A county in the far northeastern corner of Texas named for Jim Bowie, one of the more famous men who died in the heroic defense of the Alamo during the Texas war for independence from Mexico.
(APA-137: dp. 14,837 (tl.); l. 455'0"; b. 62'0"; dr. 24'0" (lim.); s. 17.7 k. (tl.); cpl. 536; trp. 1,561; a. 1 5", 12 40mm.; cl. Haskell; T. VC2-S-AP5)
Bowie (APA-137) was laid down on 28 August 1944 at Wilmington, Calif., by the California Shipbuilding Corp. under a Maritime Commission contract (MCV hull 53); launched on 31 October 1944; sponsored by Mrs. J. Shaw; delivered to the Navy on 21 December 1944: and commissioned on 23 December 1944 at Terminal Island, Calif., Comdr. Frank L. Durnell in command.
Outfitting, shakedown, and amphibious training occupied Bowie until the second week in February 1945. After post-shakedown availability at Terminal Island, she loaded cargo at the Naval Supply Depot, Oakland, and set sail on 20 February for the Mariana Islands. She made a refueling stop at Eniwetok in the Marshalls before arriving at Guam on 10 March. The attack transport completed cargo operations there on 16 March and then moved to Saipan on the 17th to embark casualties. She put to sea for Hawaii that same day and entered Pearl Harbor on 27 March. The ship conducted local operations in Hawaiian waters and engaged in upkeep in Pearl Harbor until mid-April. At that time, she began combat loading elements of the 10th Army bound for duty in the Okinawa campaign.
Bowie stood out of Pearl Harbor on 17 April in a convoy. She arrived off the Hagushi beaches on Okinawa on 10 May. The troops went ashore immediately, and the attack transport began unloading cargo and taking on casualties. During her stay in the Ryukyus, Bowie witnessed a number of air raids but did not come under attack herself. On 15 May, the attack transport left Okinawa in a Hawaii-bound convoy. She made two stops, one at Ulithi and the other at Guam, before arriving back in Pearl Harbor on 3 June. She remained there overnight and, on the 4th, headed for the west coast. Bowie reached San Francisco on 10 June and disembarked the casualties and other passengers. Later in the month, she loaded cargo and took on troops. The ship loosed her moorings on 17 June and stood out of San Francisco Bay. On her way across the Pacific to the Philippines, Bowie stopped at Eniwetok and Ulithi for fuel. She arrived at Tacloban, on Leyte, on 9 July and began discharging cargo and troops. Five days later, the attack transport headed back to Hawaii.
Bowie spent almost two months in the Hawaiian Islands. When not in port at either Pearl Harbor or Honolulu, she conducted rehearsal landings at various locations in the islands. On 1 September, she left Pearl Harbor in a convoy bound ultimately for Japan. She stopped at Saipan to take on fuel and provisions from 13 to 16 September and arrived at Sasebo, Japan, on the 22d. Her troops went ashore on the 24th, and Bowie cleared Sasebo the next day. She took on boats at Subic Bay on 30 September and then moved to Manila. The attack transport moved to Lingayen Gulf on 2 and 3 October and began embarking troops destined for occupation service in Japan. She departed Lingayen Gulf in convoy on 9 October and arrived in Sasebo on the 14th. She did not, however, disembark her passengers until 18 October. On the 22d, Bowie departed Sasebo and proceeded to Guam where she stopped on the 27th. Continuing her voyage that same day, the ship reached San Diego on 12 November.
The attack transport made a round-trip voyage from the west coast to Guam and back between 27 November and 27 December bringing veterans of the Pacific theater home to the United States. On 16 January 1946, Bowie departed San Pedro on her way to the east coast. Steaming via San Diego and the Panama Canal, she arrived in Norfolk, Va., on 4 February. There, the ship began preparations for inactivation. On 8 March 1946, Bowie was placed out of commission at Norfolk. She was returned to the Maritime Commission on 14 March 1946, and her name was struck from the Navy list on 28 March 1946. She was berthed with the National Defense Reserve Fleet at James River, Va., and remained there until 9 April 1973 at which time she was sold to the Union
Minerals & Alloys Corp., New York City, for scrapping.
Bowie received one battle star for World War II service.
Raymond A. Mann
15 December 2005