USS President Monroe (AP-104)

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USS President Monroe AP-104.jpg
USS President Monroe (AP-104) circa late 1945 (Official U.S. Navy Photo No NH 78583)
Career (USA)
Name: USS President Monroe (AP-104)
Namesake: US President James Monroe
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding
Laid down: 13 November 1939
Launched: 7 August 1940
Sponsored by: Mrs Thomas C. Corcoran.
Acquired: 19 December 1940; by the Navy, 18 July 1943
Commissioned: 20 August 1943
Decommissioned: 12 January 1946
Struck: 12 March 1946
Identification: MCV Hull Type C3-P&C, MCV Hull No. 54
Honours and
awards:
Five battle stars for World War II service
Fate: Scrapped
General characteristics
Class & type: President Jackson-class attack transport
Displacement: 10,210 long tons (10,370 t)
Length: 491 feet 9 inches (149.89 m)
Beam: 64 feet 6 inches (19.66 m)
Draft: 26 feet 6 inches (8.08 m)
Propulsion: 1 x geared drive turbine, 2 x Babcock & Wilcox header-type boilers, 1 x propeller, designed shaft horsepower 8,500
Speed: 18.4 knots (21.2 mph; 34.1 km/h)
Capacity: Unknown
Complement: 512
Armament: 1 x 5"/38 caliber gun, 4 x 3"/50 caliber dual-purpose gun mounts, 4 x Bofors 40mm gun mounts

USS President Monroe (AP-104) was a President Jackson-class attack transport[Note 1] that served with the US Navy during World War II.

President Monroe was the sixth of seven C3-P&C type vessels built for American President Lines around-the-world service just prior to the outbreak of World War II. She was laid down 13 November 1939 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company of Newport News, Virginia and launched 7 August 1940.

World War II[edit]

The new SS President Monroe was just clearing San Francisco Bay on her maiden voyage around the world when word was flashed to her Master to return, as Japan had just attacked Pearl Harbor. She and her six sisterships were immediately acquired by War Shipping Administration on bareboat charter for outfitting for war service.

SS President Monroe departed San Francisco 12 January 1942 destined for Suva in the Australian — Suva convoy with two other troopships, the SS President Coolidge and the SS Mariposa, which were destined for Australia, accompanied by two destroyers and the light cruiser USS Phoenix.[1] This was the first large convoy to Australia and the south Pacific after Pearl Harbor with Mariposa and Coolidge transporting Army personnel ammunition and fifty P-40 fighters intended for the Philippines and Java.[2][3] Monroe landed 660 troops, an air warning company and a pursuit squadron at Suva on 29 January 1942.[1]

On 17 July 1942 the ship that was only partially converted for troop transport departed San Francisco, escorted most of the first day by a blimp and destroyer escort, transporting the 7th Naval Construction Battalion to Pago Pago arriving around noon on 28 July and spending the next few days unloading.[4]

Transferred to the Navy 18 July 1943, President Monroe shifted to Pool, McGonigle & Jennings Company yard of Portland, Oregon for alterations. Commissioned 20 August as the USS President Monroe (AP-194), Capt. G. C. Morrison in command, she departed Portland 24 August for the Bremerton Navy Yard for conversion and outfitting.

After brief shakedown, she commenced her first "pay" run 9 September on the Aleutian Service. Carrying replacement troops and cargo, she steamed for Kodiak, Dutch Harbor, and Adak, Alaska. She also embarked assault troops at Kiska and transported them to Pearl Harbor, and then returned to San Francisco to be outfitted with landing craft.

Gilbert Islands invasion[edit]

Departing the west coast 3 November, President Monroe joined forces that were marshaling at Pearl Harbor for the first move of the Central Pacific Drive—the Gilbert Islands invasion. She arrived Abemama Atoll on the morning of the 27th bringing the atoll's garrison group cargo and personnel. She touched at Tarawa before sailing for Pearl Harbor with battleship USS Tennessee (BB-43) and transport USS President Polk (AP-103).

Marshall Islands operations[edit]

She remained at Pearl Harbor until 23 January 1944, when she embarked a contingent of marines and steamed for Kwajalein Atoll. She next transported assault troops to Eniwetok, participating through 25 February in the successful landings on Engebi, Eniwetok, and Parry. Departing Roi-Namur, Kwajalein Atoll 29 February, she called at Funafuti, Ellice Islands, and then was routed to Guadalcanal.

Invasion of Guam[edit]

Following a cruise to Milne Bay, Manus Island and New Caledonia, the transport engaged in logistics and practice landings for the assault on Guam. On 4 Apr 1944 she departed Espiritu Santo with the main body, 27 officers and 943 enlisted men, of the 44th Naval Construction Battalion to join advance groups at Manus on 17 April.[5]

Between 21 and 26 July, she discharged troops and cargo off Guam, then steamed for Eniwetok to embark wounded before proceeding to San Pedro, California, arriving 22 August 1944. By 4 November, she once again stood out from San Diego and ended the year operating between Guadalcanal, New Caledonia, and Port Purvis.

She joined the well-screened Task Group 77.9 en route Lingayen Gulf 2 January 1945, and unloaded troops and cargo in the San Fabian area between 11 and 13 January. Propulsion problems necessitated repairs at Leyte, after which she steamed in convoy for Humboldt Bay, New Guinea, thence to Ulithi. There she was designated flagship for Transport Division "D" of Task Unit 12.6.1 and steamed for Iwo Jima, arriving 18 March. Embarking troops there, she steamed for Hawaii, en route to San Francisco.

After hostilities[edit]

Through the end of 1945 she made several runs to Pacific Island bases. With the end of hostilities, she extended her cruises to Japan and participated in Operation Magic Carpet, the giant sealift organized to bring demobilizing servicemen home.

Awards[edit]

President Monroe received five battle stars for World War II service.

Famous passengers[edit]

Lieutenant Junior Grade Richard Nixon shipped out from San Francisco to the South Pacific aboard the President Monroe in 1943.[6]

Decommission[edit]

President Monroe entered Hunters Point Naval Drydock 12 January 1946, decommissioned, and was delivered to WSA 30 January, returned to American President Lines 21 February, and stricken from the Navy List 12 March.

Commercial service[edit]

Following decommission, President Monroe was returned to American President Lines for commercial service on 21 February 1947. She was sold in 1965 to the Greek Shipping Company, reflagged, and renamed SS Marianna V. She was scrapped in 1973.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ There is some doubt as to whether this vessel was ever formally designated President Jackson class. The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships does not record her class, although some other sources (such as Navsource) do. Unlike the majority of ships of the class she was never formally reclassified an attack transport (APA); however, she was originally a sister ship of the other ships in the class and like them she appears to have served in the attack transport role during the war.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Nimitz (1942). ‘Gray Book’ — War Plans and Files of the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet. 1: 7 December 1941–1 September 1942. Operational Archives, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington Navy Yard, Washington D.C. pp. Entries 12 & 26 January 1942. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  2. ^ Mayo, Lida (1991). The Ordnance Department: On Beachhead And Battlefront. United States Army In World War II — The Technical Services. Washington, DC: Center Of Military History, United States Army. p. 40. LCCN 67-60000 Check |lccn= value (help). 
  3. ^ Matloif, Maurice; Snell, Edwin M. (1991). Strategic Planning For Coalition Warfare 1941-1942. United States Army In World War II — The War Department. Washington, DC: Center Of Military History, United States Army. p. 132. LCCN 53-61477 Check |lccn= value (help). 
  4. ^ 7th Naval Construction Battalion, 7th Naval Construction Battalion—Historical Information, Washington, D.C.: Naval History And Heritage Command 
  5. ^ 44th Naval Construction Battalion, 44th Naval Construction Battalion—Historical Information, Washington, D.C.: Naval History And Heritage Command 
  6. ^ Swift, Will. "Richard Nixon, Hopeless Romantic". Politico. Retrieved 14 February 2014.