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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Ulysses

 

A character in Greek mythology and the protagonist of Homer's epic poem, the Odyssey, which tells of his arduous voyage back to Ithaca, his home, after the Trojan War.

 

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(Panama Collier No. 1: dp. 19,585; 1. 536'; b. 65'; dr. 28'1"; dph. 39'6"; cl. Ulysses)

 

Ulysses (Panama Collier No. 1)—a steel-hulled screw steamer designed by the Navy and constructed at Sparrows Point, Md., by the Maryland Steel Co. under naval supervision—was launched on 12 December 1914 and, on 17 April 1915, was delivered at the Norfolk Navy Yard to the Panama Canal Co.

 

Ulysses shuttled between Hampton Roads and the Canal Zone, carrying coal to Cristobal, into 1917. During World War I, the ship received a main battery of one 5-inch gun and a 3-incher and a Navy armed guard crew to man them while the ship continued to discharge her longstanding duties. The guns were apparently removed shortly after the armistice ended hostilities. Throughout the war, Ulysses belonged to the Panama Canal Co. and operated under the control of the Panama Canal Railroad Co. She continued in this status after peace returned until 1929, the last year in which her name appeared on shipping registers.

 

(ARB-9: dp. 4,100 (lim.); 1. 328'0"; b. 50'; dr. 11'2"; s. 11.6 k. (tl.); cpl. 286; a. 8 20mm.; cl. Aristaeus)

 

Originally slated for construction as LST-967 but redesignated ARB-9 on 14 April 1944 and named Ulysses on 28 April 1944, Ulysses was laid down on 2 November 1944 at Hingham, Mass., by the Bethlehem-Hingham Shipyard; launched on 2 December 1944; and commissioned on 27 December 1944. After proceeding to Baltimore, she was decommissioned on 9 January 1945; converted to a battle damage repair ship by the Maryland Drydock Co.; and recommissioned on 20 April 1945, Lt. James L. Johnstone, USNR, in command.

 

In May, the new battle damage repair ship conducted shakedown exercises in Chesapeake Bay; then, on the 22d, she departed Norfolk in company with Patroclus (ARL-19). She steamed via the Panama Canal and San Pedro and arrived at San Francisco on the morning of 1 June. There, she loaded stores and pontoons before getting underway from San Francisco Bay on the 28th.

 

After Ulysses had been at sea for only six hours, the bolts, plates, and turnbuckles holding the pontoons in place began to show signs of bending under the stress of the ocean voyage; and the ship was ordered back to San Francisco for additional work on the pontoon mounts. At noon on 6 July, she again got underway and set her course, via Pearl Harbor and Eniwetok, for the Marianas. She arrived at Saipan on 6 August—just over a week before Japan capitulated— and reported to Commander, Service Division 103.

 

During the remainder of 1945, she carried out repair assignments while based in turn at Saipan and at Okinawa. At Buckner Bay on 9 and 10 October 1945, she weathered a devastating typhoon during which she collided three times with LST-717. The repair ship lost three anchors in attempting to hold her position in the anchorage during the height of the storm and emerged from the ordeal with a six-foot hole in one side.

 

In January 1946, Ulysses shifted operations to Shanghai; then, in March, she set her course for the United States. After transiting the Panama Canal and unloading ammunition at Charleston in mid-May, she proceeded to Jacksonville for preservation work. On 3 September, she reported to the 16th Fleet; and, on 28 February 1947, she was decommissioned and joined the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Green Cove Springs, Fla. She remained there until 1961 when her name was struck from the Navy list.