USS Crater (AK-70)

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Career (USA)
Name: USS Crater (AK-70)
Namesake: Crater
Ordered: As liberty ship SS John James Audubon
Builder: Permanente Metals Corporation
Laid down: 28 August 1942
Launched: 8 October 1942
Acquired: 22 October 1942
Commissioned: 31 October 1942
Decommissioned: 25 June 1946
Fate: Maritime Commission
General characteristics
Class & type: Crater-class cargo ship
Displacement: 4,023 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 knots
Complement: 198
Armament: 1 x 5", 1 x 3"

The USS Crater (AK-70) was the lead ship of the Crater-class of converted liberty ship cargo ships in the service of the United States Navy in World War II. Named after the constellation Crater, it was the only ship of the Navy to bear this name.

Crater was laid down 28 August 1942 as liberty ship SS John James Audubon (MCE hull 420) by Permanente Metals Corporation, Yard No. 2, Richmond, California, under a Maritime Commission contract. She was launched 8 October 1942, sponsored by Mrs. Mary Elisabeth Cornelison Wetsel and transferred to the Navy 22 October 1942. Crater was commissioned 31 October 1942, with Lieutenant Commander R. Dodd, USNR, in command.

Clearing San Francisco 10 November 1942, Crater delivered cargo to Efate and Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, and Nouméa, New Caledonia before arriving at Wellington, New Zealand, 28 June 1943 to repair and reload.

Crater continued to carry cargo from New Zealand and other supply bases to Guadalcanal and throughout the Solomons until 21 June 1944, when she sailed to operate in the Marshalls and Marianas through the summer. She returned to Guadalcanal, resuming operations in the southwest Pacific until 1 March 1945, when she cleared for overhaul at San Francisco.

She delivered cargo from the west coast at Samar, Philippines, and departed 26 July for Auckland. Crater carried cargo from Auckland and Brisbane, Australia, to Saipan, the Philippines, Manus, Nouméa, and Eniwetok until 5 February 1946, when she sailed for Pearl Harbor, arriving 24 February.

After a voyage to San Pedro, California, Crater was decommissioned at Pearl Harbor 25 June 1946, and was transferred to the Maritime Commission the next day.

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