Named for a star.
(AF‑38: dp. 3,139; l. 338'6"; b. 50'; dr. 21'1"; s. 11.5 k.; cpl. 86; a. 1 3", 20mm.; cl. Adria)
Merapi (AF‑38) was laid down 11 August 1944 by Pennsylvania Shipyards Inc., Beaumont, Tex. under a Maritime contract; launched 4 October 1944; sponsored by Mrs. A. B. Matthews; transferred to the Navy 5 March and commissioned 21 March 1945, Lt. W. W. Woods in command.
Converted at Todd Galveston Dry Dock Co., Merapi hastened through shakedown and departed Mobile, Ala., 11 April for the Pacific war zone. Specializing in refrigerated stores, she sailed via Pearl Harbor to Kerama Retto, Okinawa where in the midst of numerous air alerts she unloaded 14 to 19 June. Having retired to Pearl Harbor for more supplies she got underway again 20 July and spent the final month of the war at Eniwetok Atoll disbursing cargo.
In the postwar period Merapi provided logistic support for U.S. occupation forces, initially using Auckland, New Zealand, as her supply base. Spending much of 1946 and part of 1948 on the China coast she remained active through the central and western Pacific until 1950. DurIng the Korean conflict this storeship operated with units of the 7th Fleet in Korean and Japanese waters. While employed as a support vessel, she saw action off the Pusan Perimeter, participated in the Wonsan and Inchon invasions, and assisted in the evacuation of troops from Hungnam.
A return to the United States in the latter half of 1953 preceded assignment to the mid‑Pacific logistic support group home ported at Pearl Harbor. Support of facilities at Kwajalain, Marshalls, Eniwetok, Carolines, and Midway was temporarily interrupted in September 1954. For 3 months Merapi provided food stocks to the ships engaged in the evacuation of civilians and troops from North Vietnam to Saigon in operation “Passage to Freedom.” Interruptions also occurred March to July 1956 as AF‑38 appeared in support of the nuclear testing exercise, operation “Redwing,” and the following April as she sailed on a good will visit to Australia.
The ship departed 5 August 1958 for a brief 2 month WestPac tour before steaming back to the United States for her first appearance in over 4 years. Arriving Astoria, Oreg. 6 November inactivation began almost immediately. She decommissioned 16 January 1959 joining the Pacific Reserve Fleet, until struck from the Navy list 1 July 1960.
Merapi received one battle star for World War II service, five for the Korean conflict, and was twice awarded the Korean Presidential Unit Citation.