USS Melucta (AK-131)
USS Melucta (AK-131) underway, 2 August 1944, off Jacksonville, FL., a few days after commissioning. Her conversion differs from others ships of her class in several details, including the higher splinter protection around the 5"/38 gun aft and the small but tall lattice platform aft of the deckhouse. Her camouflage is Measure 33 Design 9D.
|Ordered:||as a type (EC2-S-C1) hull, MCE hull 2470, SS Thomas A. McGinley|
|Builder:||St. Johns River Shipbuilding Company, Jacksonville, Florida|
|Laid down:||21 January 1944|
|Launched:||20 March 1944|
|Sponsored by:||Mrs. Thomas A. McGinley|
|Acquired:||31 March 1944|
|Commissioned:||22 July 1944|
|Decommissioned:||13 December 1945|
|Refit:||converted for Naval service at Gibbs Gas Engine Co., Jacksonville, FL.|
|Struck:||3 January 1946|
|Fate:||sold for scrapping, 24 March 1970, to Revalorizacion de Materiales S.A., Santurce, Spain|
|Status:||dismantling completed, 21 September 1970|
|General characteristics |
|Class and 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)|
|Speed:||12.5 kn (14.4 mph; 23.2 km/h)|
USS Melucta (AK-131) was a Crater-class cargo ship commissioned by the U.S. Navy for service in World War II, named after Melucta, the star in constellation Gemini. She was responsible for delivering troops, goods and equipment to locations in the war zone.
Built in Jacksonville, Florida
Melucta (AK-131) was laid down as SS Thomas A. McGinley under Maritime Commission contract by St. Johns River Shipbuilding Company, Jacksonville, Florida, 21 January 1944; launched 20 March 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Thomas A. McGinley; acquired as Melucta by the Navy from WSA under bareboat charter 31 March 1944; converted from a freighter by Gibbs Gas Engine Co., Jacksonville, Florida; and commissioned 22 July 1944.
World War II Pacific Theatre operations
Following shakedown off Norfolk, Virginia, Melucta, was assigned to Naval Transportation Service 17 August for cargo carrying duties along the U.S. East Coast into the fall. By 10 November she was en route to the Marshalls, towing USS Cinnabar (IX-163) to Pearl Harbor before continuing on to Ebon Atoll.
The cargo ship operated in the South Pacific Ocean for the next year. Melucta steamed to San Francisco, California, in May 1945 for repairs and reloading, departing the first week of June. In mid October she got underway for the U.S. East Coast via the Panama Canal Zone, arriving Norfolk, Virginia, 28 November.
Melucta decommissioned there 13 December and was delivered to War Shipping Administration 5 days later. Renamed SS Thomas A. McGinley, she entered the National Defense Reserve Fleet in James River, Virginia, where she remained until she was scrapped in 1970.
Military awards and honors
No battle stars are indicated for Melucta in current Navy accounts. However, her crew was eligible for the following medals:
- American Campaign Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
- World War II Victory Medal
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- Photo gallery of Melucta at NavSource Naval History