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Auburn II (AGC-10)

(AGC-10: dp. 12,750; 1. 459'2"; b. 63'; dr. 24'; s. 16.4 k.; cpl. 686; a. 2 5", 8 40mm., 14 20mm.; cl. Catoctin; T. C2-S-AJ1)


The first Auburn (Id. No. 3842) was probably named for the town of Auburn, Pa., situated on a tributary of the Little Schuykill River, Schuykill County, northwest of Chester, Pa., where the ship was built; the second Auburn (AGC-10) was named for Mount Auburn, northwest of Cambridge, Mass. The name itself is found in Oliver Goldsmith's long poem, "The Deserted Village" (1770).


Katkay was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1351) on 14 August 1943 at Wilmington, N.C., by the North Carolina Shipbuilding Corp.; launched on 19 October 1943; sponsored by Miss Julia Raney; acquired by the Navy on 31 January 1944; converted at Hoboken, N.J., by the Bethlehem Steel Co., for naval service as an amphibious force flagship; renamed Auburn and designated AGC-10; and placed in commission at Hoboken on 20 July 1944, Capt. Ralph Orsen Myers in command.

 After conducting shakedown training in the Chesapeake Bay, the command ship left Norfolk, Va., on 17 August and shaped a course for the Pacific. She transited the Panama Canal on the 23d and continued on to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where she arrived on 6 September. Three days later, Auburn became the flagship for Commander, Amphibious Group 2, Pacific Fleet. On 29 September, she entered the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard for an availability. During this time, major alterations were made to her flag bridge, additional evaporators were installed, and other minor repairs were completed.

In mid-November, the ship began a series of training exercises off Maui in preparation for the invasion of the Volcano Islands. Auburn left Hawaii on 27 January 1945, made port calls at Eniwetok and Saipan, and finally reached Tinian in early February. There she began final rehearsals for the assault on Iwo Jima. The actual landings on that island commenced on the 19th. During the operation, the ship coordinated and directed the movements of several hundred ships attached to Amphibious Group 2. She remained off Iwo Jima until 27 March; then headed for Pearl Harbor and a well earned period of rest and recreation for her crew.

 Auburn remained in Hawaiian waters until 15 May, when she got underway for Okinawa. The ship arrived there on the 31st and became the flagship for 5th Amphibious Forces. She controlled operations of ships off that bitterly contested island and escaped damage despite frequent Japanese air attacks. Okinawa was declared secure on 21 June, and Auburn got underway for Pearl Harbor on 1 July.

 Shortly after her arrival at Pearl Harbor, Auburn entered a drydock to undergo repairs. While the work was in progress, Japan capitulated on 15 August. Four days later, the ship left Hawaii and steamed toward the Philippines. After reaching Luzon, she remained in port at Manila for approximately one month. She departed that port on 14 September and set a course for Japan via Eniwetok and Buckner Bay, Okinawa. The ship dropped anchor at Sasebo, Japan, on 20 September.

Three days later, Auburn got underway for Nagasaki. While there, the vessel played an important part in establishing ship-to-shore communications and arranging facilities for occupation troops. On 25 September, the ship arrived at Wakayama and began assisting forces in the occupation of Osaka, Kyoto, and other large cities to the north. In early October, she moved to Yokohama. Her occupation duty ended on 12 October, when she left Japanese waters and headed back to the United States.

 Auburn reached Pearl Harbor on 21 October and remained there a few days before continuing on eastward. She entered San Francisco Bay on 31 October. The ship reversed her course on 5 November and headed back to Hawaii. She arrived at Pearl Harbor on 14 November and picked up several hundred military passengers for transportation to Norfolk, Va. The ship left Pearl Harbor that same day and set a course for the Panama Canal Zone. After retransiting the canal on the 29th, Auburn finally reached Norfolk on 7 December.

Three days after her arrival at Norfolk, Auburn became the flagship for Commander, Training Command, Atlantic Fleet. This assignment continued until January 1947, when the vessel was assigned to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She underwent inactivation preparations at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Va. Auburn was placed out of commission, in reserve, on 7 May 1947. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 July 1960, and she was transferred in November 1960 to the Maritime Administration for disposal. The ship was sold in 1961 and scrapped.


Published: Fri Jun 19 09:51:33 EDT 2015