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Counties in Alabama and Tennessee.

(AK-163: dp. 7,125 (tl.); l. 338'6"; b. 50'0"; dr. 21'1" (lim.); s. 11.5 k.; cpl. 85; a. 1 3"; cl. Alamosa; T. C1-M-AV1)

Blount (AK-163) was laid down on 7 August 1944 at Richmond, Calif., by the Kaiser Cargo Co., Inc., under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 2108); launched on 19 October 1944; sponsored by Mrs. R. E. St. Clair; delivered to the Navy on 26 January 1945; and placed in commission that same day, Lt. William H. Leverett, USNR, in command.

Following a period of modifications and shakedown training, Blount loaded cargo and stood out of San Francisco on 16 March. Three weeks later, on 8 April, she arrived at Manus in the Admiralty Islands. The ship spent three days there discharging cargo before returning to sea on the 11th, bound--via Biak Island--for Morotai in the Netherlands East Indies. She stopped at Biak from 14 to 16 April and arrived at Morotai on the 19th. There, she issued provisions to ships staging for the assault on Tarakan, Borneo. On 29 May, Blount set sail for Borneo and, on 1 June, arrived at Tarakan where she dispensed emergency rations for Australian troops fighting for the island. Two days later, she headed for the Philippines. The cargo ship stopped off overnight on 7 and 8 June at Parang on Mindanao Island to unload supplies before heading back to Morotai. She reached Morotai on 10 June and remained there until the 28th. On that day, Blount stood out to sea and, on 3 July, reentered Seeadler Harbor at Manus.

The ship remained at Manus for over a month intermittently loading cargo and undergoing repairs for minor damage incurred in a collision with a civilian merchantman that occurred just before she entered the harbor. Blount returned to sea on 7 August, bound for the Philippines. Seven days later, she arrived in the harbor at Cebu City on Cebu Island in the southern Philippines. On the morning of the 15th, while still at Cebu, she received word of the cessation of hostilities with Japan. The cargo ship departed Cebu on 17 August and entered port at Iloilo on Panay Island on the 18th to provision transports with Japan-bound occupation troops embarked. From there, she moved to Puerto Princessa on Palawan Island where she issued provisions to shore stations. Visits to Brunei Bay, Borneo; Tawi Tawi in the Sulu Archipelago; and Tarakan, Borneo, followed. Blount departed Tarakan on 8 September; transited the Makassar Stratt; and reached Balikpapan, Borneo, on the 10th. Two days later, the ship stood out of Balikpapan, bound for the Philippines. She delivered provisions at Zamboanga on Mindanao and at Isabela on Basilan Island before leaving the Philippines on the 24th for the Admiralty Islands. The ship entered Seeadler Harbor, Manus, on 2 October and began voyage repairs.

Blount remained at Manus until mid-November. During her stay, her mission was changed from that of a fleet issue ship to that of a general cargo ship. She departed Manus on 16 November and arrived at Luzon on Christmas Day 1945. On 5 January 1946, Blount began the long voyage back to the United States. She arrived in the Canal Zone on 22 February and, after transiting the canal, got underway for Hampton Roads, Va., on 2 March. She remained at Norfolk until 8 April at which time she moved to Baltimore, Md. Blount was decommissioned there on 18 April 1946. She was delivered to the Maritime Commission's War Shipping Administration (WSA) on 24 April 1946, and her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 May 1946. By the spring of 1948, she had been sold to Koninklijke Nederlandsche Stoomboot Maatschappij N.V. which steamship line put her in service as SS Hecuba. She later served two other steamship lines as SS Anna and SS Panos before ending her merchant service sometime between January 1974 and January 1975.

Raymond A. Mann

26 January 2006