USNS Sgt. Joseph E. Muller (T-AG-171)

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Name: USNS Sgt. Joseph E. Muller
Namesake: Joseph E. Muller, who was awarded the Medal of Honor
Builder: Southeastern Shipbuilding Corporation, Savannah, Georgia
Laid down: December 1944, as M/V Check Knot, type (C1-M-AV1) hull, MC hull 2485
Launched: 17 February 1945
Sponsored by: Mrs. D. R. Williams
Commissioned: circa 1948 as USAT Sgt Joseph E. Muller
Decommissioned: 1 July 1950
In service: circa 1950 as USNS Sgt. Joseph E. Muller (T-APC-118)
Out of service: 16 September 1969 as USNS Sgt. Joseph E. Muller (T-AG-171)
Refit: as a Miscellaneous auxiliary (Technical Research ship) atMaryland Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Baltimore, Maryland, in October 1962
Struck: 25 October 1957 and on 16 September 1969
Honours and
Nine battle stars for Korean War service
Fate: transferred to MARAD, 13 November 1969; sold on 3 October 1972
General characteristics
Type: Sgt. Jonah E. Kelly-class cargo ship
Tonnage: 3,366 tons
Tons burthen: 6,090 tons
Length: 338' 9"
Beam: 50' 4"
Draft: 21'
Propulsion: diesel, single propeller
Speed: 11.5 knots
Troops: 101
Complement: 107 officers and enlisted
Armament: not known

USNS Sgt. Joseph E. Muller (T-AG-171/ T-APC-118) was a Sgt. Jonah E. Kelly-class cargo ship constructed during the final months of World War II. As USAT Sgt. Joseph E. Muller she was used by the U.S. Army for World War II cleanup operations. She was again commissioned – this time for the United States Navy – and assigned to Korean War supply and transport operations, earning nine battle stars. She was again place back in service in 1962 as an oceanographic research ship, based out of Florida, until she was finally declared surplus to needs in 1969 and struck.

Built in Savannah, Georgia

Sgt. Joseph E. Muller was laid down under U.S. Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 2485) as Check Knot on 30 December 1944 by the Southeastern Shipbuilding Corporation, Savannah, Georgia; launched on 17 February 1945; sponsored by Mrs. D. R. Williams; delivered to the Maritime Commission's Shipping Administration on 9 June 1945 for operation by the Waterman Steamship Company.

World War II-related U.S. Army service

Returned to the Maritime Commission and transferred to the U.S. War Department for operation by the Army's transportation service after the end of World War II, Check Knot was renamed Sgt. Joseph E. Mutter and was operated in support of occupation forces in Japan and Korea.

Korean War service with the Navy

In late 1949, the Navy-operated Military Sea Transportation Service (now Military Sealift Command) was established; and, in July 1950, the ship was transferred to that organization. Through the Korean conflict, she continued to shuttle passengers and cargo—primarily to Japan and Korea, but with an occasional run to Okinawa, Taiwan, and the Philippines.

In the spring of 1955, she sailed east, arriving in Hawaii for repairs in mid-May, and at New York City in late June for operations out of that port. Initially slated for Arctic resupply missions, she was transferred temporarily and in ready status to the Maritime Administration's National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF), Hudson River berthing area, in December 1956, and, in September 1957, was declared surplus to the needs of the Navy. The following month, she was returned to the Navy and, on 25 October, was permanently transferred to the NDRF and laid up with the Hudson River unit.

Reactivated as a research support ship

Just under five years later, in August 1962, Sgt. Joseph E, Mutter was designated for activation, conversion to a research support ship, and redelivery to the Navy. On 1 October, reactivation and conversion was begun at the Maryland Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Baltimore, Maryland; on 30 October, she was reinstated on the Navy list as USNS Sgt. Joseph E. Mutter (T-AG-171). A week later, the ship was towed to New Orleans, Louisiana, for further alterations; and, in April 1963, she arrived at Port Everglades, Florida, where she took up duties as a special project ship for oceanographic research operations.

Honors and awards

During the Korean War, Sgt. Joseph E, Mutter participated in the following campaigns:

  • North Korean Aggression - 8 July to 38 October 1950
  • Communist China Aggression - 13 December 1950 to 24 January 1951
  • First UN Counter Offensive - 25 January to 12 April 1951
  • Communist China Spring Offensive - 26 April to 8 July 1951
  • UN Summer-Fall Offensive - 15 July to 27 November 1951
  • Second Korean Winter - 28 November 1951 to 8 April 1952
  • Korean Defense Summer-Fall 1952 - 16 July to 29 November 1952
  • Third Korean Winter - 1 December 1952 to 27 April 1953
  • Korean Summer-Fall 1953 - 1 May to 20 July 1952

Final inactivation

On 16 September 1969, the ship was again declared surplus; and, on 13 November, she was transferred back to the NDRF for berthing in the James River. Her name was struck from the Navy list on the same date.