USS Alkaid (AK-114)

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Career (US)
Name: William G. Sumner
Alkaid
Namesake: William G. Sumner
Alkaid
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
Identification: Hull symbol:AK-114
Fate: sold for scrapping, 20 April 1964, to National Metal and Steel Co.
Status: scrapped 23 December 1965
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Crater-class cargo ship
Displacement: 4,023 long tons (4,088 t) (standard)
14,550 long tons (14,780 t) (full load)
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)
Propulsion: 2 × Combustion Engineering header-type boilers, 220psi 450°
1 × General Machine Company triple-expansion reciprocating steam engine
1 × shaft
Speed: 12.5 kn (14.4 mph; 23.2 km/h)
Complement: 206
Armament: 1 × 5 in (130 mm)/38 caliber dual purpose gun
4 × 40 mm (1.6 in) 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun mounts
6 × 20 mm (0.79 in) Oerlikon cannons anti-aircraft gun mounts

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Okinawa operations[edit]

On 15 May 1945, Alkaid sailed from Ulithi with a convoy bound for Okinawa. She arrived off Hagushi beach on the 21st and operated there through the end of the month.

End-of-war activity[edit]

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.

Post-war decommissioning[edit]

The ship was decommissioned there, having traveled 59,119 miles, and was returned to the Maritime Commission on 11 March 1946. Her name was struck from the Naval Register on 28 March 1946.

Military awards and honors[edit]

Alkaid won one battle star for her World War II service.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "USS Alkaid (AK-114)". Navsource.org. Retrieved May 19, 2015. 

External links[edit]