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Asterion II (AF-63)

(AF-63: dp. 12,130 (f.); 1. 455'2"; b. 62'; dr. 28'6"; s. 17 k.; cpl. 56; cl. Asterion; T. VC2-S-AP3)


A star in the constellation Canum Ven.


The second Asterion (AF-63) was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract (MCV hull 41) on 10 June 1944 at Los Angeles by the California Shipbuilding Corp., as Arcadia Victory. Launched on 27 July 1944 and sponsored by Mrs. James T. Wishart, Arcadia Victory was delivered to her operators,the American President Lines, on 3 September 1944. She operated under that shipping line's flag until laid up late in 1952.

Removed from the National Defense Reserve Fleet berthing area at Suisun Bay, Calif., on 7 November 1961, Arcadia Victory was acquired by the Navy from the Maritime Commission on 12 November 1961. Renamed Asterion and classified as a store ship, AF-63, on 4 December 1961, the ship was taken to the Willamette Iron and Steel Co. of Portland, Ore., where she underwent conversion to a refrigerated store ship.

Placed in service with the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) (later Military Sealift Command, MSC) in September 1962 as USNS Asterion (T-AF-63), the ship operated in the MSTS (later, MSC), Pacific Area, delivering fresh and frozen foods to Pacific and Far Eastern ports. Early in her career, in 1963, she suffered minor damage to her bow in a collision off San Francisco with the Japanese freighter Kokoku Maru. Carrying "everything from steak and spuds, to mobile cranes and dynamite," Asterion, the winner of the MSTS "Smart Ship Award" in 1967, operated in the Pacific for the next decade; her ports of call ranged from Settahip, Thailand, and Saigon, South Vietnam, to Seattle, San Francisco, and Yokohama. As American involvement in the Vietnam War grew, Asterion's itinerary included the ports of Qui Nhon, Cam Ranh Bay, and Danang.

Asterion arrived at Yokohama on 8 June 1973 from her last voyage as a "reefer ship," and her name was struck from the Navy list on 15 June 1973. Transferred, at Yokohama, to the Maritime Administration for disposal, she was sold to N. W. Kennedy, Ltd., of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on 31 August 1973.

Published: Fri Jun 19 08:21:45 EDT 2015