USS Sussex (AK-213)

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Career (USA) Union Navy Jack 100x35px
Name: Sussex
Namesake: Counties in Delaware, New Jersey, and Virginia
Ordered: as type (C1-M-AV1) hull, MC hull 2167
Builder: Leatham D. Smith Shipbuilding Co., Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Laid down: 3 October 1944
Launched: 3 February 1945
Sponsored by: Mrs. Carl O. Rydhelm
Acquired: by the U.S. Navy, July 1945 and on 27 February 1947
Commissioned: circa July 1945 as USS Sussex (AK-213), U.S. Coast Guard-operated
Decommissioned: spring 1946
In service: 27 May 1947 as USS Sussex (AK-213), U.S. Navy-operated
Out of service: 5 December 1959, at Yokosuka, Japan
Struck: 1 January 1960
Honors and
three battle stars during the Korean War
Fate: scrapped, 27 July 1960
General characteristics
Type: Alamosa-class cargo ship
Tonnage: 2,382 tons
Tons burthen: 7,435 tons
Length: 388' 8"
Beam: 50'
Draft: 21' 1"
Propulsion: Diesel, single screw, 1,700shp
Speed: 11.5 knots
Complement: 85 officers and enlisted
Armament: one 3"/50 dual purpose gun mount; six 20mm guns

USS Sussex (AK-213) was an Alamosa-class cargo ship that was constructed for the U.S. Navy during the closing period of World War II. She was retained by the Navy for post-war service, including that in the Korean War theatre where she earned three battle stars and then returned home for deactivation.

Built in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

The second ship to be so named by the Navy, Sussex (AK-213) was laid down under U.S. Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 2167) on 3 October 1944 by the Leathern D. Smith Shipbuilding Co., Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin; launched on 3 February 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Carl O. Rydhelm; and acquired by the Navy in July 1945.

Operation by the Coast Guard

She was operated by the United States Coast Guard until the spring of 1946 and, on 23 May 1946, was placed in the reserve fleet. She was reacquired by the Navy on 27 February 1947; and commissioned on 27 May 1947, Lt. Comdr. John L. Hunter in command.

Post-World War II service

Assigned to the Alaskan Sea Frontier, Sussex sailed to Seattle, Washington, in late June, loaded cargo, and made her maiden voyage to Alaskan ports for the United States Navy. After making calls at Adak and Kodiak, she returned to Seattle on 25 August 1947. From that date until December 1950, the ship made 16 voyages from Seattle to various Alaskan ports carrying supplies to bases and installations there.

Korean War era operations

From January to July 1951, Sussex provided logistic support for the mid-Pacific Trust Territories. From August 1951 to January 1952, she operated in the Korean war zone, moving supplies and munitions to United Nations ships and bases. The ship was busy transporting cargo from Japanese ports to such places as Pusan, Suyong, and Inchon.

On 5 February 1952, Sussex stood out of Yokosuka en route to Bremerton, Washington, for a general overhaul. She departed Bremerton on 12 May 1952 and proceeded via Pearl Harbor and Midway Island to Japan. The cargo ship arrived at Sasebo, Japan, on 30 June and resumed her runs to Korea; but this time, she also included Okinawa, Taiwan, and the Pescadores Islands among her supply points.

Sussex returned to Pearl Harbor on 15 December 1952 and, until March 1954, supplied bases at Midway Island, Kwajalein, Saipan, and Guam. She arrived at Yokosuka on 14 March and operated from that port until 19 October 1954 when she returned to Pearl Harbor to resume supplying mid-Pacific Ocean bases. She continued this duty, operating from Pearl Harbor, until 7 May 1958 when she moved her base of operations to Iwakuni, Japan.

Post-war inactivation

Sussex steamed into Yokosuka on 21 November 1959 and was decommissioned on 5 December 1959. She was struck from the Navy list on 1 January 1960 and sold to the Hugo Neu Steel Products Corp., New York, New York, on 27 July 1960 for scrap.

Awards and honors

Sussex received three battle stars for service during the Korean War:

  • UN Summer-Fall Offensive
  • Second Korean Winter
  • Korean Defense Summer-Fall 1952

Qualified Sussex personnel were eligible for the following: