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Private Joseph F. Merrell


An Army name retained.


(AKV–4: dp. 15,200 (f.); l. 455’; b. 62’; dr. 29’; s. 17 k.; cpl. 55; Greenville Victory; T. VC2–S–AP3)


Private Joseph F. Merrell was laid down as Grange Victory (MCV hull 33) by the California Shipbuilding Corp., Los Angeles, Calif., 27 May 1944; launched 17 July 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Martin Durkin; and delivered to the Isthmian S. S. Co. for operation 25 August 1944.


Owned by the Maritime Commission and operated by the Isthmian S.S. Co., Grange Victory carried cargo in the Pacific during the remainder of World War II. Transferred to the Army Transportation Service after the war, she was renamed Private Joseph F. Merrell in 1947 and on I March 1950 was transferred, again, by the Maritime Administration to the Navy as T–AKV–4 and assigned to MSTS, Pacific. On 8 March 1950, Private Joseph F. Merrell departed Yokohama for San Francisco on her first transpacific run for MSTS. A roundtrip from the west coast to Japan and the Philippines preceded the outbreak of hostilities in Korea and her return to war-time cargo and plane ferry service. She arrived at Pusan for the first time 31 July and for the duration of the conflict supported units of the United Nations forces in Korea and United States forces in the Far East. Alternating runs to Japan, Okinawa and Korea with ones to the central and southwest Pacific during that period, she maintained a similar schedule until 1956 with few interruptions, supply runs to Indo-China in March and November 1953 and to the Aleutians in January 1955.


In July 1956 she transited the Panama Canal, delivered and received cargo in northern Europe, New York, Norfolk, and Davisville, R.I., and in November returned to the Pacific. On 22 January 1957 she arrived at McMurdo Sound to deliver her first cargo to the Antarctic and in May she resumed her transpacific schedule. Over the next year she frequently returned to the Atlantic to carry supplies and equipment to Europe and in September 1958 returned to Saigon, after which she called at ports on the Indian Ocean, thence to Europe and back via the Suez Canal.


Redesignated AK–225 in May 1959, Private Joseph F. Merrell returned to the Antarctic during operations Deep Freeze ‘62, ‘63, ‘64, and ‘65 to support the men conducting experiments and investigations on that polar continent. In 1965 she resumed transpacific runs and into 1970 has been employed in carrying cargo, including Coast Guard patrol boats for “Market-Time” use, across the sea lanes to South Viet Nam.