USS Carina (AK-74)

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Name: USS Carina (AK-74)
Ordered: As SS David Davis
Builder: Permanente Metals Corporation
Launched: 6 November 1942
Acquired: 20 November 1942
Commissioned: 1 December 1942
Decommissioned: 16 October 1945
Honours and
Three battle stars
Fate: War Shipping Administration for storage, then scrapping
General characteristics
Class and type: Crater-class cargo ship
Displacement: 4,023 tons
Length: 441 ft 6 in (134.57 m)
Beam: 56 ft 11 in (17.35 m)
Draft: 28 ft 4 in (8.64 m)
Speed: 12 knots
Complement: 198
Armament: one 5" naval gun and one 3" gun

The USS Carina (AK-74) was a Crater-class cargo ship, and the only ship of the United States Navy to have this name. She was named for the southern constellation Carina, with most of her sister ships being named for the constellations or stars.

The USS Carina was launched on 6 November 1942 by Permanente Metals Corporation, Yard No. 1, Richmond, California, as the Liberty ship S.S. David Davis (MCE hull 502). She was sponsored by Mrs. A. R. Olds, transferred to the U.S. Navy on 20 November 1942, and commissioned on 1 December 1942, with Lt. Commander J. I. MacPherson, USNR, in command.

The Carina departed from San Francisco Bay on 14 December 1942 laden with military cargo for Espiritu Santo and Guadalcanal in the South Pacific Ocean. At Guadalcanal, she unloaded her cargo between 23 January and 4 February 1943, bringing invaluable support to the last phases of the bitter campaign for that island. Operating to aid in the consolidation of the southern Solomon Islands, she steamed between the main port of Espiritu Santo and Purvis Bay, Tulagi, Tongatapu, and Tagoma Point. On 3 March, while she was unloading at Tulagi, she endured two air attacks. Several near misses with bombs occurred, spraying her with shrapnel and wounding six of her crewmen.

After repairs at Espiritu Santo, the Carina resumed her cargo runs until May 1943, when she steamed to Australia, arriving on 30 May for engine repairs and to replenish at the ports of Townsville, Sydney, and Melbourne. She next carried cargo for U.S. Marine Corps units that were training in New Zealand, arriving at the port of Auckland in August. Next, she returned to her supply runs closer to the combat zone in the South Pacific. She added the Fiji Islands, the Russell Islands, New Guinea, and the Admiralty Islands to her list of Pacific Island delivery ports. The Carina continued her cargo missions until 12 July 1943, when she departed from Espiritu Santo and steamed home for an overhaul and crewmen's leave at San Francisco, California.

This shipyard overhaul prepared the Carina for service with distant voyages in support of the Liberation of the Philippines. Among other tasks, she carried pontoons from Pearl Harbor to Ulithi Atoll between 2 October 1944 and 31 December 1944. Returning to San Francisco for further repairs and upgrades, she went asea towards the combat areas again on 9 March 1945. She arrived in the dangerous combat waters off Okinawa on 26 April, and on 4 May, she became the target of a determined Japanese suicide boat, which successfully rammed the Carina. This ramming produced a violent explosion on her port side, knocked out one of her boilers, and flooded one of her holds. Six crewmen of the Carina’s were injured by the explosion. Skillful damage control saved both the USS Carina and her cargo, and she was able to complete unloading her cargo at Okinawa before departing for temporary repairs at the U.S. Navy base at Ulithi Atoll. The Carina returned to the West Coast of the United States for an overhaul in July, and the war ended in August before her services were needed again. On 16 October 1945, she was decommissioned at Suisun Bay, California, and she was delivered to the War Shipping Administration for long-term storage.

The USS Carina received three battle stars for her World War II service.


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