USS Mount Vernon (AP-22)
USS Mount Vernon (AP-22) In New York City 1941.
|Name:||USS Mount Vernon (AP-22)|
|Ordered:||24 May 1930|
|Builder:||New York Shipbuilding|
|Laid down:||20 January 1931|
|Launched:||20 August 1932|
|Acquired:||(by the Navy) 16 June 1941|
|Commissioned:||16 June 1941|
|Decommissioned:||18 January 1946|
|Renamed:||USS Mount Vernon (AP-22)|
|Tonnage:||24,289 gross tons|
|Displacement:||34,600 tons (fl)|
|Length:||705 ft 3 in|
|Draft:||31 ft 6 in|
|Propulsion:||Parsons steam turbines, Babcock & Wilcox boilers, twin screw, 30,000 shaft horsepower|
Washington was launched in May 1933 by the New York Shipbuilding Company of Camden, New Jersey, and operated as a passenger liner from New York City to Plymouth, England, and Hamburg, Germany. Renamed Mount Vernon 6 June 1941, the liner was acquired by the Navy 16 June 1941 and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard the same day, Captain Donald B. Beary in command.
Converted for naval use by Philadelphia Navy Yard, Mount Vernon trained along the east coast while mounting tension in the Far East drew the United States toward participation in World War II. In the fall, the new transport joined a convoy at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and sailed for Cape Town, South Africa. As Mount Vernon steamed toward Cape Horn, word arrived that Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor.
World War II
The transport, part of convoy DM.1, reached Singapore 13 January 1942. Here she debarked British and Canadian troops, watched dogfights between Japanese and British planes over the city, and underwent an air attack before sailing 16 January for Aden, where she embarked Australian veterans of the Mediterranean Theatre for transportation to Ceylon and Fremantle. Mount Vernon was the lead ship in Operation Stepsister, the movement of Australian troops from North Africa and the Middle East to Southeast Asia, the Dutch East Indies and Australia in response to war in the Pacific, and was carrying 4,668 of those troops in waters south of the Dutch East Indies even as allied naval forces were withdrawing in the face of Japanese attacks. On 9 March Mount Vernon delivered the returning Australian Imperial Force (A.I.F.) troops to Adelaide.
In Australia she embarked civilian and military escapees from the Philippines, and naval survivors from ships sunk in the Battle of Makassar Strait. After calls in Adelaide, South Australia and Wellington, New Zealand, Mount Vernon sailed for San Francisco, arriving 31 March.
For the next two years, Mount Vernon plied from San Francisco to ports in Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, and Hawaii, carrying the soldiers, marines, and sailors who would build the bases, then fight from them, bringing the ultimate victory over Japan. Her last such voyage began from San Francisco 21 February 1944. Steaming via Melbourne, she proceeded to Bombay, India, to debark Army personnel. She returned to Melbourne, and sailed for Boston by way of the Panama Canal, arriving 22 May.
On 4 June 1944, Mount Vernon began a series of voyages to British Isles ports and the Mediterranean, carrying men for the massive buildup on the European continent which would bring Germany to her knees. Her crossings continued after the war, as she carried occupation troops over and brought veterans home.
Returning from the last voyage 3 January 1946, Mount Vernon decommissioned 18 January 1946, was delivered to the Maritime Commission, and again named Washington. She was struck from the Naval Register in 1959 and sold for scrap in 1965.
- American Defense Service Medal with star
- European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
- World War II Victory Medal
- National Defense Service Medal
- A member of the crew reported that the Mt. Vernon was at Singapore on December 7, 1941 and ordered out, due to intelligence from the British that an attack was imminent. On that side of the date line December 8, was the day the war began. This was said to be classified "Top Secret" and that the Cape Horn Story was a cover. The Mt. Vernon was a fast converted liner and did not travel with convoys, at their slower speeds. The crew feared sub attacks because, they traveled alone and did not zig zag much. A machinist mate on the crew disclosed this in the 1970's.
- Gill 1957, p. 523.
- Gill 1957, p. 626.
- John Curtin.
- Gill 1957, p. 632.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- Gill, G. Hermon (1957). Royal Australian Navy 1939–1942. Australia in the War of 1939–1945. Series 2 – Navy. 1. Canberra: Australian War Memorial.
- World War II Database. "John Curtin". Retrieved 3 July 2013.
- AP-22 Mount Vernon, Navsource Online.