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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Majaba

 

An island of the Philippines.

 

(AG‑43: dp. 5,070; l. 300'; b. 44'1"; dr. 17'11"; 9. 12 k.; a. .13")

 

Majaba (AG‑43) was built as SS Meriden by Albina Engine & Machine Works, Portland, Oreg., in 1919; acquired by the Navy under charter as SS El Capitan from her owner, E. K. Wood Lumber Co., of San Francisco, Calif., 23 April 1942; renamed Majaba and commissioned the same day.

 

Majaba completed conversion to a miscellaneous auxiliary 14 May and subsequently steamed to the Hawaiian Islands for cargo runs to islands of Polynesia and the South Pacific. Departing Honolulu 24 June, she operated during the next several months out of Honolulu and completed supply missions to Palmyra Island, Christmas Island, and Canton Island. Thence, she reached Efate, New Hebrides, to bolster the vital ocean supply line to American forces engaged in the bitter struggle for control of Guadalcanal.

 

Majaba departed the New Hebrides 26 October and steamed to meet two supply convoys bound for the Solomons. However, heavy weather prevented the rendezvous, and she returned to Espiritu Santo 29 October. Later that day she sailed once again for Guadalcanal where she arrived 2 November. Screened by Southard (DMS‑10), she crossed Ironbottom Sound and unloaded cargo at Tulagi that same day.

 

Despite the menace of powerful Japanese naval forces, Majaba shuttled cargo between Tulagi and Guadalcanal during the next few days. She arrived off Lunga Point, Guadalcanal, early 7 November; and, while her escort, Woodworth (DD‑460), patrolled for enemy submarines off Lunga Point, she began final unloading operations prior to her planned departure for Espiritu Santo. Shortly before 0930, lookouts in Lansdowne (DD‑486), anchored near Majaba, spotted a submarine periscope followed by two torpedo wakes. One torpedo, which apparently passed under Lansdowne, hit the beach but failed to explode. The other curved toward Majaba and exploded against her starboard side amidships, destroying her engineroom and boilers. She settled and listed slightly but did not sink. While Lansdowne and Woodworth searched for the enemy sub, Bobolink (AT‑131) went to Majaba’s aid. The tug towed the disabled ship east along the coast of Guadalcanal and beached her that afternoon off the month of the Tenaru River.

 

On 8 January 1948 Navajo (AT‑64) and Bobolink freed Majaba from her beached position and towed her to Tulagi. Reclassified IX‑102 and placed in an inservice status on 1 July 1943, she remained at Florida Island, Solomons, and during the remainder of World War II served as a floating quarters and material storage ship.

 

Following the end of the war, Majaba was towed to the Philippines. She remained at San Pedro Bay, Leyte, until early in 1946 when she was towed to Subic Day, Luzon. There, she was placed out of service 14 March 1946 and delivered to WSA for return to her owner. Her name was struck from the Navy list 28 March 1946.

 

Majaba received one battle star for World War II service.