USS Kopara (AK-62)

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SS Kopara (New Zealand Cargo Ship, 1938).jpg
Career (US)
Laid down: date unknown
Launched: in 1938 as SS Kopara
Acquired: 21 September 1942
Commissioned: 23 September 1942
Decommissioned: 12 January 1945
Struck: date unknown
Fate: broken up in 1987
General characteristics
Displacement: 679 tons
Length: 193 ft (59 m)
Beam: 35 ft 8 in (10.87 m)
Draught: 18 ft 8 in (5.69 m)
Propulsion: two sets of four-cylinder diesel engines, twin screws
Speed: 12 knots
Armament: four 40mm guns

USS Kopara (AK-62/AG-50) was a cargo ship purchased by the U.S. Navy during World War II. She was responsible for delivering goods and equipment to locations in the war zone.

Service career[edit]

Kopara (AK-62) was built in 1938 by Henry Robb Limited of Leith, Scotland. She was purchased in early August 1942 from her owner, Richardson & Co., Napier, New Zealand, through the New Zealand Government; and commissioned 21 September 1942 at Auckland, Lt. (j.g.) H. R. Greeley in command.

Reclassified as AG-50 on 23 September, Kopara departed Auckland 5 October for supply runs from Noumea, New Caledonia, and Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, to Guadalcanal and Tulagi, Solomons. Arriving Noumea 9 October, she steamed on the 14th for Espiritu Santo to take on board supplies for the embattled American force on Guadalcanal. Loaded with torpedoes and general cargo and escorted by Nicholas (DD-449), she departed 19 October. Kopara arrived Lunga Roads during midwatch 22 October and began unloading operations which were completed that evening despite harassing gunfire from enemy shore batteries and a noon attack by Japanese dive bombers. Protected by Nicholas, Kopara departed Guadalcanal undamaged and returned to Noumea 27 October.

During the next few months, Kopara continued supply runs to the Solomons; and, while she unloaded at Guadalcanal and Tulagi 13 through 15 November, American battleships, cruisers, and destroyers fought the enemy in two fierce night naval battles off Savo Island. From 20 February to 26 June 1943, she carried cargo along the sea lanes between Auckland, Noumea, Efate, and Espiritu Santo. And from 11 July to 17 September she shuttled supplies between New Zealand and Norfolk Island.

After a voyage to the New Hebrides, Kopara departed Noumea 10 November to resume supply duty in the Solomons. She reached New Georgia 16 November; and, for almost 8 months, ranged the waters of Melanesia from Bougainville to New Caledonia bringing supplies to forces which loosened the enemy's hold on the Bismarck Archipelago and New Guinea. Returning to New Caledonia 7 August 1944, she began supply runs eastward out of Noumea. Between 10 August and 21 December she made four voyages to Fiji, American Samoa, and the Ellice Islands. She departed Noumea 24 December and steamed via Norfolk Island to Auckland 3 January 1945.

Kopara decommissioned 12 January and was turned over to the New Zealand Joint Purchasing Board for return to her previous owner, Richardson & Company, Napier. Kopara operated under several names after World War II including SS Sarang in 1966, SS Cherry Chepat in 1970, and SS See Hai Hong in January 1987. Final Disposition: broken up in 1987.

Military awards and honors[edit]

Kopara received one battle star for World War II service. Her crew was eligible for the following medals:

  • American Campaign Medal
  • Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (1 star)
  • World War II Victory Medal

See also[edit]

References[edit]

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

External links[edit]