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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Prometheus

 

in Greek mythology, a Titan and brother of Epimetheus and Atlas, who stole a spark from heaven and gave it as a gift of fire to newly-created mankind. To punish him for this act, Zeus (Jupiter) chained him to a rock in the Caucasus, where an eagle daily tore at his liver. Each night Prometheus regenerated his damaged liver, until finally he was delivered from his torment by Hercules.

 

II

 

(AR–3: dp. 8,940; l. 466’4”; b. 60’2”; dr. 19’6”; s. 16 k.; cpl. 737; a. 2 5”, 4 3”, 4 40mm.)

 

Prometheus (AR–3) was originally laid down as a collier 18 October 1907 at the Mare Island Navy Yard; launched 5 December 1908; and commissioned 15 January 1910 as Ontario (Fleet Collier No. 2).

 

Ontario served with a merchant complement until she decommissioned 7 April 1913 to undergo conversion to a repair ship. After conversion, she recommissioned 23 December 1914 as Prometheus (Repair Ship No. 2). After a cruise to Alaskan waters in 1915, she was assigned to duty with the Atlantic Fleet, 16 May 1916 operating out of Norfolk for Bermuda, remaining there until 29 January 1918. While at Bermuda she was ordered to join the Naval forces at Brest, France to provide repair services, and she did a commendable job until she sailed 16 January 1919 for New York.

 

Upon arrival at New York she was assigned to Battleship Force 1 for duty in conjunction with the upkeep of vessels engaged in overseas transportation of troops. She was classified as AR–3, 17 July 1920.

 

Prometheus sailed from New York I September 1920 with orders to tow Connecticut (BB–18), disabled at Cuba, to Philadelphia. For her performance in this assignment she was commended by the Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet. Prometheus made additional cruises to Cuba in 1921 and 1923 while operating with the Atlantic Fleet.

 

Prometheus transfered to the west coast early in 1923, arriving at San Pedro, Calif. 17 April. She operated along the Pacific coast as far north as Washington, until she decommissioned 4 October 1924 at Bremerton.

 

Prometheus recommissioned 15 May 1942 at the Bremerton Navy Yard and following shakedown, she sailed from San Francisco 9 August for Pearl Harbor, where she took in tow the drydock ARD–2 and proceeded to Noumea, New Caledonia. She rendered repair services from the largest warship, South Dakota (BB–57), to the smallest amphibious craft, which were beginning to figure so prominently in the island hopping campaign towards the Japanese home islands. Her only breaks, from a steady demand of hard work from her crew, came on infrequent trips to Sydney, Australia. Following the push westward across the Pacific, Prometheus moved in the Spring of 1944 to Tulagi, and after a month’s stay there, where she catered primarily to escort carriers, she went to Florida Island and then in September to Manus. She received orders 25 September to proceed to Kossol Passage, Palau Islands. Here, after a day’s hard work, her crew members would line the rails to watch the battle progress nearby and here too, she came under enemy fire for the first time.

 

Prometheus departed Kossol on 21 January 1945 and moved to the now famous Ulithi anchorage to help ready the Fleet for the Iwo Jima campaign and the Okinawa strikes. By 19 February she had moved again to San Pedro Bay, Leyte to groom ships for the take-over invasion of Okinawa. Though her main responsibility was to repair ships and craft of the Amphibious Force, she gained wide acclaim for the excellence of repairs and alterations made to Texas (BB–35) and Colorado (BB–45) while in the Philippines.

 

War’s end found the old repair ship at Guiuan, Samar in the process of commissioning the cargo ship Justin, formerly the SS Gus Darnell, which required bomb damage repair and alterations to fit her for Navy service during the occupation period ahead.

 

Prometheus continued her rigorous schedule, tending her flock so-to-speak, at Okinawa and Hong Kong, during the Asian occupation returning to San Francisco at the year’s end. At San Francisco she performed decommissioning work on vessels sent there for disposal until she, herself, decommissioned I July 1946. Prometheus was delivered to WSA and simultaneously to the Maritime Commission Reserve Fleet for lay up 16 July at Puget Sound, Wash. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register 31 July. By 26 August 1949 she had been completely stripped, and she was sold 29 August 1950 to Zeidell Shipwrecking Co., and subsequently scrapped.

 

Prometheus earned one battle star for Pacific service in World War II.