USS Naos (AK-105)

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Career
Name: USS Naos
Builder: California Shipbuilding Corp., Wilmington, California
Laid down: 8 June 1943
Launched: 30 June 1943
Commissioned: 17 August 1943
Decommissioned: 6 December 1945
Struck: 3 January 1946
Fate: Returned to name William R. Nelson until sold for scrap in 1962
General characteristics
Class & type: Crater-class cargo ship
Displacement: 4,023 long tons (4,088 t)
Length: 441 ft 6 in (134.57 m)
Beam: 56 ft 11 in (17.35 m)
Draft: 24 ft 6 in (7.47 m)
Speed: 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Complement: 167 officers and enlisted
Armament: • 1 × single 5"/38 caliber gun
• 1 × single 3"/50 caliber guns
• 8 × 20 mm guns

USS Naos (AK-105) was laid down as SS William R. Nelson under Maritime Commission contract by California Shipbuilding Corp., Los Angeles, California, 8 June 1943, named after Naos, the star in constellation Puppis. Naos was launched 30 June 1943 and sponsored by Miss Barbara Quarg. The ship was delivered to the Navy under bareboat charter 15 July 1943, converted for Navy use by Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Drydock Corp., San Pedro, California, and commissioned at San Pedro 17 August 1943, Lieutenant Commander N. E. Wilcox in command.

Service history[edit]

1943–1944[edit]

Departing San Pedro on 25 August, Naos loaded cargo at San Francisco and made a round trip run to Pearl Harbor and back between 28 August and 25 October. During the next month she was converted for use as a combination troop transport and cargo ship by General Engineering and Drydock Co., San Francisco. She cleared the Golden Gate 10 December, embarked 1,080 troops at Port Hueneme, and sailed for the South Pacific in convoy the 12th.

Naos reached Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, 3 January 1944 and discharged her troops and supplies. A week later she sailed for Fiji and thus began shuttle duty throughout much of the South Pacific. Troop and cargo runs during the next eight months sent her to numerous American bases scattered from Samoa and the Ellice Islands to New Caledonia and the Solomons. While carrying more than 1,000 troops from Tulagi to New Zealand in mid-March, she was pounded by a severe tropical storm which left her relatively undamaged but damaged her escort, PC–588. Naos provided emergency aid before sending the battered escort to New Caledonia.

Maintaining her busy pace of operations, Naos departed Guadalcanal for the Admiralties. She operated out of Manus between 30 September and 25 October, thence sailed the next day to carry troop reinforcements and supplies to the Palaus. She reached Kossol Passage 31 October, and for more than a month she operated in coastal waters off the northern Palaus. During yet another tropical storm 8 November, Naos sent a volunteer crew to rescue 26 men from SC–633 which was thrown upon a reef by heavy seas. Early in December she embarked 1,114 troops and loaded Army tanks at Anguar and Peleliu before departing in convoy 8 December. Steaming via the Russell Islands, she returned to Noumea 22 December. Four days later she resumed shuttle runs which continued throughout the South Pacific for the next five months.

1945–1946[edit]

After embarking Seabee units at Nouméa, Naos sailed for Okinawa 15 May 1945. She touched at bases in the Solomons, the Marshalls, and the Western Carolines and finally arrived off Hagushi Beach, Okinawa, 11 July. She completed discharge and reload operations later that month, and on the 29th she joined a 65-ship convoy bound for the Marianas. Sailing via Saipan, she reached Pearl Harbor 22 August.

Following the Japanese surrender, Naos returned to the western Pacific carrying repatriated prisoners-of-war and military cargo. She arrived Okinawa 2 October; and, after steaming to avoid Typhoon Louise a week later, she embarked 1,040 troops for return to the United States. She sailed 14 October and arrived San Francisco 5 November. Naos decommissioned there 6 December 1945 and was returned to WSA the same day. Her name was struck from the Navy List 3 January 1946. She remained in custody of the Maritime Administration under the name William R. Nelson until sold for scrap in 1962.

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