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Pollux

 

The southern of two bright stars in the constellation Gemini, twin star of castor; the first Pollux was a former name retained

 

III

 

(AKS–4: displacement 13,910; length 459 feet 2 inches; beam 63 feet; draft 26 feet 5 inches; speed 17 knots; complement 199; armament 1 5-inch, 4 3-inch; class Castor).

 

The third Pollux (AKS–4) was laid down by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Kearney, N.J. as SS Nancy Lykes 2 October 1941; launched 5 February 1942; acquired by the Navy 19 March; transferred to the Robbins Dry Dock and Repair Co., Brooklyn, N.Y. for conversion; and commissioned 27 April 1942; Capt. E. J. Kidder in command.

 

After a shakedown cruise, Pollux operated as a unit of the Service Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. She supplied forces afloat and Allied bases at Guantanamo, Cuba; St. Thomas, Virgin Islands; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Trinidad and Jamaica, West Indies; Colon, Panama Canal Zone; Recife and Bahia, Brazil; and Bermuda. She operated out of the East Coast ports of New York, Bayonne, Baltimore and Norfolk.

 

Pollux sailed 24 August 1943 for duty in the Pacific, sailing independently from the Canal Zone to Sydney, Australia. During the next 15 months she supported the Eastern and Western New Guinea Campaigns, and the Admiralty Islands Campaign. During this period she made numerous trips replenishing her stores from Sydney and Brisbane, Australia; Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides; and Oakland, Calif.

 

Pollux then supported the Philippine Liberation Campaign. Operating out of New Guinea she ran a shuttle service between the islands servicing forces afloat and bases at Leyte Gulf; Mangarin Bay, Mindoro; Lingayen Gulf; Subic Bay, Tawitawi, Sulu Archipelago; Moratai; Parang, Mindanao; Taloma Bay, Davao Gulf; Zamboanga. Puerto Princessa, Palawan; Iloilo, Panay; Cebu City, Cebu. and Manila. On 18 February 1945 Pollux evacuated 124 repatriates from Lingayen Gulf. These men were the first POW’s to be freed by our troops in the Manila area. During World War II Pollux steamed 136,152 miles, generally on unescorted supply lines. Although she received no battle stars, her services permitted our fleet to operate far in advance of normal bases.

 

After World War II she operated in the Pacific with Service Squadron 1 earning the Navy Occupation Service Medal, 9 October to 12 November 1945; participating in the atomic tests at Bikini Atoll; and earning the China Service Medal for periods from 29 March 1947 to 6 August 1949.

 

Pollux was placed in commission in reserve 3 April 1950, but recommissioned 5 August 1950. She served in Korea during periods from 13 October 1950 to 19 July 1953. From July 1953 through 1957 her operations continued between the West Coast of the United States and ports of the Far East, including Japan, Korea, and the Philippines.

 

After an extensive overhaul and modernization in 1958, Pollux was assigned the homeport of Yokosuka, Japan, with Service Group 3, never to see the U.S. again. With the outset of the Vietnam conflict, Pollux served almost continually in the South China Seas supplying the various task groups of the U.S. 7th Fleet.

 

Pollux decommissioned at Yokosuka, Japan, 31 December 1968. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register 1 January 1969.

 

Pollux received four battle stars for Korean War service.


15 June 2004