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Grafton

 

A county in New Hampshire.

 

(APA-109: dp. 8576 light; l. 492'; b. 69'6"; dr. 26'6"; cpl. 553; s. 17 k.; a. 2 5" ; cl. Bayfield)

 

I

 

The first Grafton (APA-109), formerly Sea Sparrow, was launched under Maritime Commission contract by Western Pipe & Steel Co., San Francisco, Calif., 10 August 1944; sponsored by Mrs. S. Belither; and commissioned and acquired simultaneously 5 January 1945, Captain C. D. Emory in command.

 

After a 10-day period loading supplies and landing craft at Oakland, Calif., Grafton conducted her shakedown training oft San Pedro. Subsequently, the ship underwent amphibious training 3-19 February before sailing for the great Pacific assaults to come. She departed 10 April with 1,000 Seabees and arrived Pearl Harbor 6 days later. Loading another group of Seabees at Pearl Harbor, Grafton sailed 27 April for Samar, Philippine Islands, via Eniwetok and Kossol Roads, and unloaded her Seabees on that busy island 17 May 1945.

 

Victory was then in sight on battle-scarred Okinawa, and Grafton departed Samar 23 May to pick up a B-24 bomber service group in the Palaus. The group was delivered at Okinawa 24 June as the transport anchored off the Hagushi beaches. During the next 4 nights Graf-ton experienced heavy air attacks, assisting the defense of the assault fleet with her anti-aircraft battery. She loaded 1000 Japanese POW's 28 June and sailed for Saipan and Pearl Harbor, where she arrived 13 July and unloaded her prisoners. Three days later Grafton was on her way back to San Francisco with wounded, arriving there 22 July 1945.

 

After a short stay in the United States, Grafton got underway 7 August for Pearl Harbor. She arrived 6 days later with fresh troops for the Pacific fighting, then drawing to its close. With the surrender of Japan the transport embarked 5th Marine Division occupation forces and sailed for Japan 1 September 1945. She arrived off Sasebo 22 September after a stop at Saipan and unloaded both the Marines and their equipment. She then sailed for Lingayen Gulf, via Manila, to embark additional occupation troops. Arriving 3 October, the ship loaded troops and steamed toward Japan, passing Okinawa only two days after the great typhoon had devastated the island. She arrived Sasebo 15 October and disembarked her troops.

 

Grafton was assigned 22 October to the "Magic Carpet" fleet, and departed for Saipan to begin the gigantic task of returning the thousands of veterans to the United States. Arriving 27 October, she loaded 1,700 troops and sailed for San Francisco, arriving 11 November. Subsequently, the ship made two more voyages, both to Guam, and arrived Seattle with her final load of veterans 11 February 1946.

 

Designated for return to the Maritime Commission, Grafton sailed for Norfolk, via San Francisco and the Panama Canal, arriving in Hampton Roads 21 March 1946. Decommissioned 16 May, she was returned the next day and subsequently sold to American Mail Lines in 1947, where she serves as Java Mail