USS Murzim (AK-95)
USS Murzim (AK-95)
|Ordered:||as a Type EC2-S-C1 hull, MCE hull 633|
|Builder:||California Shipbuilding Corporation, Terminal Island, Los Angeles, California|
|Laid down:||10 July 1942|
|Launched:||17 August 1942|
|Sponsored by:||Mrs. Albert E. Bowen|
|Acquired:||8 April 1943|
|Commissioned:||14 May 1943|
|Decommissioned:||7 June 1946|
|Renamed:||Murzim, 17 March 1943|
|Struck:||23 June 1947|
|1 × battle star|
|Fate:||Returned to MARCOM, laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, California, 5 August 1947|
|Status:||Sold for scrapping, 19 March 1973, withdrawn from fleet, 27 July 1973|
|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 Murzim (AK-95) was a Crater-class cargo ship commissioned by the US Navy for service in World War II. She was named after Murzim, the star in constellation Canis Major. Murzim was manned by United States Coast Guard personnel and was responsible for delivering troops, goods and equipment to locations in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater.
In light of the Mount Hood tragedy, which involved the complete explosion of another ammunition ship, the USS Mount Hood, it became clear that those on Murzim and other ammo ships were running the risk of nearly instantaneous death by catastrophic explosion at every moment of their stint in the Pacific Theater. Nevertheless, the crew worked even under the threat of air attack warnings, transferring their cargo to other fighting ships.
Murzim was laid down 10 July 1942, under a Maritime Commission (MARCOM) contract, MC hull 633, as Liberty ship SS Brigham Young by California Shipbuilding Corporation, Terminal Island, Los Angeles, California; and launched 17 August 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Albert E. Bowen; renamed Murzim 17 March 1943; acquired by the Navy under bareboat charter from the MARCOM on 8 April 1943; converted for use as a naval cargo ship by the Los Angeles Shipbuilding & Drydock Company, Los Angeles, California; and commissioned 14 May 1943, with Lieutenant J. E. King, USCGR, in command.
Lt. Rodney W. Norman, USCGR, served as communications officer. Another seaman on Murzim was Alex Haley, who would later gain fame as the writer of Roots: The Saga of an American Family. Her crew bears distinction for being the only US Navy ship crew in wartime to be ordered to "abandon ship" while at dockside due to an onboard fire while fully loaded with ammunition. The fire was controlled, averting catastrophe.
For almost two months Murzim operated along the west coast of the United States under the 11th Naval District; thence, after loading general cargo, she departed from San Francisco 8 July 1943, and arrived at New Caledonia on 5 August. She then began cargo shuttle runs among American bases in the South Pacific and during the next year, she delivered supplies from ports in Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia to the New Hebrides, the Fiji Islands, and the Solomon Islands. She carried out several voyages between Nouméa and Guadalcanal, and in the spring of 1944 she extended her runs northward along the Solomon chain to Bougainville, New Georgia, Green Island, and the Russells. In mid-June she sailed from the Solomons via New Guinea to the Admiralties where she discharged cargo at Manus. After steaming to Australia for a cargo of ammunition, she returned to New Guinea 24 August.
For almost two months, Murzim supplied antiaircraft ammunition to ships at Hollandia preparing for the invasion of the Philippines. After filling her holds with ammunition from Brisbane and Sydney Australia, she sailed without escort for the Philippines 24 October. Arriving Leyte Gulf 29 October, she began duty as an ammo station ship. During the next 3 months she supplied ships from cruisers to LSTs with a variety of ammunition which ranged from 6 in (152 mm) to 20 mm (0.79 in). Despite numerous air alerts, her crew carried out the dangerous business of transferring ammunition to ships alongside. During an enemy air attack 27 November, her 20 mm guns splashed a Japanese plane attacking the cargo ship from starboard.
By eyewitness account, the small plane of a type used for photographic reconnaissance was on a downward sloping path toward a broadside collision with the Murzim’s midsection. At nearly the last moment the plane was hit by a foredeck gun and changed course by pitching upward, rolling over on its side, careening over the ship and plunging into the water to port. A small craft was sent out look for wreckage and survivors. The only thing found was a single wheel assembly, the tire still intact and displaying the Goodyear trademark, this latter fact being widely remarked among the crew.[original research?]
Between 27 January 1945 and 4 February, Murzim steamed in convoy to Manus where she replenished her holds with ammunition. Thence, after joining a convoy at Hollandia, she returned to Leyte 22 March, and resumed ammo station duty in Leyte Gulf. During the closing weeks of the war against Japan, she delivered cargo to Manus and cruised to the Philippines with additional supplies of ammunition.
Following the Japanese surrender, Murzim was authorized for use in atomic tests in the Marshalls, and was ordered to transfer to joint Task Force 1, 25 February 1946. However, she was assigned to the 14th Naval District for inactivation 11 March, and she decommissioned at Pearl Harbor 7 June. She remained at Pearl Harbor until March 1947, when she was towed to San Francisco. Her name was struck from the Navy List 23 June. Murzim was transferred to MARCOM 5 August 1947, and entered the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay.
The Murzim received one battle star for World War II service.
- "Murzim". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History and Heritage Command. 12 August 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2017. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- "California Shipbuilding, Los Angeles CA". www.ShipbuildingHistory.com. 13 October 2010. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
- "USS MURZIM (AK-95)". Navsource.org. 6 September 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
- "MURZIM (AK-95)". United States Department of Transportation. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
- "BRIGHAM YOUNG". United States Department of Transportation. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
- "SS Brigham Young". Retrieved 15 December 2017.