USS Admiral H. T. Mayo

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The USS Admiral H T Mayo circa 1945
Career (US) 100x35px
Name: USS Admiral H T Mayo
Commissioned: April 1945
Decommissioned: July 1971
Renamed: General Nelson M Walker
Struck: January 1959
Reinstated: August 1965
Fate: Scrapped in 2005
General characteristics
Class and type: Admiral W S Benson
Displacement: 9,676 tons

USS Admiral H T Mayo (AP-125) was a United States Navy Admiral W. S. Benson class transport that entered service at the end of World War II. She partook in Operation Magic Carpet before being transferred to the U.S Army for a short period, who renamed her USAT General Nelson M Walker, before returning to the Navy. She was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in January 1981 before being scrapped in 2005.


USS Admiral H T Mayo (AP-125)

Built at Alameda, California to the Maritime Commission's P2-SE2-R1 design, she was commissioned in April 1945. After shakedown she steamed to the Atlantic and, in June, carried 5,819 released prisoners of war from Le Havre, France, to Boston. Her next voyage took her to Marseilles, France, where she embarked 4,888 quartermaster and engineer troops and transported them to Okinawa, arriving in September. Admiral H. T. Mayo then began the first of several "Magic Carpet" trips, bringing servicemen home from the Western Pacific. The ship completed the last of these voyages in April 1946 and sailed for New York, where she was decommissioned in May 1946 and transferred, via the Maritime Commission, to the U.S. Army.

USAT General Nelson M. Walker

The Army operated the ship with a civilian crew as part of its water transportation service and soon renamed her General Nelson M. Walker. In mid-1948 she received upgraded accommodations for military dependents.

First Return to Navy service

Returned to the Navy in March 1950 when most of the Army's larger ships became part of the newly-created Military Sea Transportation Service. Still civilian-manned and retaining her "General" name, the ship made numerous crossings of the Pacific in support of the Korean War. To increase her troop capacity, in early 1952 she was refitted as an "austerity" transport, with most amenities removed. Later in 1952 she carried Greek and Turkish troops from their homelands to Korea, and in August 1953 she brought the first group of 328 returning American prisoners of war home from Korea. General Nelson M. Walker continued to operate in the Pacific until January 1957, when she transited to the Atlantic and carried out a single round trip voyage to Bremerhaven, West Germany. Placed in ready reserve status in February 1957, she was berthed in the Maritime Administration's Hudson River reserve fleet from June 1957 to June 1958 and again after January 1959, when she was transferred to the Maritime Administration and stricken from the Navy List.

Second Return to Navy service

In August 1965 the Navy reacquired General Nelson M. Walker, reinstating her on the Navy List with the prefix USNS to support the buildup of U.S. forces in Vietnam. She carried out troop lifts to Southeast Asia through the end of 1967 and was again inactivated at New York in early 1968.

File:General Nelson M Walker.jpg
As USNS Nelson M Walker during the 1950's.

Final Years

She joined the Maritime Administration's James River, Virginia, reserve fleet in April 1970 and was formally transferred to the Maritime Administration in July 1971. The transport was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in January 1981 to clear the way for transfer to a private organization for operation as a hospital ship, but the transfer did not materialize. In December 1994 the Navy passed full ownership of the ship to the Maritime Administration, which put her on indefinite hold for possible use in civil emergencies. The hold was lifted in September 1998 and the ship was ready for disposal by June 2001. In January 2005, nearly a half-century after completion, General Nelson M. Walker was towed out of the James River Reserve Fleet en route to All Star Metals, Brownsville, Texas where she was broken up for scrap.