A place of refuge.
(AH-12: dp. 11,141; l. 520'; b. 71'6" ; dr. 24'; s. 18 k.; cpl. 564; cl. Haven; T. C4-S-B2)
Haven (AH-12), formerly Marine Hawk, was launched under Maritime Commission contract by Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Corp., Chester, Pa., 24 June 1944; sponsored by Mrs. E. Lang; acquired and placed in service 15-19 June 1944 for transportation to her conversion yard, Todd-Erie Shipyard, Brooklyn. Upon completion of her conversion to Navy use, she commissioned 5 May 1945, Captain T. T. Patterson in command.
Following shakedown training, the hospital ship sailed 14 June via the Panama Canal for the Pacific Theater, where the war was reaching its climax. Reaching Pearl Harbor 6 July the ship brought patients on board for return to San Francisco. After returning to Hawaii 11 August, just prior to the Japanese surrender, Haven sailed to Okinawa and Nagasaki. She arrived off the destroyed Japanese city 11 September and brought on board a group of allied exprisoners of war, some of them suffering from the effects of the atomic blast. During the remainder of 1945 the ship was engaged in transporting patients from Guam, Saipan, and Pearl Harbor to San Francisco, arriving after her second long voyage 31 January 1946.
At San Francisco Haven took on radiological equipment and scientific researchers in preparation for the forthcoming atomic tests in the Pacific, Operation Crossroads. She sailed 29 May for Pearl Harbor and arrived Bikini Atoll 12 June 1946, operating temporarily as APH-112. The ship remained in the test area supervising the medical aspects of the experiments throughout the operation, and arrived Kwajalein 26 August to assist in the inspection of the test ships.
Haven departed 10 October for Pearl Harbor and the United States, and upon her arrival and decontamination was assigned once again to transport troops from the Pacific outposts to California as AH-12. This important duty occupied her until February 1947, when she reported to San Diego and decommissioned 1 July. Haven entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet, San Diego group.
With the outbreak of the Korean War, hospital ships were desperately needed. Following the sinking of sister ship Benevolence off fog-bound San Francisco in August 1950, Haven was taken out of reserve and commissioned 15 September 1950. She sailed 25 September via Pearl Harbor for Inchon, Korea, site of one of the most audacious and skillful amphibious operations in history. The hospital ship remained off Inchon caring for casualties until 6 January 1951, when the attacking Chinese Communists forced her to move further south. She steamed via Pusan to Sasebo, Japan.
Haven returned to Pusan- 5 February to care for battle casualties, and after another voyage to Inchon remained at Pusan until she sailed for the United States arriving San Francisco 30 October 1951. Eager to get back into action, however, she began her second tour of Korean duty 7 January 1952. She operated off Inchon and Pusan during the months that followed, receiving many of her patients by helicopter directly from the front lines. Haven sailed again for the United States 16 September 1952, and, after the installation of a new flight deck to facilitate helicopter evacuation of patients, once more steamed out of San Diego 24 January 1953. She returned to her regular station in Inchon harbor where during the next 7 months she treated almost 3,000 patients.
The veteran hospital ship sailed for the United States 20 August 1953, and, after her arrival at San Francisco 3 September, operated off the coast of California. She began her fourth tour of duty in Korea 4 January 1954, arriving Inchon 7 February to provide regular medical care for troops. Haven also made occasional visits to Japan; and on 1 September with Korea in a state of uneasy truce, she was ordered to French Indochina, arriving Saigon 9 September. There she brought French troops on board as Viet Nam was partitioned and the French army withdrawn. Haven sailed to Oran and Marseille in October to disembark the soldiers, and completing her round-the-world voyage arrived Long Beach via the Panama Canal 1 November 1954.
Haven took part in fleet maneuvers and provided hospital services for sailors through 1955 and 1956 and decommissioned at Long Beach 30 June 1957. She was placed in an "In Reserve, In Service" status, and remained moored at Long Beach providing medical services to the Pacific Fleet until 1 March 1967 when she was struck from the Navy List. Haven was returned to the Maritime Administration 5 June 1967 and is at present berthed in the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, Calif.
Haven received nine battle stars for Korean War service.
USS Haven (AH-12) off Korea in 1952.