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General A. W. Greely


Adolphus Washington Greely, born 27 March 1844 in Newburyport, Mass., enlisted as a private in the 19th Massachusetts Infantry 26 July 1861 and participated in numerous battles throughout the Civil War. Appointed Second Lieutenant in 1867, between 1871 and 1881 he served in Texas and in Montana and Dakota Territories, where he helped construct 2,000 miles of telegraph lines. A pioneer in polar exploration, he studied Arctic weather and climate, and from 1881 to 1884 led an ill-fated expedition during the establishment of a chain of circumpolar research stations. In 1882 his party pushed farther northward than any previous expedition; but, suffering great hardships, only seven men, including Greely, survived the ordeal. From 1887 until 1906 he served as Chief Signal Officer and administered the Weather Bureau and Signal Corps. During the Spanish-American War he supervised the construction of more than 25,000 miles of telegraph lines in Cuba, Puerto Rico, China, and the Philippine Islands. Also a pioneer in the use of wireless communications, he established several radio stations in Alaska. Promoted to Major General 10 February 1906, he commanded military relief operations following the San Francisco Earthquake 18 to 19 April. General Greely retired 27 March 1908 and died in Washington, D.C., 20 October 1935. By special legislation of Congress, he was awarded the Medal of Honor 21 March 1935 for his life of outstanding public service.

(AP-141: displacement 17,250 tons; length 522'10"; beam 71'6"; draft 26'6"; speed 17 knots; complement 356; troops 3,823; armament 4 5-inch guns, 4 40mm machine guns, 16 20mm machine guns; class General G. O. Squier; T. C4-S-A1)

General A. W. Greely (AP-141) was laid down under Maritime Commission contract 18 July 1944 by Kaiser Co., Inc., Yard 3, Richmond, Calif.; launched 5 November 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Clarke Wayland; acquired by the Navy 22 March 1945; and commissioned the same day, Comdr. George W. Stedman, Jr., in command.

After shakedown, General A. W. Greely embarked 2,923 troops and civilians and departed San Pedro 16 April for Australia. She reached Melbourne 4 May, then sailed the next day for Fremantle and then India, arriving Calcutta 20 May. After embarking homebound troops, she departed the 28th; steamed via Ceylon and Suez; and arrived Newport News, Va., 22 June. From 28 June to 7 July she sailed to Le Havre, France, where she embarked 3,000 troops before returning to New York 18 July. Between 28 July and 6 December she completed two round-trip voyages from New York to Calcutta, transporting mail and cargo; and returning home-bound veterans to the United States. Departing New York 14 December, she reached Karachi, India, 4 January 1946 and embarked additional returning veterans. She sailed 6 January for the West Coast; and, steaming via Ceylon, Singapore, and the Philippines, she arrived Seattle 2 February. She decommissioned at San Francisco 29 March and was transferred to the War Shipping Administration (WSA) the same day for use as a transport in the Army Transportation Service.

Reacquired by the Navy 1 March 1950, General A. W. Greely was assigned to the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) under a civilian crew. Initially assigned to duty in the Atlantic, the transport made a voyage to Europe, picking up passengers and cargo and departing Bremerhaven, Germany, on 22 June and arriving in New York on 11 July.

Following the outbreak of the Korean War three weeks previously, the transport shifted to the Pacific to support the sudden flow of troops and supplies to the Far East. General A. W. Greely departed Seattle 5 August, carrying reinforcements to Japan and South Korea, the first of four round-trip voyages with troops and supplies to Japan, Korea, and Okinawa before sailing for duty in the Atlantic, arriving at New York 9 June 1951 for overhaul at the Atlantic Basin Iron Works, Brooklyn.

Operating out of New York between 10 October 1951 and 22 February 1953 General A. W. Greely completed a number of trans-Atlantic runs to Bremerhaven, Germany, and La Pallice, France. While en route to Bremerhaven in December 1951, the transport's two lifeboats rescued most of the crew of the stricken merchantman, Flying Enterprise, a dramatic 29 December rescue that earned the master and two senior officers the Navy's Distinguished Civilian Service Award.

Placed in reduced operational status from 17 April until 5 June 1953, she departed Norfolk 16 June for Thule, Greenland. Arriving 3 July, she served until 30 September as barracks ship during Operation "Blue Jay," the construction of Thule Air Force Base. She returned to New York 9 October; steamed to Bremerhaven and back between 10 November and 4 December; and was again placed in reduced operational status from 9 December until 19 July 1954.

General A. W. Greely departed New York 27 July, bound for the Pacific. Arriving San Francisco 11 August, she sailed for the Far East 7 September and operated in Korean and Japanese waters before returning to San Francisco via Adak, Alaska, 10 October. She steamed to Portland, Oreg., 27 October; entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet at San Diego in March 1955; and was transferred to the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Olympia, Wash., 29 August 1959.

Struck from the Navy List on 1 July 1960, the transport was eventually sold to Pacific Far East Lines in May 1968 and, after conversion to a container ship at Todd Shipyards Corp. in Alameda, Calif., she served as Hawaii Bear on the San Francisco to Guam run for the next seven years. Sold to Farrell Lines in 1975, she served as Austral Glade until 1979 after which she sailed under the name Pacific Enterprise. Purchased by American Marine in 1982, the container ship then sailed under the name Caribe Enterprise on a ten-day run between Philadelphia and San Juan, Puerto Rico before finally being sold for scrap in 1986.

Partial update 14 June 2007