USS Lyra (AK-101)

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Name: USS Lyra
Namesake: Lyra
Builder: Permanente Metals Corporation
Laid down: 25 April 1943
Launched: 28 May 1943
Acquired: 10 June 1943
Commissioned: 22 July 1943
Decommissioned: 3 May 1946
Fate: Sold
General characteristics
Class and type: Crater-class cargo ship
Displacement: 4,356 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: 12.5 kn (23.2 km/h)
Complement: 255
Armament: 1 x 5", 1 x 3", 8 x 20mm

The USS Lyra (AK-101) was a Crater-class cargo ship in the service of the United States Navy in World War II. It was the only ship of the Navy to have borne this name. It is named after the constellation Lyra.

Lyra was laid down 25 April 1943 as liberty ship SS Cyrus Hamlin (MCE hull 1555) by Permanente Metals Corporation, Richmond, California, under a Maritime Commission contract; renamed Lyra 27 May 1943; launched 28 May 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Harry N. Nelson; acquired by the Navy 10 June 1943; converted by General Engineering & Drydock Co., San Francisco, California, completed 22 July 1943; and commissioned 22 July 1943, Lt. Comdr. J. H. Henderson in command.

Lyra departed San Francisco 28 August 1943 with 8,000 tons of lend-lease cargo for New Zealand. En route she towed one unit of a sectional dock to Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, and arrived Wellington, New Zealand, 19 October. The cargo ship returned to San Francisco 24 November. On 17 December she began a 3-day experimental run to help perfect towing techniques.

Two days after Christmas, she again departed for Espiritu Santo towing Auxiliary Repair Dry Dock ARD-12. The ship then proceeded to Tulagi and Munda, Solomon Islands, embarking 200 troops from the latter for transport to Guadalcanal, which she reached 29 February 1944. Lyra returned to Tulagi and Guadalcanal, and was back in San Francisco 2 April after steaming 13,567 miles. From 29 April to 30 June, she made two short voyages between the west coast and Pearl Harbor.

The cargo ship’s next assignment was a towing operation to Manus, Admiralty Islands, between 21 August and 15 January 1945. On 26 February she voyaged to Samar, Philippine Islands, and returned to home port 1 June. Her seventh voyage, 17 June to 24 August, took her to Honolulu and Saipan. She sailed from San Francisco 26 September to Samar for her last assignment before decommissioning in Norfolk 3 May 1946. Lyra was redelivered to WSA 5 days later. She was sold in 1947 to A. G. Pappadakis and operated out of Piraeus, Greece, as Virginia.


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