USS Antaeus (AS-21, later AG-67), 1941-1945.
Later USS Rescue (AH-18), 1945-1946.
Originally, and later, S.S. Saint John (American Passenger Liner, 1932)



USS Antaeus, a 5,975-ton submarine tender, was built as the commercial passenger steamer Saint John at Newport News, Va., in 1932, acquired by the Navy in April 1941, and commissioned in May 1941 during conversion. As a submarine tender she operated primarily in the Caribbean, participating in training exercises and supporting U.S. submarine operating there. In September 1942 she began to perform duties as a troop transport operating along the East Coast between the Caribbean and Newfoundland, and in September 1943 her classification was changed to AG-67 to reflect these revised duties.

In December 1944 Antaeus began conversion to a hospital ship, and in January 1945 she was renamed Rescue and reclassified AH-18. She completed conversion in March and arrived off Okinawa in June 1945. She embarked wounded personnel there during nearly constant Japanese air attacks and delivered them to Guam. In July she supported carrier groups conducting strikes against Japan by receiving casualties by highline transfer while underway. In August she accompanied the fleet into Tokyo Bay and began helping in the recovery of Allied prisoners of war.

Rescue departed Japan in September 1945 and, after a stop at Guam, returned to San Francisco, California. She was decommissioned and transferred to the Maritime Commission in June 1946 and was stricken from the Navy Register in August. The ship returned to mercantile service later in 1946 as S.S. Saint John and was sold for scrapping in 1958.

This page features all the views we have related to USS Antaeus (AS-21 and AG-67), USS Rescue (AH-18) and S.S. Saint John.


Click photograph for a larger image

Photo #: NH 98784

SS Saint John


The luxury liner Saint John before her conversion to USS Antaeus (AS-21).
On this retouched copy of the original image, printed as a souvenir of the Navy ship, the owner's house flag painted on the stack was deleted. This flag was a swallowtail design featuring the letter "E" for the Eastern Steamship Co.

NHHC Collection

Online Image: 68KB; 740 x 570

 
Photo #: 19-N-24324

USS Antaeus
(AS-21)

Photographed by the Hughes Co., Baltimore, Md., on 30 June 1941 upon completion of her conversion to a submarine tender.
Her original armament was one 4"/50 aft and two 3"/23 forward. Note the three-tone graded camouflage in use at that time.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

Online Image: 66KB; 740 x 600

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 
Photo #: 19-N-24325

USS Antaeus
(AS-21)

Photographed by the Hughes Co., Baltimore, Md., on 30 June 1941 upon completion of her conversion to a submarine tender.
Her original armament was one 4"/50 aft and two 3"/23 forward. Note the three-tone graded camouflage in use at that time.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

Online Image: 70KB; 740 x 605

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 
Photo #: 19-N-24326

USS Antaeus
(AS-21)

Photographed by the Hughes Co., Baltimore, Md., on 30 June 1941 upon completion of her conversion to a submarine tender.
Her original armament was one 4"/50 aft and two 3"/23 forward. Note the three-tone graded camouflage in use at that time.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

Online Image: 58KB; 740 x 600

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 
Photo #: NH 92284

USS Antaeus
(AS-21)

At the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 25 June 1943.
During this overhaul her armament was upgraded to one 4"/50 gun and two 3"/50 guns aft, visible here, and two more 3"/50 guns forward.
USS Phoenix (CL-46) is in drydock in the distance at the left, with a 6"/47 gun turret on the pier nearby.

Courtesy of Frank Jankowski, 1981.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the U.S. Naval Historical Center.

Online Image: 91KB; 590 x 765

 
Photo #: NH 96628

USS Antaeus
(AS-21)

Underway off the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 25 June 1943, after overhaul.
During this overhaul her armament was upgraded to one 4"/50 gun and two 3"/50 guns aft and two 3"/50 guns forward, visible here.

NHHC Collection

Online Image: 56KB; 740 x 615

 
Photo #: NH 84624

USS Antaeus
(AG-67)

Photographed on 27 November 1944.
In around January 1944 her armament was reduced to one 4"/50 gun aft and two 3"/50 guns, probably forward. The numerous liferafts reflect her primary function as an East Coast troop transport.

Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1976.

NHHC Collection

Online Image: 96KB; 740 x 475

 
Photo #: 80-G-439636

USS Rescue
(AH-18)

Underway on 2 March 1945.
She carries the standard wartime hospital ship markings of a small red cross amidships with a long stripe.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Online Image: 101KB; 740 x 615

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 
Photo #: NH 98756

USS Rescue
(AH-18)

In San Francisco Bay, California, in late 1945 or early 1946.

Donation of Boatswain's Mate First Class Robert G. Tippins, USN (Retired), 2003.

NHHC Collection

Online Image: 69KB; 740 x 545

 
Photo #: NH 77384

USS Rescue
(AH-18)

Photographed off San Francisco, California, on 2 March 1946.
She carries the postwar hospital ship markings of three large red crosses connected by a stripe.

Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1973.

NHHC Collection

Online Image: 94KB; 740 x 605

 


In addition to the images presented above, the National Archives may have other images of USS Antaeus (AS-21). The following list features some of those images:

The images listed below are NOT in the Naval History & Heritage Command's collections.
They are not available using the procedures described in our page "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions".


  • Photo #: 80-G-456520
    S.S. Saint John, circa early 1941, before her conversion to USS Antaeus (AS-21).
    An un-retouched version of Photo # NH 98784, showing the shipping line's (Eastern Steamship Co.) house flag painted on the stack.

  • Photo #: 80-G-28456
    USS Antaeus (AS-21) underway off Norfolk, Virginia, (position 37 02N, 75 10') on course 270, 17 February 1943. Photographed from a blimp of squadron ZP-14, based at Naval Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
    Port broadside (somewhat off the stern) aerial view. The ship is painted in Measure 12 (Modified) pattern camouflage.

  • Photo #: 80-G-76580
    USS Antaeus (AS-21) underway off Norfolk, Virginia, (position 37 06', 74 20') on course 040, 5 July 1943. Photographed from a blimp of squadron ZP-14, based at Naval Air Station Weeksville, North Carolina.
    Starboard quarter (rather toward the broadside) aerial view. The ship is painted in an overall dark grey (presumably Camouflage Measure 21).


    Reproductions of these images should be available through the National Archives


  • For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions





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