(AK-231: dp. 15,580 (lim.); l. 455'0"; b. 62'0"; dr. 29'2" (lim.); s. 15.5 k.; cpl. 99; a. 1 5", 1 3", 8 20mm.; cl. Boulder Victory; T. VC2-S-AP2)
Bedford Victory (AK-231) was laid down on 20 July 1944 at Richmond, Calif., by the Permanente Metals Corp. under a Maritime Commission contract (MCV hull 540); launched on 30 September 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Raymond A. Kremp; acquired by the Navy on Armistice Day 1944; and commissioned that same day, Lt. Comdr. Dudley A. Durrant, USNR, in command.
The Navy acquired Bedford Victory and several of her sisters in response to an urgent need for additional ammunition carriers to keep the greatly expanded Pacific Fleet supplied during the final surge against Japan. Necessity, therefore, obviated major conversion efforts and kept her fitting out and shakedown training periods unavoidably brief. She completed her shakedown cruise on 27 November and began taking on a cargo of ammunition at Port Chicago, Calif. The ship stood out of San Francisco Bay on 15 December and, after stops at Pearl Harbor, Eniwetok Atoll, and Saipan, arrived at Ulithi on 16 January 1945. There, Bedford Victory became a unit of Service Squadron (ServRon) 10. Over the next four weeks, her crew worked feverishly rearming fleet units as they pulled into the anchorage for provisions, fuel, and ammunition. In February, the ship began visiting other ports of call, rearming warships at Leyte Gulf, Guam, and Saipan in addition to Ulithi.
Late in April, Bedford Victory joined a convoy of oilers bound for the Ryukyus where the last campaign of World War II had already begun. On the 27th, she and her consorts became elements of Task Group (TG) 50.8, the mobile replenishment group supporting the 5th Fleet. For almost a month, she steamed in a holding area a day’s voyage to the east of Okinawa rearming various units of the 5th Fleet. At the end of the third week in May, she and the ammunition ship Akutan (AE 13) parted company with TG 50.8 and set course for Kerama Retto, the small group of islands just west of the southern end of Okinawa. The two ships entered the fleet anchorage on 21 May and began two weeks of ammunition distribution there. Enemy air attacks frequently punctuated her activities, but Bedford Victory emerged undamaged from Kerama Retto on 6 June. She steamed in convoy via Saipan and Ulithi to Leyte Gulf. She remained there through the end of the war and for about two months thereafter. Early in November, the ship embarked upon the long voyage home, and she arrived in Seattle, Wash., on the 17th. Bedford Victory remained at Seattle until the end of the first week in February 1946. At that time, she moved south to San Francisco, Calif., where she was decommissioned on 29 March 1S46. She was returned to the Maritime Commission that same day. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 28 August 1946.
Bedford Victory earned one battle star for her World War II service.
Raymond A. Mann
23 February 2006