In Greek mythology, the north wind personified. Represented as an old man with white beard and hair, Boreas was the king and the strongest of all winds.
(AF-8: dp. 11,570; l. 416'6"; b. 53'; dr. 26'5"; s. 11 k.; cpl. 267; a. 2 5", 4 3"; cl. Arctic)
Boreas (AF-8) was built for the United States Shipping Board as Yaquina in 1919 at Oakland, Calif., by the Moore Shipbuilding Co.; renamed Boreas on 29 October 1921; acquired by the Navy on 6 December 1921 and laid up in reserve at the Philadelphia Navy Yard; commissioned in ordinary on 6 August 1940; towed to the Todd-Robbins Dry Dock and Repair Co., in Brooklyn, N.Y., for reactivation; and placed in full commission on 24 March 1941, Comdr. George M. O'Rear in command.
Following shakedown in the Chesapeake Bay in May, the store ship filled her holds with construction equipment and material, and a load of frozen turkeys. She set course for the Pacific, and stopped at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, before transiting the Panama Canal. She topped off her tanks and cargo holds at San Diego and San Francisco and then got underway for Pearl Harbor on 6 June. For the next few months, she operated a shuttle service between these ports on the west coast and Hawaii.
At the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, Boreas was in San Francisco. One of the first provision ships to arrive in Hawaii after the attack, she made 10 round-trips between San Francisco and Pearl Harbor in 1942 hauling goods and material to rebuild and resupply the strategic naval base there.
On 26 December 1942, Boreas departed San Francisco, bound for Noumea, New Caledonia, and Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, to begin supplying advanced bases. Returning to Pearl Harbor or San Francisco to refill her holds with needed supplies, Boreas provisioned many of the major islands and bases in the Pacific including Samoa; Funafuti, Ellice Islands; Kwajalein and Eniwetok, Marshall Islands; Tulagi and Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands; Guam and Saipan, Marianas Islands; Iwo Jima; Okinawa; Manus; Ulithi, Caroline Islands; Efate, New Hebrides; Tarawa and Makin, Gilbert Islands; Christmas Island; and Auckland, New Zealand.
Boreas generally steamed alone, only occasionally rating a small escort, but the store ship never suffered damage and rarely even saw an enemy. Late in 1944, she salvaged cargo from Asphalt (IX-153), a concrete storage barge that had grounded on a coral reef off Saipan during a severe storm.
After the Japanese agreed to surrender on 15 August 1945, Boreas carried supplies to Okinawa to support occupation forces there. Later in the fall of 1945, she received orders to move on to Japan and provisioned Wakayama, Nagoya, Sasebo, and Kure from 20 October to 18 November when orders came sending her home. Boreas arrived at San Diego on 23 December.
The store ship steamed via the Panama Canal for the Norfolk Navy Yard, where she arrived on 19 January 1946. Boreas was decommissioned on 15 February 1946, and her name was struck from the Navy list on 28 March 1946. Returned to the War Shipping Administration in July 1946, she was sold on 28 November 1947 to the Patapsco Steel Scrap Co. of Bethlehem, Pa., and scrapped.
Mary P. Walker
3 January 2006