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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND
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Alkaid

 

A star in the constellation Ursa Major.

 

(AK-114: dp. 12,350; 1. 441'6"; b. 56'11"; dr. 24'6"; s. 12.8 k.; cpl. 198; a. 1 5", 4 40mm., 12 20mm.; cl. Crater, T. EC2-S-C1)

 

William G. Sumner (AK-114) was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract (MCE hull 1211) on 13 September 1943 by the St. John's River Shipbuilding Co., Inc., Jacksonville, Fla.; launched on 8 November 1943; sponsored by Mrs. W. R. McQuaid; renamed Alkaid on 13 November 1943; acquired by the Navy under a bareboat charter on 19 November 1943; converted for naval service by the Gibbs Gas Engine Co., Jacksonville, Fla.; and commissioned in Jacksonville on 27 March 1944, Lt. Comdr. E. G. Gummer in command.

 

Following a period of shakedown training off the east coast, Alkaid sailed on 6 May for the Pacific, via Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the Panama Canal. On 14 June, the ship touched at Espiritu Santo and reported to Service Squadron 8 for duty. For the duration of her World War II service, Alkaid acted as an interisland transport. Some of the ports she visited included Noumea, New Caledonia; Guadalcanal; Tulagi; Suva, Fiji; Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand; Espiritu Santo and Efate, New Hebrides; Oro Bay, New Guinea; Iwo Jima; Guam; and Eniwetok.

 

On 15 May 1945, Alkaid sailed from Ulithi with a convoy bound for Okinawa. She arrived off Hagushi beach on the 21st and operated there through the end of the month.

 

Alkaid touched at Pearl Harbor in early August. She was undergoing availability when she received word of the Japanese surrender. In September, the ship got underway for Japan. After making calls at Eniwetok, Saipan, and Iwo Jima, Alkaid dropped anchor at Yokosuka, Japan, on 4 October. For the next one and one-half months, the ship served with the occupation forces in Japan.

 

On 16 November, Alkaid left Japan with a load of homeward-bound American troops and reached San Francisco, Calif., on 6 January 1946. The ship was decommissioned there and returned to the Maritime Commission on 11 March 1946. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 28 March 1946.

 

Alkaid won one battle star for her World War II service.