USS Melucta (AK-131)
|Ordered:||as SS Thomas A. McGinley
|Laid down:||21 January 1944|
|Launched:||20 March 1944|
|Acquired:||31 March 1944|
|Commissioned:||22 July 1944|
|Decommissioned:||13 December 1945|
|Fate:||scrapped in 1970|
|Displacement:||4,023 t.(lt) 11,565 t.(fl)|
|Length:||441 ft 6 in (134.57 m)|
|Beam:||56 ft 11 in (17.35 m)|
|Draught:||28 ft 4 in (8.64 m)|
|Propulsion:||reciprocating steam engine, single shaft, 1,950shp|
|Armament:||one 5"/38 dual purpose gun mount; two dual 40mm AA gun mounts; eight single 20mm AA gun mounts|
USS Melucta (AK-131) was an Crater-class cargo ship commissioned by the U.S. Navy for service in World War II, named after Melucta, the star in constellation Gemini. She was responsible for delivering troops, goods and equipment to locations in the war zone.
Melucta (AK-131) was laid down as SS Thomas A. McGinley under Maritime Commission contract by St. Johns River Shipbuilding Corp., Jacksonville, Florida, 21 January 1944; launched 20 March 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Thomas A. McGinley; acquired as Melucta by the Navy from WSA under bareboat charter 31 March 1944; converted from a freighter by Gibbs Gas Engine Co., Jacksonville, Florida; and commissioned 22 July 1944.
World War II Pacific Theatre operations
Following shakedown off Norfolk, Virginia, Melucta, was assigned to Naval Transportation Service 17 August for cargo carrying duties along the U.S. East Coast into the fall. By 10 November she was en route to the Marshalls, towing USS Cinnabar (IX-163) to Pearl Harbor before continuing on to Ebon Atoll.
The cargo ship operated in the South Pacific Ocean for the next year. Melucta steamed to San Francisco, California, in May 1945 for repairs and reloading, departing the first week of June. In mid October she got underway for the U.S. East Coast via the Panama Canal Zone, arriving Norfolk, Virginia, 28 November.
Melucta decommissioned there 13 December and was delivered to War Shipping Administration 5 days later. Renamed SS Thomas A. McGinley, she entered the National Defense Reserve Fleet in James River, Virginia, where she remained until she was scrapped in 1970.
Military awards and honors
No battle stars are indicated for Melucta in current Navy accounts. However, her crew was eligible for the following medals:
- American Campaign Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
- World War II Victory Medal
- Photo gallery of Melucta at NavSource Naval History