(AF-22: dp.- 11,875; 1. 446'10"; b. 60'3"; dr. 26"; s.- 18.5 k.; cpl. 328; a. 1 5", 3 3", 12 20mm.)
An airy and playful spirit who served Prospero, a wizard and the deposed Duke of Milan, who is the leading character in Shakespeare's play, The Tempest. As he carries out the sorcerer's commands, Ariel finds great fun in making sport of humans and in playing pranks upon Caliban, Prospero's deformed, sluggish, ill-humored, and treacherous slave
Jamaica was built in 1933 at Newport News, Va., by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; owned by the United Fruit Co.; operated in that company's "Great White Fleet" as a passenger liner until leased by the Navy on 24 March 1942; converted for naval service as a store ship by Todd's Galveston, Tex., shipyard; renamed Ariel and designated AF-22; and placed in commission at Galveston on 14 May 1942, Capt. E. P. Hylant in command.
On 25 May, the new store ship got underway for Norfolk, Va. Upon arriving there, she assumed duty with Service Squadron 7, Service Force, Atlantic Fleet, During the next one and one-half years, Ariel operated along the east coast and made numerous voyages to ports in the Caribbean. Among her stops were Bermuda; Trinidad; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Havana and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This routine was interrupted by a cruise to Iceland in August 1943. The ship left New York City on the 15th and sailed to Argentia, Newfoundland, before continuing on to Iceland and reaching Reykjavik on 24 August. After unloading her holds, the ship retraced her course back to the east coast, arrived back at New York City on 7 September, and resumed her schedule of supply runs to the Caribbean.
On 4 January 1944, the store ship left Norfolk with a convoy bound for the Mediterranean. She touched at Algiers, Algeria, on 24 January, and soon sailed for Naples, Italy. The ship reached that Italian port later the same month and discharged supplies. She then sailed eastward and paused at Oran, Algeria, in early February before sailing back to the United States. The ship arrived at New York City on 13 February.
Ariel set sail for the Caribbean on 20 February and made port calls at St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, to unload supplies. The ship then returned to New York. In late March, she commenced another voyage to Iceland and arrived back at New York on 10 April. After a few weeks of upkeep, Ariel sailed for the United Kingdom. Upon her arrival there, the vessel provided food and supplies to ships preparing for the cross-channel invasion of Normandy. She operated from the ports of Clyde, Scotland; Belfast, Northern Ireland; and Plymouth and Portland, England. The store ship left England on D day, 6 June, and sailed back to the United States.
Ariel reached New York on 16 June. After a fortnight of leave and upkeep, the vessel cleared that port and sailed to Norfolk. On 1 July, she set out across the Atlantic on another resupply trip to Mediterranean ports. The vessel unloaded stores and equipment at Oran and Naples before reversing her course and steaming back to the United States. She made a stop in the Azores before finally putting in at New York on 3 August.
After one week in port, Ariel shaped a course to the Caribbean and discharged her cargo at Guantanamo Bay and Trinidad before returning home. Another round-trip from New York to Bermuda came in September. The ship sailed from Norfolk on 20 September bound for the Mediterranean. She once again moored at Oran and Naples to reprovision Allied forces operating ashore. The ship completed her unloading, sailed back to New York, and arrived there on 23 October. She remained long enough to replenish her supplies before getting underway for San Juan and Guantanamo Bay. In early November, the vessel returned to Norfolk for much needed upkeep. She resumed operations on 10 December when she set a course for the now familiar ports of Oran and Naples. After discharging her cargo, Ariel sailed back to the east coast and reached Norfolk on 6 February 1945. Later that month, she made another round-trip voyage to Oran.
In March, Ariel left New York en route to San Juan. She sailed back to the east coast and put into Boston, Mass., on 12 April. From that port, the vessel made a run to Argentia and arrived back at Boston in late April to take on more cargo, then set sail for Bermuda.
The ship continued her supply runs to Caribbean ports from New York, Norfolk, and Boston through May 1946. On the 12th of that month, Ariel got underway from New York for a final voyage to Iceland. After a pause at Argentia, the vessel sailed on for Reykjavik. She reached Icelandic waters on 29 May and proceeded to unload her cargo. On 1 June, she set a course for New York, arrived there one week later, and entered the New York Naval Shipyard to prepare for inactivation. Ariel was decommissioned at New York on 21 June 1946 and was transferred to the War Shipping Administration that same day. She was ultimately returned to the United Fruit Co. The ship's name was struck from the Navy list on 3 July 1946. She was later converted for merchant service that same year.