USS Alkaid (AK-114)
|Ordered:||as a type (EC2-S-C1) hull, MCE hull 1211, SS William G. Sumner|
|Builder:||St. Johns River Shipbuilding Company, Jacksonville, Florida|
|Laid down:||13 September 1943|
|Launched:||8 November 1943|
|Sponsored by:||Mrs. W. R. McQuaid|
|Acquired:||19 November 1943|
|Commissioned:||27 March 1944|
|Decommissioned:||11 March 1946|
|Struck:||28 March 1946|
|Fate:||sold for scrapping, 20 April 1964, to National Metal and Steel Co.|
|Status:||scrapped 23 December 1965|
|General characteristics |
|Class & type:||Crater-class cargo ship|
|Length:||441 ft 6 in (134.57 m)|
|Beam:||56 ft 11 in (17.35 m)|
|Draft:||28 ft 4 in (8.64 m)|
|Installed power:||2,500 shp (1,900 kW)|
|Speed:||12.5 kn (14.4 mph; 23.2 km/h)|
USS Alkaid (AK-114) was a Crater-class cargo ship commissioned by the U.S. Navy for service in World War II, named after Alkaid, the star in Big Dipper asterism or constellation Ursa Major. She was responsible for delivering troops, goods and equipment to locations in the war zone.
Built in Jacksonville, Florida
SS William G. Sumner (AK-114) was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract (MCE hull 1211) on 13 September 1943 by the St. Johns River Shipbuilding Company, Jacksonville, Florida; launched on 8 November 1943; sponsored by Mrs. W. R. McQuaid; renamed Alkaid on 13 November 1943; acquired by the Navy under a bareboat charter on 19 November 1943; converted for naval service by the Gibbs Gas Engine Co., Jacksonville; and, commissioned in Jacksonville on 27 March 1944, Lt. Comdr. E. G. Gummer in command.
World War II Pacific Theatre operations
Following a period of shakedown training off the U.S. East Coast, Alkaid sailed on 6 May for the Pacific Ocean, via Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the Panama Canal. On 14 June, the ship touched at Espiritu Santo and reported to Service Squadron 8 for duty.
Inter-island service in the South Pacific
For the duration of her World War II service, Alkaid acted as an interisland transport. Some of the ports she visited included Noumea, New Caledonia; Guadalcanal; Tulagi; Suva, Fiji; Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand; Espiritu Santo and Efate, New Hebrides; Oro Bay, New Guinea; Iwo Jima; Guam; and Eniwetok.
Alkaid touched at Pearl Harbor in early August. She was undergoing availability when she received word of the Japanese surrender. In September, the ship got underway for Japan. After making calls at Eniwetok, Saipan, and Iwo Jima, Alkaid dropped anchor at Yokosuka, Japan, on 4 October. For the next one and one-half months, the ship served with the occupation forces in Japan.
On 16 November, Alkaid left Japan with a load of homeward-bound American troops and reached Long Beach, California, on 9 December 1945. On 4 January 1946, Alkaid departed Long Beach for San Francisco, California, arriving on 6 January 1946.
Military awards and honors
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- Photo gallery of Alkaid at NavSource Naval History