USS Allioth (AK-109)

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Career (US)
Ordered: as SS James Rowan
EC2-S-C1 hull, MCE hull 1730
Laid down: 30 July 1943
Launched: 20 August 1943
Acquired: 3 October 1943
Commissioned: 25 October 1943
Decommissioned: 18 May 1946
Struck: 22 May 1947
Fate: scrapped in 1965
General characteristics
Displacement: 4,023 t.(lt) 14,250 t.(fl)
Length: 441 ft 6 in (134.57 m)
Beam: 56 ft 11 in (17.35 m)
Draught: 27 ft 7 in (8.41 m)
Propulsion: Joshua Hendy reciprocating steam engine, single shaft, 1,950shp
Speed: 13 kts.
Complement: 206
Armament: one 5"/38 dual purpose gun mount; one 3"/50 dual purpose gun mount; eight 20mm AA gun mounts

USS Allioth (AK-109) was a Crater-class cargo ship commissioned by the U.S. Navy for service in World War II, named after Alioth, the star in constellation Ursa Major. She was responsible for delivering troops, goods and equipment to locations in the war zone.

SS James Rowan was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract (MCE hull 1730) on 30 July 1943 by the Permanente Metals Corp., Richmond, California; launched on 20 August 1943; sponsored by Miss Cora Clonts; acquired by the Navy on 3 October 1943; renamed Allioth and designated AK-109 on 6 October 1943; and commissioned at Portland, Oregon, on 25 October 1943, Comdr. George F. Prestwich in command.

World War II Pacific Theatre operations[edit]

Upon her arrival at Pearl Harbor on 5 December 1943, the cargo ship was assigned to Service Squadron 8. During the next 11 months, she operated as a mobile supply source for the U.S. Army. Her duties consisted of loading cargo and dispensing it to troops as needed. Among the ports from which she operated were Funafuti, Ellice Islands; Makin and Tarawa, Gilbert Islands; Kwajalein and Eniwetok, Marshall Islands; and Peleliu and Angaur, Palau Islands.

Under attack by Japanese aircraft[edit]

Allioth sailed from Peleliu on 14 November 1944, bound for Pearl Harbor. On the afternoon of the 20th, two Japanese airplanes attacked her, dropping several bombs but scoring no hits.

Later that evening, one aircraft returned and dropped a bomb which exploded near the ship. Ten crewmen were slightly wounded, and the ship suffered minor structural damage from shrapnel. She continued her journey and arrived safely in Hawaiian waters on 11 December 1944.

Conversion to aviation supply issue ship[edit]

Two days later, the ship resumed her voyage toward the U.S. West Coast of the United States, and she entered a shipyard at Alameda, California, on the 24th for overhaul and conversion to an aviation supply issue ship. The alterations were completed in early March 1945, and Allioth received the new designation IX-204.

Servicing aircraft at Ulithi[edit]

On 10 March, the vessel got underway for Pearl Harbor. After taking on more cargo there, she resumed her westward voyage, dropped anchor at Ulithi on 8 April, and began supplying various units with airplane parts. On 3 May, her designation was changed to AVS-4.

Supporting aircraft in the Philippines[edit]

When the fleet moved from Ulithi, Allioth headed for the Philippine Islands, arriving at Leyte Gulf on 27 May. In early June, the ship sailed to Seeadler Harbor, Manus Island, to load more spare parts. She returned to Leyte on 29 June and resumed her supply duties.

Supporting aircraft in the Ryukyu Islands[edit]

Allioth moved to Okinawa in mid-September 1945 and remained there into the next year, supporting various airplane squadrons operating in the Ryukyu Islands. On 18 January 1946, the ship got underway to return to the United States. Allioth arrived back at Alameda, California, on 16 February and began discharging cargo. Her crew also began stripping the ship of excess equipment in preparation for her deactivation.

Post-war decommissioning[edit]

Allioth returned to Pearl Harbor on 15 April and was placed out of commission there on 18 May 1946. She was transferred to the Maritime Commission on 13 May 1947, and her name was struck from the Navy List on 22 May 1947. Under the Maritime Commission, the ship resumed her first name, SS James Rowan, and carried it until she disappeared from merchant ship registers in 1956. Final Disposition: she was scrapped in 1965.

Military awards and honors[edit]

Allioth's crew was eligible for the following medals:

References[edit]

External links[edit]