USNS Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton (T-AKV-5)

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Name: Jack J. Pendleton
Namesake: Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sergeant Jack J. Pendleton
Ordered: as type (VC2-S-AP3) hull, MCV hull 109
Builder: Oregon Shipbuilding Corp., Portland, Oregon
Laid down: 15 April 1944, as SS Mandan Victory
Sponsored by: Mrs. George C. Carter
Commissioned: 23 April 1948, by the U.S. Army as USAT Sgt. Jack J. Pendelton
Decommissioned: 1 March 1950 by the U.S. Army
by the U.S Navy, 1 March 1950
In service: 1 March 1950 as the U.S. Navy’s USNS Sgt Jack J. Pendelton (T-AKV-5)
Out of service: 1973
Reclassified: Cargo Ship (T-AK-276), 7 May 1956
Struck: date not known
Homeport: San Francisco, California
Oakland, California
Fate: struck a reef on Triton Island in 1973 and lost
General characteristics
Type: Lt. James E. Robinson-class cargo ship
Tons burthen: 16,199 tons
Length: 455' 3"
Beam: 62'
Draft: 28' 7"
Propulsion: steam turbine, single propeller, 8,500shp
Speed: 16 knots
Crew: 55
Armament: none

USNS Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton (T-AKV-5 /T-AK-276) was a Lt. James E. Robinson-class cargo ship constructed during World War II and placed into service under cognizance of the U.S. Maritime Commission.

Post-war she was acquired by the U.S. Army and placed into service as USAT Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton. In 1950 she was reacquired by the Navy and placed into service as the USNS Sgt Jack J. Pendleton (T-AKV-5). Pendleton continued to serve her country throughout the Korean War and during the Vietnam Conflict.

In 1973, while sailing in the Paracel Islands, Pendleton struck a reef off Triton Island. Attempts to remove her from the reef failed, and she was abandoned.

Victory ship built in Oregon

Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton was laid down under Maritime Commission contract as Mandan Victory (MCV hull 109) on 15 April 1944 by the Oregon Shipbuilding Corp., Portland, Oregon; launched on 26 May 1944; sponsored by Mrs. George C. Carter; and delivered to the Maritime Commission's War Shipping Administration on 19 June 1944.

World War II service

Operated under a general agency agreement by the Isthmian Steamship Co. for the remainder of World War II and during the postwar period, Mandan Victory was subsequently operated by the Waterman Steamship Corporation and by A. L. Burbank and Co. In December 1947, she was laid up with the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Wilmington, Delaware.

Transferred to the U.S. Army

On 23 April 1948, she was transferred to the Army. Renamed Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton, the Victory ship received miscellaneous alterations, including the addition of radar and the enlargement of her hatches, during the summer; and, in the fall, she commenced 18 months of operations under the Army Transportation Service.

Acquired by MSTS

On 1 March 1950, the ship was transferred to the Navy for operation by the newly established Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS), now the Military Sealift Command.

Designated as a cargo ship and aircraft ferry, the former Army ship was given a civil service crew; placed in service as USNS Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton (T-AKV-5); and assigned to transpacific operations from her home port, San Francisco, California.

Korean War service

In late June, as the war in Korea broke out, she completed her second round trip to Japan as an MSTS ship and, for the next two years, was employed in moving combat cargoes westward. In the summer of 1952, however, she was shifted to runs to the Marshall Islands and the Mariana Islands; and, in March of 1953, she resumed a Far East Schedule which she maintained until after the Korean truce.

Post-Korean War service

From 1954 to 1956, her destinations ranged from islands in the Central Pacific Ocean, to Japan, Korea, Okinawa, Taiwan, the Philippine Islands, and Thailand. During the summer of 1956, she conducted arctic operations; but, with the fall, resumed her schedule in the more temperate and tropical zones of the Pacific.

Rescuing a Japanese crew at sea

In 1958, she was commended for rescuing the entire crew of a large Japanese fishing vessel which had gone down in the Pacific; and, in the same year, she again added northern ports in the Aleutians to her delivery points.

Temporary service in the Atlantic

In 1959, after calls at ports on the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, and the Gulf of Aden, the ship transited the Suez Canal to take on and deliver cargo in the Mediterranean. From there, she moved into the Atlantic Ocean and, in late March, arrived at New York City. She then continued on to Norfolk, Virginia, whence, for the next two months, she conducted transatlantic runs.

Redesignated AK-276 (7 May 1956), Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton carried supplies to northern bases in Greenland in July and in August; and, in September, she sailed for northern Europe, whence she made her way back to the Pacific via the Suez Canal.

During October and November, she put into ports on the Indian subcontinent, in southeast Asia, on the island of Taiwan, and on the Korean peninsula. In early December, she was in Japan; and, on the 29th, she arrived at Seattle, Washington, whence, with the new year 1960, she returned to San Francisco to resume transpacific operations.

Later in that year, the Victory ship interrupted her more routine schedule to bring the Navy's bathyscaph, Trieste, back to San Diego, California, after the research vessel had set a record dive of 35,800 feet in the Mariana Trench.

Vietnam War service

Later in the 1960s, as the conflict in Vietnam necessitated a speed-up in the supply line, she was employed in shuttling cargo from Subic Bay to South Vietnam.

Since that time, into the fall of 1974, Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton, now home ported at Oakland, California, continued operations in the Pacific for the Military Sealift Command.


While sailing in 1973 through the Paracel Islands -- a group of small islands and reefs in the South China Sea -- Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton ran aground on a reef at Triton Island. Attempts were made to salvage her, however, attempts failed and she was abandoned.

Honors and awards

Qualified vessel personnel were qualified for the following:


Some accounts of this vessel give her name as “Pendelton” instead of the correct name “Pendleton” which is the spelling of the person for which she was named by the Navy.