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

 

Alleviation of misery and distress.

 

(AH-15: dp. 11,141; l. 520'; b. 71'6": dr. 24'; s. 18 k.; cpl. 564; cl. Haven)

 

Consolation (AH-15) was launched 1 August 1944 as Marine Walrus by Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Chester, Pa.; under a Maritime Commission contract; sponsored by Mrs. H. C. Wilson; acquired by the Navy 30 August 1944; converted at Bethlehem Steel Co., Hoboken, N.J.; and commissioned 22 May 1945, Commander P. S. Tambling in command.

 

Sailing from the east coast 14 July 1945, Consolation arrived at Wakayama, Honshu, 11 September to join with Sanctuary (AH-16) in setting up a shore screening station and field hospital to receive men of Allied forces who had been prisoners of war in Japan. By 15 September she had embarked 1,062 men and 3 days later cleared for Okinawa where her patients were debarked for transfer to the United States. Consolation returned to Wakayama to act as station hospital for the 5th Fleet. During 13 to 24 October she was at Okinawa to treat the casualties of a vicious typhoon, then sailed to Nagoya where she served as station hospital for the 5th and 6th Fleets during the occupation of that area from 26 October to 3 November. Arriving in San Francisco 23 November, Consolation underwent a brief overhaul then operated from 6 December 1945 to 3 February 1946 between Pearl Harbor and San Francisco transporting sailors and patients.

 

Consolation arrived at Norfolk, Va., 3 March 1946. She operated in the Caribbean and had temporary duty with the Naval Transportation Service transferring dependents from the Canal Zone to New York from 25 March to 21 October 1946, and then remained in commission although inactive at Hampton Roads with occasional trips during fleet exercises until the outbreak of the Korean war.

 

Departing Norfolk 14 July 1950 Consolation arrived at Pusan, Korea, 16 August to care for the wounded, both military and civilian, of the Allied forces. She took part in the Inchon, Wonsan, and Hungnam operations and provided medical assistance for the military forces of Korea, aiding in the establishment of Korean hospitals and medical installations. On 24 May 1951 she sailed for San Diego, arriving 6 June. She was overhauled and fitted with a helicopter landing platform on her after deck.

 

Clearing San Diego 13 September 1951 Consolation arrived at Pusan 6 October. On 18 December she began Operation "Helicopter," the first use of helicopters to evacuate casualties directly from a battlefield to a hospital ship. She remained off Korea until the truce, except for periods at San Diego from 6 July to 8 September 1952 and from 23 June to 5 October 1953, then continued to care for the United Nations troops remaining in Korea and Korean civilians until 6 April 1954. Arriving in San Francisco 23 April, she remained only through 10 August when she sailed to Tourane Bay, French Indo-China, to participate in the "Passage to Freedom" operation, the evacuation of North Vietnam nationals. Consolation remained in the Far East providing medical attention to United Nations troops in Korea until 12 March 1955 when she sailed from Yokosuka for San Francisco, arriving 30 March. She was placed out of commission in reserve at San Francisco 30 December 1955. On 16 March 1960 Consolation was chartered to the People to People Health Foundation. Renamed Hope, she sailed later in 1960 on her first cruise to bring modern medical treatment and training to underdeveloped areas of the world.

 

Consolation received 10 battle stars for Korean war service.

 

 

USS Consolation (AH-15)