USS Megrez (AK-126)
US Megrez (AK-126) (plan view - aft) after conversion to US Naval service at Oakland, CA., 2 November 1943.
|Ordered:||as a type (EC2-S-C1) hull, MCE hull 1642, SS General Vallejo|
|Builder:||California Shipbuilding Corporation, Wilmington, California|
|Laid down:||31 March 1943|
|Launched:||23 April 1943|
|Sponsored by:||Mrs. J. R. Jago|
|Acquired:||7 October 1943|
|Commissioned:||26 October 1943|
|Decommissioned:||29 May 1946|
|Refit:||converted for Naval service at Bethlehem Steel Co., Shipbuilding Division, San Francisco, CA.|
|Struck:||1 August 1947|
|Fate:||sold for scrapping, 13 June 1974, to Zidel Explorations Inc.|
|General characteristics |
|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 × Babcock & Wilcox header-type boilers, 220psi 450°
1 × Joshua Hendy vertical triple-expansion reciprocating steam engine
1 × shaft
|Speed:||12.5 kn (14.4 mph; 23.2 km/h)|
|Armament:||1 × 5 in (130 mm)/38 caliber dual purpose gun
1 × 3 in (76 mm)/50 caliber dual purpose gun
2 × 40 mm (1.6 in) 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun mounts
6 × 20 mm (0.79 in) Oerlikon cannons anti-aircraft gun mounts
USS Megrez (AK-126) was a Crater-class cargo ship commissioned by the U.S. Navy for service in World War II, named after Megrez, a star in the constellation Ursa Major. She was responsible for delivering troops, goods and equipment to locations in the war zone.
Built in Willmington, California
Megrez, built under a Maritime Commission contract by the California Shipbuilding Corporation, was launched as SS General Vallejo (MC hull No. 1642) on the 23 April 1943 and was sponsored by Mrs. J. R. Jago. She was then acquired by the Navy tinder bareboat charter from the Maritime Commission on the 7 October 1943; renamed Megrez 11 October 1943; converted by the Bethlehem Steel Co., Shipbuilding Division, San Francisco, California; and finally commissioned 26 October 1943, with Lt. Comdr. J. E. Dow, USNR in command.
World War II Pacific Theatre operations
Departing San Francisco Bay on November 13, 1943, Megrez headed for Micronesia. The boat operated out of Funafuti and on March 6, 1944 in Kwajalein became the "wholesaler", distributing dry provisions, clothing, medical supplies, and store stock to supply base craft, which in turn distributed supplies directly to the consumer units of the fleet.
Disembarking Material at Saipan and Tinian
USS Megrez returned to Pearl Harbor on June 2, 1944 and took on a cargo of rolling stock, sheet metals, and ammunition for transportation to the Marianas in support of Saipan and Tinian operations. Leaving Hawaiian waters on June 19, 1944, USS Megrez headed, via Kwajalein and Eniwetok, for Saipan, arriving on August 14, 1944. Two days later, USS Megrez moved to Tinian where she discharged the cargo at the rate of 590 tons a day.
A floating supply ship
USS Megrez next sailed for Eniwetok, arriving on August 31st, to become a floating supply and freight depot once again. In October she was reassigned and on her arrival at Ulithi on October 14th, she became a station ship for the issuance of lube oil to the U.S. 3rd Fleet and the U.S. 5th Fleet. Megrez served in this capacity for the next 7 months, supplying this vital fluid to the warships as they pressed closer to the enemy's home islands.
Supporting Philippine operations
On April 13, 1945, her tour as a floating supply center completed, Megrez departed Ulithi for Kossol Roads carrying fleet freight and general stores and supplies. She arrived in the Palau Islands on the 14th, unloaded her cargo and departed for San Pedro Bay, Philippine Islands, on the 18th.
Through September, Megrez freighted cargo among the Philippines and between San Pedro Bay and Ulithi. On October 5th, 1945 she departed for Buckner Bay, Okinawa, arriving on the October 13th and then continued on to Japan on November 3rd. Arriving at Yokosuka on November 7th, she then supplied ships in the Sea of Japan, the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea before departing for Pearl Harbor in early 1946.
The USS Megrez was decommissioned at Pearl Harbor on May 29, 1946 and was towed to San Francisco, California a year later. Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on August 1, 1947 and she was turned over to the Maritime Commission on September 18, 1947. She was then laid up at Suisun Bay, Benicia, California, as a unit of the National Defense Reserve Fleet. In 1974, she was scrapped.
Military awards and honors
Navy records do not record battle stars awarded to this ship. However, Megrez’s crew was eligible for the following medals:
- American Campaign Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
- World War II Victory Medal
- Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp)
- Philippines Liberation Medal
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- Photo gallery of Megrez at NavSource Naval History