A former name retained.
(AP–104: dp. 10,210; l. 491’9”; b. 69’7”; dr. 26’6”; s. 18.4 k.; cpl. 512; a. 1 5”, 4 3”, 4 40mm.; T. C3–P&C)
President Monroe (AP–104), a troop transport, was the sixth of seven C3–P&C type vessels built for American President Lines around-the-world service just prior to the outbreak of World War II; was laid down 13 November 1939 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Newport News, Va.; launched 7 August 1940; sponsored by Mrs. Thomas C. Corcoran.
The new SS President Monroe was just clearing San Francisco Bay on her maiden voyage around the world when word was flashed to her Master to return, as Japan had just attacked Pearl Harbor. She and her six sisterships were immediately acquired by WSA on bareboat charter for outfitting for war service.
Transferred to the Navy 18 July 1943, President Monroe shifted to Pool, McGonigle & Jennings Co. yard, Portland, Oregon for alterations. Commissioned 20 August, Capt. G. C. Morrison in command, she departed Portland 24 August for the Bremerton Navy Yard for conversion and outfitting.
After brief shakedown, she commenced her first “pay” run 9 September on the Aleutian Service. Carrying replacement troops and cargo, she steamed for Kodiak, Dutch Harbor, and Adak, Alaska. She also embarked assault troops at Kiska, transported them to Pearl Harbor, and then returned to San Francisco to be outfitted with landing craft.
Departing the west coast 3 November, the transport joined forces that were marshalling at Pearl Harbor for the first move of the Central Pacific Drive—the Gilbert Islands invasion. She arrived Abemama Atoll on the morning of the 27th bringing the atoll’s garrison group cargo and personnel. She touched at Tarawa before sailing for Pearl Harbor with Tennessee (BB–43) and President Polk (AP–103).
She remained at Pearl Harbor until 23 January 1944, when she embarked a contingent of marines and steamed for Kwajalein Atoll. She next transported assault troops to Eniwetok, participating through 25 February in the successful landings on Engebi, Eniwetok, and Parry. Departing Roi-Namur, Kwajalein Atoll 29 February, she called at Funafuti, Ellice Islands, and then was routed to Guadalcanal.
Following a cruise to Milne Bay, Manus Island and New Caledonia, the transport engaged in logistics and practice landings for the assault on Guam. Between 21 and 26 July, she discharged troops and cargo off Guam; then steamed for Eniwetok to embark wounded before proceeding to San Pedro, Calif., arriving 22 August 1944. By 4 November she once again stood out from San Diego and ended the year operating between Guadalcanal, New Caledonia, and Port Purvis.
She joined the well-screened Task Group 77.9 en route Lingayen Gulf 2 January 1945, and unloaded troops and cargo in the San Fabian area between 11 and 13 January. Propulsion problems necessitated repairs at Leyte, after which she steamed in convoy for Humboldt Bay, New Guinea, thence to Ulithi.
There she was designated flagship for Transport Division “D” of Task Unit 12.6.1 and steamed for Iwo Jima, arriving 18 March. Embarking troops there, she steamed for Hawaii, en route to San Francisco.
Through the end of 1945 she made several runs to Pacific Island bases. With the end of hostilities she extended her cruises to Japan and participated in “Magic Carpet” operations. The transport entered Hunter’s Point Naval Drydock 12 January 1946, decommissioned, and was redelivered to WSA 30 January, returned to American President Lines 21 February, and struck from the Navy List 12 March.
President Monroe received five battle stars for World War II service.