USS Alcona (AK-157)

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A post-war image of USS Alcona (AK-157) underway, date and location unknown. Note her armament has been removed.US Navy photo
A post-war image of USS Alcona (AK-157) underway, date and location unknown. Note her armament has been removed
United States
Name: Alcona
Namesake: Alcona County, Michigan
Ordered: MC hull 2102
Builder: Kaiser Shipbuilding Co., Richmond, California
Laid down: 27 November 1943
Launched: 9 May 1944
Acquired: 15 September 1944
Commissioned: 15 September 1944
Decommissioned: 5 May 1955
Struck: 1 April 1960
Identification: Hull symbol:AK-157
Fate: sold for scrapping, 28 July 1960, (PD-X-583) to Hugo Neu Steel Products
Status: dismantling completed, 31 October 1961
General characteristics [1]
Class & type: Alamosa-class cargo ship
Type: C1-M-AV1
  • 2,382 long tons (2,420 t) (standard)
  • 7,450 long tons (7,570 t) (full load)
Length: 388 ft 8 in (118.47 m)
Beam: 50 ft (15 m)
Draft: 21 ft 1 in (6.43 m)
Installed power: 1,750 shp (1,300 kW)
Speed: 11.5 kn (13.2 mph; 21.3 km/h)
Capacity: 3,945 t (3,883 long tons) DWT
  • 15 Officers
  • 70 Enlisted

USS Alcona (AK-157) was an Alamosa-class cargo ship commissioned by the U.S. Navy for service in World War II. She was responsible for delivering troops, goods and equipment to locations in the war zone.

Alcona (AK-157) was laid down as the unnamed Maritime Commission contract hull (MC hull 2102) on 27 November 1943 at Richmond, California, by the Kaiser Shipbuilding Co.; named Alcona by the Navy and designated AK-157 on 25 February 1944; launched on 9 May 1944 and sponsored by Mrs. Morris Chamberlain of Oakland, California, transferred there by the Maritime Commission to the Navy on 15 September 1944, and commissioned the same day, Lt. Lester J. Lavine, USNR, in command. Alcona then shifted to the Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, California, to be fitted out.

World War II Pacific Theatre operations[edit]

Following shakedown training out of San Pedro, California, Alcona reported by dispatch, for duty with Service Squadron 7 on 22 October 1944 the same day that she sailed for San Francisco, California. Arriving there on the 23d, the cargo ship took on board cargo and got underway on the last day of October to commence operations supplying American advanced bases in New Guinea and later, in the Philippines which would keep her occupied for the rest of the war.

New Guinea operations[edit]

Pausing briefly at Pearl Harbor on 10 and 11 November, Alcona then continued, via Finschhafen, New Guinea, to Manus where she arrived on 29 November. After discharging her cargo, Alcona then proceeded via Hollandia, New Guinea, to Mios Woendi, in the Padaido Islands, where she spent Christmas before getting underway on 27 December for Australia.

From Australia to the Philippines[edit]

Alcona reached Brisbane, Australia, on 4 January 1945 and loaded cargo there until the 10th when she weighed anchor to head for the advanced base at Milne Bay, New Guinea. Upon emptying her hold there and at Finschhafen, the cargo ship then proceeded to Torokina, Bougainville, in the Solomons to pick up a mine unit for transportation to the Philippines. Arriving at Cape Torokina on 27 January, the ship got underway, via Hollandia, for Leyte the following morning and arrived at San Pedro Bay, Leyte, on 12 February.

Underway for Manus on the 24th Alcona arrived in the Admiralties on 3 March and loaded cargo there before getting underway for Brisbane on the 11th. Although a typhoon hindered the ship's passage, she reached her destination without mishap on the 18th. Subsequently, Alcona returned to the Philippines and entered Manila Bay on 24 April. En route back, she touched at Seeadler Harbor, Manus, and Humboldt Bay, New Guinea, before reaching Hollandia to reload. Upon arrival back in the Philippines, Alcona discharged her cargo into tank landing craft (LCT's) off the former American naval base at Cavite. After discharging more cargo at Subic Bay on 17 May, at Guiuan Samar, the same day, and at San Pedro Bay, Alcona visited Brisbane for the third time in mid-June.

End-of-war operations[edit]

Alcona had transported another consignment of cargo to the Philippines by mid-July and had completed her task at Subic Bay by 8 August, two days after the first atomic bomb had been dropped on the city of Hiroshima. Underway for Samar on the 12th, Alcona arrived three days later and was lying at anchor off Samar the day that Japan capitulated, 15 August 1945.

Post-war operations[edit]

Alcona conducted another voyage from Brisbane to the Philippines and then, after undergoing repairs in the advanced base sectional floating drydock ABSD-5, proceeded to Samar on 12 November. The cargo ship remained there until she sailed for Panama on 19 January 1946.

Transfer to the Atlantic[edit]

Reaching Balboa on 3 March, Alcona entered the Panama Canal that afternoon and reached Cristobal on the Atlantic side of the isthmus, at 2340. Underway for Norfolk, Virginia, on the morning of 7 March, Alcona proceeded toward her destination until rerouted to New York on the 12th. She anchored in Gravesend Bay, New York, on the 16th but got underway for Bayonne, New Jersey, 10 days later. The cargo ship reached the wharf at the naval base annex there that afternoon.

After discharging cargo brought from the Pacific and loading new cargo, Alcona got underway for Norfolk on the morning of 13 April and anchored in Hampton Roads the following morning. Underway at 1405 on the 19th, the ship reached Pier 4, Berth 42, Naval Operating Base (NOB), Norfolk, Virginia, at 1445 to discharge cargo. Securing from alI cargo operations on the afternoon of the 24th, she steamed out into Hampton Roads and anchored until the morning of 1 May, when she got underway for Boston, Massachusetts.

Exercise Nanook[edit]

Initially, it had been planned to decommission Alcona at Norfolk so that she might be returned to the War Shipping Administration and laid up in the James River to await further disposition. However, on 18 April 1946, Capt. Richard H. Cruzen, prospective commanding officer of an Arctic exercise, code named "Nanook" requested that Alcona be assigned to his task force. The approval of his request prolonged the ship's naval career and, on 27 April the Chief of Naval Operations ordered her assigned to "Nanook."

Alcona arrived at Boston, Massachusetts, shortly before noon on 3 May and moored alongside the destroyer, Willard Keith (DD-775). Five days later, Capt. Robert J. Esslinger (who had won a Navy Cross in USS Kearny (DD-432) and a Silver Star for command of USS Sproston (DD-577) off Okinawa in 1945) relieved Lt. Comdr. H. D. Byington USNR, in command.

(Data on Arctic assignment missing from Navy file.)

Final decommissioning[edit]

Alcona was decommissioned 5 May 1955 and returned to the Maritime Commission (date unknown). She was struck from the Naval Register on 1 April 1960. Her final disposition: fate unknown.


  1. ^ "USS Alcona (AK-157)". Retrieved June 5, 2015. 

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

External links[edit]