USS Polaris (AF-11)
USS Polaris operating off Korea, 1953
|Name:||SS Donald McKay|
|Laid down:||23 July 1938|
|Acquired:||WWII: 27 January 1941
Korea: 6 October 1948
|Commissioned:||WWII:4 April 1941|
|Recommissioned:||Korea: 1 July 1949|
|Decommissioned:||WWII: 18 January 1946
Korea: 12 January 1957
|In service:||1 July 1948[clarification needed]|
|Out of service:||12 January 1957|
|Struck:||WWII: 7 February 1946
Korea: 10 October 1957
|Reinstated:||1 July 1949|
WWII: one battle star
|Class and type:||Aldebaran class|
|Type:||Type C2 ship (MARCOM)|
|Length:||459 ft 3 in (139.98 m)|
|Beam:||63 ft 0 in (19.20 m)|
|Draft:||25 ft 10 in (7.87 m) (limiting)|
|Propulsion:||single propeller 6,000shp (one 2-stroke, 4-cylinder single-acting Doxford Diesel)|
|Armament:||one single 5"/38 dual purpose gun mount; four single 3"/50 dual purpose gun mounts; ten single 20 mm AA gun mounts|
USS Polaris (AF-11) was a Type C2 "Liberty fleet" standard freighter and an Aldebaran-class stores ship acquired from the United States Maritime Commission by the US Navy for World War II and the Korean War.
|Photo #NH 85494|
World War II North Atlantic operations
Polaris made five round trips from the U.S. East Coast to Reykjavík, Iceland from June 1942 to February 1943. She then made five voyages from the U.S. East Coast to Port of Spain, Trinidad, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, March to July 1943. From October 1943 to February 1944 she made four more voyages to the Caribbean, touching at Port of Spain, Trinidad; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Hamilton, Bermuda; the Virgin Islands; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
From March through September 1944 Polaris made three round-trip voyages in convoy from the east coast to Oran, Algeria, and other Mediterranean ports. In October she made another voyage to the Caribbean.
Pacific Ocean deployments
On 10 November 1944 she departed New York for the Panama Canal Zone escorted by the USS Leland E. Thomas (DE-420) and arrived at Cristóbal, Colón 16 November 1944. Polaris then sailed to Enewetak, Saipan, Tinian, and Apra before returning to Seattle, Washington, 9 January 1945.
She was underway 16 January to Pearl Harbor, Eniwetok, and Ulithi. She returned to Los Angeles, California, 31 March and was underway again 13 April on a replenishment cruise to the Carolines and the Ryukyus, firing on Tokashiki Island in the Ryukyus 9 July, and returning to San Francisco 30 August.
After serving in Japanese waters and on the China coast, Polaris decommissioned 18 January 1946. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register 7 February 1946 and transferred to the Maritime Commission 30 June 1946.
Reactivated for the Korean War
Polaris served in the Korean War with Service Squadron 1 and made six cruises[clarification needed] to Korean waters between 29 January 1951 and 23 July 1954. Aldebaran-class provisions store ship set a record for her class in number of tons of provisions transferred per hour while on underway replenishment, delivering 116.10 tons per hour to Midway Island 29 April 1955.
She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register 10 October 1957, and transferred to the Maritime Administration. Into 1970 she was in the National Defense Reserve Fleet berthed in Suisun Bay, California.
References and notes