USS Florence Nightingale (AP-70)
|Name:||USS Florence Nightingale|
|Builder:||Moore Dry Dock Company, Oakland, California|
|Launched:||28 August 1940|
|Acquired:||13 September 1942|
|Commissioned:||17 September 1942|
|Decommissioned:||1 May 1946|
|4 battle stars (World War II)|
|Class and type:||Elizabeth C. Stanton-class transport|
7,980 long tons (8,108 t) light|
14,909 long tons (15,148 t) full
|Length:||492 ft (150 m)|
|Beam:||69 ft (21 m)|
|Draft:||24 ft (7.3 m)|
|Propulsion:||Steam turbine, single shaft, 8,500 hp (6,338 kW)|
|Speed:||18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)|
|Complement:||396 officers and enlisted|
• 1 × single 5"/38 caliber gun|
• 4 × single 3"/50 caliber guns
USS Florence Nightingale (AP-70) was an Elizabeth C. Stanton-class transport ship of the United States Navy. She was named for Florence Nightingale (1820–1910), the nursing pioneer, and is one of the few United States Navy ships named after a woman.
Florence Nightingale was launched on 28 August 1940 by Moore Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Oakland, California, as Mormacsun; sponsored by Miss Carlotta S. Chapman. Delivered to Moore McCormack Lines in May 1941, she was acquired by the War Shipping Administration on 20 December 1941, and acquired by the US Navy on 13 September 1942, and commissioned on 17 September 1942, Captain E. D. Graves, Jr., in command.
Florence Nightingale sailed from Norfolk on 23 October 1942 in the task force bound for the invasion of North Africa, and between 8–15 November lay off Port Lyautey, Morocco, landing troops and cargo. Returning to Norfolk on 30 November, she made two voyages to Algeria, carrying reinforcements and cargo out, and prisoners of war back, returning to New York from the second, on 11 March 1943. After brief overhaul and exercising in Chesapeake Bay, Florence Nightingale sailed from Norfolk on 8 June with troops for the invasion of Sicily, landing them through hazardous surf conditions at Scoglitti from 10–12 July.
Returning to New York on 3 August 1943, Florence Nightingale voyaged to Oran in September, and on 8 October sailed from New York for Belfast, Northern Ireland. She carried men from Glasgow, Scotland, to Iceland, before returning to Boston on 17 November to load for the first of two transport voyages to the Firth of Clyde, Scotland, from New York. Laden with soldiers and nurses, she sailed from New York on 27 February 1944 for Cardiff, where she landed her original passengers, then sailed to Belfast to embark soldiers for the Mediterranean Sea. From 21 March, she carried troops among Mediterranean bases, and took part in landing operations in preparation for the invasion of southern France, for which she sortied from Naples on 13 August. She landed her troops in the initial assault on 15 August, and returned with casualties to Naples three days later. Until 25 October, when she sailed for home, Florence Nightingale brought reinforcements from Oran to the fighting in southern France.
Overhauled at New York from 8 November–18 December, Florence Nightingale loaded Marines at Norfolk, and with them arrived at Pearl Harbor on 10 January 1945. Here she debarked the Marines and loaded soldiers and Army equipment for the Marianas. She sailed among these islands, transporting casualties, mail, and cargo to Guam, made one cargo voyage to Ulithi, and returned to Pearl Harbor on 22 March. On 7 April, again troop laden, she got underway for Okinawa, off which she lay to discharge reinforcements from 3–8 May, undergoing many air raids but suffering no damage.
The transport reached San Francisco from action waters on 27 May 1945, and sailed 11 days later to carry men of naval construction battalions and their equipment to Okinawa. She returned to Pearl Harbor on 20 August to begin occupation transport duty, which found her calling at Eniwetok and Yokosuka before her return to Portland, Oregon, on 15 November.
Between 13 December and 16 February 1946, she again voyaged to the Far East, carrying occupation troops to Korea, and returning to Long Beach, California, with servicemen eligible for discharge. At Long Beach she loaded German prisoners of war, with whom she sailed for Liverpool, England, on 26 February. Landing the homeward-bound Germans in England for further transfer, Florence Nightingale embarked troops at Le Havre for transportation to New York City, where she docked on 8 April 1946. The transport was decommissioned on 1 May 1946 and transferred to the War Shipping Administration the same day.
Florence Nightingale received four battle stars for World War II service.
- Huzel, Dieter K (1962). Peenemünde to Canaveral. Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice Hall. pp. 210.
- Ordway, Frederick I, III; Sharpe, Mitchell R (1979). The Rocket Team. Apogee Books Space Series 36. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell. pp. 358.
- Photo gallery of USS Florence Nightingale at NavSource Naval History