USS Cecil (APA-96)
|Namesake||Cecil County, Maryland|
|Builder||Western Pipe & Steel|
|Laid down||24 June 1943|
|Launched||27 September 1943|
|Commissioned||15 September 1944|
|Decommissioned||24 May 1946|
|Renamed||USS Cecil, Steel Admiral.|
|Two battle stars for service in World War II.|
|Fate||Scrapped October 1973|
|Class and type||Bayfield-class attack transport|
|Displacement||8,100 tons, 16,100 tons fully loaded|
|Length||492 ft (150 m)|
|Beam||69 ft 6 in (21.18 m)|
|Draught||26 ft 6 in (8.08 m)|
|Propulsion||General Electric geared turbine, 2 x Babcock & Wilcox D-type boilers, single propeller, designed shaft horsepower 8,500|
|Boats & landing |
|12 x LCVP, 4 x LCM (Mk-6), 3 x LCP(L) (MK-IV)|
|Capacity||4,800 tons (180,500 cu. ft).|
Launched as Sea Angler by Western Pipe & Steel, San Francisco, California, under a Maritime Commission contract, the vessel was acquired by the Navy 26 February 1944 and renamed Cecil after a county in Maryland. She was placed in reduced commission 27 February, converted at Commercial Iron Works, Portland, Oregon, and placed in full commission 15 September 1944.
Cecil cleared San Francisco 26 November 1944 for amphibious training in the Hawaiian Islands, and preparations for the invasion of Iwo Jima at Eniwetok and Saipan. She cleared Saipan with her task group 16 February, and 3 days later, took position off Iwo Jima for the initial assault. As naval and air bombardment pounded the island, her men skillfully played their part. Remaining off the hard-fought beaches, Cecil completed unloading troops, cargo, and vehicles, and embarked casualties, with whom she sailed 28 February to Saipan.
Cecil continued on to Tulagi and Espiritu Santo, where she loaded men and cargo of the 27th Infantry Division. On 9 April 1945, she landed these reinforcements through high surf on Okinawa. She remained for a week continuing her unloading under enemy air attacks, aiding in fighting them off as she loaded and landed her boats. On 16 April she got underway for Saipan and Ulithi, where she received minor repairs and replenished.
On 21 May, Cecil arrived in Subic Bay, P.I., for transport and training duty until 27 August, when she departed Luzon with troops and cargo of the 1st Cavalry Division, bound for occupation duty in Japan.
Cecil called at Yokohama from 2 to 4 September 1945, then returned to the Philippines to load more occupation troops. On the return passage to Japan, she was ordered into Okinawa from 25 September to 3 October to avoid a threatening typhoon, then proceeded on to disembark her troops at Aki Nada.
Operation Magic Carpet
She sailed to San Pedro, Los Angeles, for a minor overhaul in November, then made another voyage to the Philippines as part of Operation Magic Carpet, to return men and equipment to San Pedro, where she arrived on 22 January 1946.
Decommissioning and fate
In March, she sailed to Norfolk, Virginia, where she was decommissioned on 24 May 1946, and returned to the Maritime Commission the next day. In 1947 Cecil was purchased by the Isthmian Steamship Company which registered her in New York as Steel Admiral. Steel Admiral remained in service with Isthmian Steamship until 1973, when she was taken to Kaohsiung, Taiwan and scrapped in October of the same year.
Cecil received two battle stars for World War II service.
- The Dictionary of American Fighting Ships says "Continental Iron Works" but this is almost certainly a transcription error.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- USS Cecil (APA-96), Navsource Online
- Mawdsley, Dean L. (2002). Steel Ships and Iron Pipe: Western Pipe and Steel Company of California: The Company, The Yard, The Ships. San Francisco: Associates of the National Maritime Museum Library. p. 153. ISBN 978-1-889901-28-2. OCLC 50164828.