Sgt. Sylvester Antolak, Company B, 15th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division, was born at St. Clairsville, Ohio, and was killed in action near Cistern di Littoria, Italy. On 24 May 1944, the second day of the offensive to break out of the Anzio beachhead, Sgt. Antolak charged over 200 yards of flat, coverless terrain to destroy an enemy machinegun nest. Although wounded three times during his advance, he continued into the enemy's fire until he was able to open fire on the German position from close range, killing two and forcing the remaining ten to surrender. Following that, he reorganized his men and began leading them against another enemy strong point 100 yards away. He again moved out in front of his men to charge the position and clear a path for his squad. Again he became the focal point of enemy fire, and, three-quarters of the way to his objective, was killed. His squad continued on and overwhelmed the position. For his sacrifice, Sgt. Antolak was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
(AP-192: displacement 7,604 tons; length 455'; beam 62'; draft 29'; speed 16 knots; complement 112; troops 1,070; class Boulder Victory; T. VC-2-S-AP-2)
Sgt. Sylvester Antolak, a converted VC2-S-AP-2 type built under a Maritime Commission contract (MCV hull 830), was laid down as Stetson Victory on 3 May 1945 by the Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard, Inc., Baltimore, Md.; launched on 16 June 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Joe Hendricks; and delivered to the Maritime Commission's War Shipping Administration on 18 July 1945 for operation by the Isbrandtsen Co., Inc.
After operating under government contract for a year, Stetson Victory was returned to the War Shipping Administration in July 1946 and was transferred to the War Department for operation by the Army. Renamed Sgt. Sylvester Antolak on 31 October 1947, the ship carried Army passengers and cargo across the globe. On 2 December 1948, the troop transport left Yokohama, Japan, with over 1,000 officers and enlisted men of 317th Troop Carrier Wing (Heavy) embarked. After a 40-day voyage the ship arrived in Bremerhaven, Germany on January 9, 1949, delivering the personnel in support of the Berlin Airlift. The transport until was then returned to the Maritime Commission for berthing at Suisun Bay, Calif. in the National Defense Reserve Fleet. On 22 July 1950, shortly after the start of the Korean Conflict, she was activated by the Navy for operation by the Military Sea Transportation Service.
Following minor alterations, including the addition of limited medical spaces, USNS Sgt. Sylvester Antolak (T-AP-192) she sailed from San Francisco on 24 August to transport troops to Yokohama, Japan. She remained in the western Pacific, shuttling troops from Japan to the Philippines and to Korea, into June 1951; then returned to the United States to embark more soldiers for transportation to the Far East. She continued to carry American troops on trans-Pacific voyages and shuttle runs between Japanese ports and between Japan and Korea until April 1952. She then operated briefly along the east coast of the United States and in the Caribbean until June, when she retransitted the Panama Canal to resume operations in the Pacific. By the end of July, she had conducted a round-trip run to Bangkok out of Sasebo and was en route to the Aleutians, whence she returned to the west coast for inactivation.
Sgt. Sylvester Antolak arrived at Seattle on 10 August and was returned to the Maritime Administration on 17 September for berthing in the National Defense Reserve Fleet. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 6 November 1952. In December 1971, Sgt. Sylvester Antolak was sold for scrap by the Maritime Administration.
Minor corrections 18 July 2007