USS General M. L. Hersey (AP-148)

From SpottingWorld, the Hub for the SpottingWorld network...
Career (U.S.) 100x35px
Namesake: Mark Leslie Hersey
Builder: Kaiser Co., Inc.
Richmond, California
Laid down: date unknown
Launched: 1 April 1944
Acquired: 31 May 1944
Commissioned: 29 July 1944 (U.S. Navy)
Decommissioned: 1 June 1946 (U.S. Navy)
In service: 1 June 1946 (U.S. Army)
Out of service: 1 March 1950 (U.S. Army)
In service: 1 March 1950 (MSTS)
Out of service: 3 September 1959 (MSTS)
Renamed: SS Pittsburgh, 16 August 1968[1]
SS St. Louis, September 1969[1]
Reclassified: T-AP-148, 1 March 1950
Identification: Code letters NJIA
File:ICS November.svg File:ICS Juliet.svg File:ICS India.svg File:ICS Alpha.svg
Fate: Possibly sank in 1971;[2]
Possibly scrapped in 1988[1]
General characteristics
Class and type: General G. O. Squier-class transport ship
Displacement: 9,950 tons (light), 17,250 tons (full)
Length: 522 ft 10 in (159.36 m)
Beam: 71 ft 6 in (21.79 m)
Draft: Template:General G. O. Squier class draft I
Propulsion: single-screw steam turbine with 9,900 shp (7,400 kW)
Speed: 17 knots (31.5 km/h)
Capacity: 3,823 troops
Complement: 356 (officers and enlisted)
Armament: Template:General G. O. Squier class armament I

USS General M. L. Hersey (AP-148) was a General G. O. Squier-class transport ship for the U.S. Navy in World War II. She was named in honor of U.S. Army general Mark Leslie Hersey. She was transferred to the U.S. Army as USAT General M. L. Hersey in 1946. On 1 March 1950 she was transferred to the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) as USNS General M. L. Hersey (T-AP-148). She was later sold for commercial use, and operated under the names SS Pittsburgh and SS St. Louis.[1]

Operational history

General M. L. Hersey (AP-148) was launched under a Maritime Commission contract (MC #665) 1 April 1944 by Kaiser Co., Inc., Yard 3, Richmond, California; sponsored by Mrs. Alice Hersey Wick, General Hersey's daughter; acquired by the Navy 31 May 1944; and commissioned 29 July 1944; Captain James W. Smith in command.

After shakedown off San Pedro, General M. L. Hersey sailed from San Francisco 5 September 1944 with troops and cargo for garrisons in the Southwest Pacific. She reached Milne Bay, New Guinea, 21 September and subsequently carried troops and supplies to the Admiralty Islands, the Russell Islands, and the Solomon Islands, before departing Guadalcanal for the United States 6 October. Arriving San Francisco 19 October, she brought home more than 3,000 veterans of the bitter Pacific fighting. Between 7 November 1944 and 14 August 1945 the transport made four round-trip voyages from San Francisco and, Seattle to the Western Pacific, carrying troops to New Guinea, the Philippines, the Palaus, and the Marianas during the final amphibious offensive against Japan, At Leyte in November General M. L. Hersey endured frequent air attacks.

Following the surrender, the veteran ship departed Seattle 31 August; and, steaming via the Philippines, she arrived Yokohama 24 September with occupation troops. There she embarked 3,052 troops and departed 5 days later as a unit of Operation "Magic-Carpet", a giant sea-lift designed to return hundreds of thousands of American fighting men to the United States as quickly as possible. Between 3 December and 3 March 1946 she steamed twice to the Far East where she embarked returning veterans at Yokohama and Manila and transported them to San Pedro and San Francisco. Departing San Francisco 23 March, she then steamed via Manila and Singapore to Calcutta, India, and Colombo, Ceylon, where she embarked "Magic-Carpet" troops. She departed Colombo 28 April, sailed via the Suez Canal, and arrived New York 21 May. She decommissioned at New York 1 June and was turned over to WSA 6 June for eventual use as a transport by the Army Transportation Service.

Rebuilt by the Army to 12,545 tons, she was on duty for the International Refugee Organization (IRO) and initially based out of New Orleans (but later based out of New York).[3]

On 14 January 1947, during a return voyage from Bremerhaven, USAT General M. L. Hersey responded to distress calls issued by SS Tecumseh Park which was thought to be in danger of foundering 840 miles (1,352 km) off Halifax.[4] General M. L. Hersey had stood by for two days before Tecumseh Park got underway on her own.[5]

On 16 November 1949 USAT General M. L. Hersey left Naples with 1,283 displaced persons from Europe and arrived in Melbourne on 6 December 1949.[6] This voyage was one of almost 150 "Fifth Fleet" voyages by some 40 ships bringing refugees of World War II to Australia.[7] General M. L. Hersey made two more such trips herself, arriving in Melbourne, again, with 1,336 refugees on 27 April 1950, and in Fremantle with 1,370 passengers on 2 November 1950.[7]

In the midst of her “Fifth Fleet” voyages to Australia, the transport was reacquired by the Navy 1 March 1950. General M. L. Hersey was placed in service and assigned to MSTS under a civilian crew. Continuing to operate out of New York, she resumed carrying European refugees to the United States in support of the IRO.

On 07:32 on 4 November 1951, while ferrying elements of the 43rd Infantry Division to Bremerhaven, USNS General M. L. Hersey struck Argentine cruise ship MS Maipo amidships in thick fog over a calm North Sea. Maipo sank some three hours after the collision off Wangerooge. All 238 people aboard Maipo were able to be rescued, and no one aboard General M. L. Hersey was injured.[8]

During 1952 and 1953 she made four round-trips from San Francisco to the Far East in support of the Korean War. She was placed out of service 11 June 1954 and placed in the Pacific Reserve Fleet at San Diego. Later transferred to the Maritime Administration, on 3 September 1959 she entered the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, California.

The transport was sold to Sea-Land Service, Inc. on 16 August 1968 and renamed SS Pittsburgh. She was renamed SS St. Louis in September 1969, and converted to a container ship 10 January 1970. There is conflicting information about the fate of St. Louis. According to one source, she sank in 1971,[2] yet, another source reports she was scrapped in 1988.[1]

General M. L. Hersey received one battle star for World War II service and two battle stars for Korean War service.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Priolo, Gary P. (2007-08-10). "USS General M. L. Hersey (AP-148), USAT General M. L. Hersey, USNS General M. L. Hersey (T-AP-148)". NavSource Online. NavSource Naval History. Retrieved 2007-11-20. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Kaiser Company, Inc., Richmond No. 3 Yard, Richmond CA". Colton Company. Retrieved 2007-11-20. 
  3. "Shipping News and Notes; 5 Army Transportation Corps Ships to Be Shifted From New Orleans to New York" (fee). The New York Times: p. 127. 1949-09-20. Retrieved 2007-11-20. 
  4. "SHIP 'BREAKING UP' IN TERRIFIC STORM; Army Transport Standing By Stricken Canadian Craft 840 Miles Off Halifax" (fee). The New York Times: p. 10. 1947-01-15. Retrieved 2007-11-20. 
  5. "SHIP DECLINED OFFER OF TRANSPORT'S HELP" (fee). The New York Times: p. 47. 1947-01-22. Retrieved 2007-11-20. 
  6. "Immigrant Ships, Transcribers Guild, General Hersey". 2002-10-25. Retrieved 2007-11-20. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Tündern-Smith, Ann (2006-12-31). "Ships of the Fifth Fleet". Retrieved 2007-11-20. 
  8. Associated Press (1951-11-05). "U.S. Troopship in Collision; Liner Sinks, All Hands Safe; ALL SAFE IN SHIP CRASH" (fee). The New York Times: p. 1. Retrieved 2007-11-20. 

External links