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Alkaid (AK-114)


A star in the constellation Ursa Major.

(AK-114: displacement 12,350; 1ength 441'6"; beam 56'11"; draft 24'6"; speed 12.8 knots; complement 198; armament 1 5-inch, 4 40 millimeter, 12 20 millimeter; class Crater, type EC2-S-C1)

William G. Sumner  was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract (M. C. E. Hull 1211) on 13 September 1943 at Jacksonville, Fla by the St. John's River Shipbuilding Co., Inc.; launched on 8 November 1943; sponsored by Mrs. W. R. McQuaid; renamed Alkaid (AK-114) on 13 November 1943; acquired by the Navy under a bareboat charter on 19 November 1943; converted for naval service by the Gibbs Gas Engine Co., Jacksonville, Fla.; and commissioned in Jacksonville on 27 March 1944, Lt. Cmdr. E. G. Gummer in command.

Following a period of shakedown training off the east coast, Alkaid sailed on 6 May 1944 for the Pacific, proceeding via Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the Panama Canal. On 14 June, the ship touched at Espiritu Santo and reported to Service Squadron 8 for duty. For the duration of her World War II service, Alkaid acted as an interisland transport. Some of the ports she visited included Noumea, New Caledonia; Guadalcanal; Tulagi; Suva, Fiji; Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand; Espiritu Santo and Efate, New Hebrides; Oro Bay, New Guinea; Iwo Jima; Guam; and Eniwetok.

On 15 May 1945, Alkaid sailed from Ulithi with a convoy bound for Okinawa. She arrived off Hagushi beach on the 21st and operated there through the end of the month.

Alkaid touched at Pearl Harbor in early August 1945. She was undergoing availability when she received word of the Japanese surrender. In September, the ship got underway for Japan. After making calls at Eniwetok, Saipan, and Iwo Jima, Alkaid dropped anchor at Yokosuka, Japan, on 4 October. For the next month and a halfs, the ship serviced the occupation forces in Japan.

On 16 November 1945, Alkaid left Japan with homeward-bound American troops embarked and reached San Francisco, Calif., on 6 January 1946. The ship was decommissioned there and returned to the Maritime Commission on 11 March 1946, and entered the Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, Calif., at 1:30 p.m. that day.  Alkaid was stricken from the Navy list on 28 March 1946.

Resuming the name William G. Sumner, the ship remained in reserve into the 1960s. Ultimately, she was sold to the National Metal & Steel Corp., on 31 March 1964 as a scrap hull, and was removed by the purchaser at 9:45 a.m. on 20 April 1964 to be broken up. 

Alkaid was awarded one battle star for her World War II service.

Published: Sun Dec 11 21:31:44 EST 2016