USS Besboro (AG-66)

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Name: USS Besboro
Namesake: An island in Norton Sound off the coast of Alaska
Owner: Burns Steamship Company
Builder: Albina Engine and Machine Works Inc., Portland, Oregon
Laid down: date unknown
Completed: in 1918 as SS Caddopeak
Acquired: by the Navy, 8 June 1943
Commissioned: 22 September 1943 as USS Besboro (AG-66) at Seattle, Washington
Decommissioned: 3 May 1946, at San Francisco, California
Struck: 8 October 1946
Fate: sold, 23 May 1947
Notes: no record of ship after 1961
General characteristics
Type: commercial cargo ship
Tonnage: 1,716 tons
Tons burthen: 5,418 tons
Length: 300'
Beam: 44'
Draft: 19'
Propulsion: triple expansion reciprocating steam engine, single screw, 1,470shp
Speed: 9 knots
Troops: 340
Complement: 68 officers and enlisted
Armament: three single 3"/50 dual purpose gun mounts; four single 20mm AA gun mounts

USS Besboro (AG-66) was a cargo ship acquired by the U.S. Navy during World War II. She was heavily armed and converted to troopship and cargo ship use in the North Pacific Ocean. Post-war she was sold so that she could return to her civilian career.

Constructed in Oregon

Lurline Burns -- a steamer built in 1918 at Portland, Oregon, by the Albina Engine & Machine works as Caddopeak -- was purchased by the Navy on 9 June 1943 from the Burns Steamship Company; renamed Besboro; classified a miscellaneous auxiliary and designated AG-66; and commissioned at Seattle, Washington, on 22 September 1943, Lt. Comdr. Robert M. Baughman, USNR, in command.

World War II service

The auxiliary ship reported for shakedown training on 1 October and completed it two weeks later. She got underway for Alaskan waters on the 14th and arrived in Dutch Harbor on the 23d. For almost 31 months—through the end of World War II and during the early postwar period -- Besboro steamed along a resupply circuit carrying cargo and troops between Seattle, Washington, and various points on the coast of Alaska. She returned south for the last time early in 1946.

Post-war inactivation

After an inspection and survey at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, the cargoman was declared surplus to the needs of the Navy. Accordingly, Besboro was decommissioned at San Francisco, California, on 3 May 1946. She was turned over to the U.S. Maritime Commission for disposal on 1 July 1946, and her name was struck from the Navy list on 8 October 1946.

Subsequent maritime career

On 23 May 1947, she was sold to the Waterman Steamship Corporation which firm converted her back to mercantile service and restored her former name. However, Lurline Burns did not stay long in its service. By 1948, the Hong Kong firm, Wellem & Co. operated her under Panamanian registry as SS Shapur. That company employed her until 1960 or 1961 when all reference to her in mercantile records ceased.