USS Mercy (AH-8)

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USS Mercy (AH-8) underway in San Pedro Bay, California, 15 August 1944
USS Mercy (AH-8) underway in San Pedro Bay, California, 15 August 1944
History
Name: USS Mercy
Builder: Consolidated Steel Corporation, Wilmington, Los Angeles, California
Laid down: 4 February 1943
Launched: 25 March 1943
Sponsored by: Lieutenant (j.g) Doris M. Yetter, NC, USN
Acquired: 25 March 1943
Commissioned: 7 August 1944
Decommissioned: 17 May 1946
Struck: 25 September 1946
Fate: Transferred to the US Army
General characteristics
Class and type: Comfort-class hospital ship
Displacement: 9,800 long tons (9,957 t)
Length: 416 ft (127 m)
Beam: 60 ft 2 in (18.34 m)
Draft: 24 ft 6 in (7.47 m)
Propulsion: Geared turbine, single screw, 4,000 shp (2,983 kW)
Speed: 15.3 knots (17.6 mph; 28.3 km/h)
Capacity: 400 patients
Complement: 516
Armament: None
Service record
Operations: World War II
Awards: 2 battle stars

The second USS Mercy (AH-8) was a Comfort-class hospital ship laid down under Maritime Commission contract by Consolidated Steel Corporation at the Wilmington Yard, Wilmington, California, on 4 February 1943. She was acquired by the US Navy from the Maritime Commission on 25 March 1943 and launched the same day, sponsored by Lieutenant (junior grade) Doris M. Yetter, NC, USN, who had been a prisoner of war on Guam in 1941. She was converted from a cargo ship to a hospital ship by Los Angeles Shipbuilding & Drydock Company, San Pedro, California and commissioned 7 August 1944, with Captain Thomas A. Esling, USNR, in command.

Service history[edit]

Mercy was one of three hospital ships, the others being USS Comfort (AH-6) and USS Hope (AH-7), built, commanded and crewed by the Navy for the Army. These ships, unlike the Navy hospital ships, were intended for evacuation and transport of patients after primary care had been given. Medical equipment and personnel were provided by the Army. The Army medical complement table of organization provided for the temporary reinforcement of the staff if the ship directly supported amphibious operations.[1][2]

Philippines[edit]

After shakedown beginning 17 August, Mercy, staffed by the US Army's 214th Hospital Ship personnel, was assigned to NTS to operate with the 5th and 7th Fleets. She departed San Pedro 31 August for the South Pacific and, after calls at Pearl Harbor and Eniwetok, arrived Hollandia, New Guinea, 14 October. Five days later the hospital ship departed for the Philippines for the initial landing at Leyte on 20 October, arriving off Leyte Gulf the morning of 25 October to find the Battle for Leyte Gulf still raging for another day.

Mercy moved to San Pedro Bay later the same day and began embarking some 400 casualties, mostly from LSTs alongside. On 26 October she sailed for the Admiralties, via Kossol Roads, Palau, Caroline Islands, arriving at Manus to disembark the wounded for transfer to base hospitals. During the next five months, Mercy completed seven more voyages from Leyte to Manus, or Hollandia. She also transported the 3rd Field Hospital from New Guinea to Tacloban, Philippines, early in January 1945.

Okinawa[edit]

On 19 March Mercy reported to the 5th Fleet at Ulithi, Caroline Islands, for service during the Okinawa campaign, beginning with the landings 1 April. She arrived off Okinawa the morning of 19 April in company with USS Solace (AH-5) to remain for four days at Hagushi Beach embarking patients despite frequent air raids and threat of kamikazes. The hospital ship then got underway for Saipan, Marianas Islands, 23 April. She made two more voyages to Okinąwa, returning from the latter to Saipan 24 May.

Mercy next carried wounded from Leyte and Manila on two voyages to Biak, returning to Manila on 23 June for two months' duty as station hospital ship. On 19 August she embarked the 227th Station Hospital assigned to the Korean Occupation Forces, and three days later departed for Korea via Okinawa, arriving Jinsen 9 September.

On 19 October the hospital ship departed for Manila and San Pedro, California, arriving 14 November. She got underway for the central Pacific 4 February 1946, arriving Pearl Harbor on 12 February for duty until 2 April when she returned to California.

Mercy decommissioned at San Francisco, California, 17 May, was delivered to the War Department the same day, and transferred to the US Army 20 June for further service as a hospital ship. On 25 September 1946, she was struck from the Naval Vessel Register.

Mercy received two battle stars for her World War II service.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Condon-Rall 1998, p. 258.
  2. ^ Smith 1956, pp. 326, 422, 424.
  • This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
  • Condon-Rall, Mary Ellen; Cowdrey, Albert E. (1998). The Technical Services—The Medical Department: Medical Service In The War Against Japan. United States Army In World War II. Washington, DC: Center Of Military History, United States Army. LCCN 97022644. 
  • Smith, Clarence McKittrick (1956). The Technical Services—The Medical Department: Hospitalization And Evacuation, Zone Of Interior. United States Army In World War II. Washington, DC: Center Of Military History, United States Army. LCCN 55060005.