Indian Ocean and back; and between 19 August and 5 January 1962, she circumnavigated the globe steaming from Davisville, Rhode Island, and back via the Panama Canal, Australia, the Suez Canal, and Gibraltar.

During much of 1962 and 1963 Lt. James E. Robinson took part in special logistics operations in the South Atlantic and the Indian Oceans. Reclassified AG-170 in December 1962, she operated out of Cape Town and Durban, South Africa, and ranged the African coast from Liberia to Kenya.

She continued these operations during the first 4 months of 1964 and returned to New York 31 May via Suez and Rota, Spain. She again reclassified AK-274 on 1 July 1964 and resumed transatlantic cargo runs to western European ports. Continuing this duty through 1969, she remained assigned to the Atlantic Area of MSTS.


Lt. James E. Robinson was placed out of service at an unknown date and was transferred to the Maritime Administration (MARAD), 17 March 1976, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet. She was struck from the Navy list on 16 January 1981 and was sold for scrap to Andy Exports, Inc., on 26 May 1983.

Honors and awards

Lt. James E. Robinson received one battle star for World War II service.