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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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New Hanover

 

A county in North Carolina.

 

(AKA–73: dp. 6,318; l. 459’; b. 63’; dr. 26’4”; s. 17 k.; cpl. 365; a. 1 5”, 8 40mm.; cl. Tolland; T. C2–S–AJ3)

 

New Hanover (AKA–73) was laid down 31 August 1944 by North Carolina Shipbuilding Co., Wilmington, N.C.; launched 31 October 1944; sponsored by Mrs. O. M. Creekmore; and commissioned 22 December 1944 at Charleston, S.C., Lt. Comdr. J. R. Haines, USNR, in command.

 

After training in Chesapeake Bay, New Hanover cleared Norfolk 24 January 1945 with cargo for the Pacific, sailing through the Panama Canal 1 February and reaching Pearl Harbor 19 February. Joining Amphibious Forces, Pacific Fleet, she began a round of cargo operations which took her to the Solomons, New Hebrides, and Ulithi, all in preparation for the assault on Okinawa, off which she arrived 10 April. During the next week of cargo operations, her crew went to General Quarters 30 times as Japanese air attacks harassed the invasion. She returned to Ulithi 23 April and began a series of passages with mail, cargo, and passengers to Guam, the Russells, Eniwetok, and Saipan, serving the bases essential to Pacific victory. She carried passengers to San Francisco in July, then continued cargo and passenger operations which took her to Pearl Harbor, Tinian, Saipan, the Philippines, and ultimately Japan, from which she returned to Pearl Harbor 27 November with passengers and a cargo composed largely of captured Japanese equipment. She sailed for the Canal Zone 29 November, bound for the East Coast. After service on the Atlantic coast she decommissioned at Norfolk 30 July 1946. Transferred to the Maritime Commission 31 July 1946, she was struck from the Naval Register 15 August 1946 and sold in early 1947 and renamed Alaus. Renamed Franklin Berwis in 1955, the ship was again renamed Santa Mercedes in 1957, and Greiea Ward in 1960. The ship serves under the latter name into 1970.