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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Orizaba

 

A former name retained.

 

(SP–1536: dp. 11,293; l. 443’3”; b. 60’; dr. 24’4” (mean); s. 16.5 k.; cpl. 323; trp. 2,928; a. 4 5”, 2 1–pdr.)

 

Orizaba, built in 1918 by Wm. Cramp & Sons Ship and Engine Building Co., Philadelphia, Pa., was requisitioned for Navy use from the New York and Cuba Mail Steamship Co., 11 April 1918, and commissioned with the designation SP–1536, 27 May 1918, Comdr. Richard D. White in command.

 

Assigned to the Atlantic Transport Service, Orizaba carried over 15,000 troops, in 6 convoy trips, to France before the end of World War I. In December, 1918, she was temporarily assigned to assist the French government in repatriating French, Belgian, and Italian prisoners of war. Detached from that duty 10 January 1919, she joined the Cruiser Transport Force at Brest and in 9 voyages returned over 31,700 troops to the United States. Completing that service the following summer, she decommissioned 4 September 1919 and was turned over to the Army for further transport service.

 

Later returned to the New York and Cuba Mail Steamship Co., she was re-acquired by the War Department in early 1941. After completing one trip to the Canal Zone, she was converted by the Bethlehem Steel Co. at New York; transferred to the Navy, 4 June 1941; and commissioned as Orizaba (AP–24), 15 June 1941.

 

After several months coastal operations, Orizaba, now armed with 2 5” and 4 3” guns, departed New York in April 1942 on the first transatlantic run of her second world war. Sailing via Iceland, she steamed to England, thence to Capetown, Recife, and Norfolk, whence she got underway for Bermuda and Puerto Rico. Returning to Norfolk in January 1943, she plied the eastern seaboard for a month, then took up transatlantic duties again. Until July she traversed the ocean to Oran, Algeria, carrying troops over and prisoners of war back to New York.

 

On 5 July she departed Oran in TF 81. The next day, she rendezvoused with TF 85 and on the 9th stood off Gela, Sicily, disembarking troops into landing craft. On the 11th, she sustained slight damage during an enemy air attack and on the 12th retired to Algeria with casualties and prisoners on board. She returned to Sicily at the end of the month to discharge troops and cargo at Palermo and then, on the night of 1 August, weighed anchor and stood out for home.

 

Arriving at New York 22 August 1943, she underwent overhaul, then took on runs to Brazil and the Caribbean. At the end of the year she departed the east coast, transited the Panama Canal, and sailed on to the Southwestern Pacific. After calls at Samoa, Noumea, Brisbane and Milne Bay, she returned to the west coast in March 1944, only to depart again for another Central Pacific run. Back at San Francisco in June, she underwent repairs; completed a run to the Marshalls and Marianas; and then sailed north to the Aleutians. Completing her northern run at Seattle, 1 December, she carried men and supplies to Hawaii, then returned to San Francisco, whence she sailed to New Guinea, the Philippines and Ulithi to add men and materiel to forces gathering to storm the last bastion of the Japanese Empire, Okinawa.

 

From Ulithi, Orizaba sailed east, transited the Panama Canal, and, as the battle for Okinawa raged, arrived at Tampa, Fla. Decommissioning 23 April, she underwent overhaul and on 16 July she was transferred to Brazil under the terms of Lend Lease. Transferred permanently, under the Military Assistance Program in June 1953, Orizaba was struck from the U. S. Navy List 20 July 1953. As Duque de Caxias (U–11), however, she continued to serve the Brazilian Navy as a transport and training ship until struck from their list in 1960.

 

Orizaba (AP–24) received 1 battle star for service in World War II.