Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Consolation (AH-15)

1945-1974

(AH-15: displacement 11,141; length 520'; beam 71'6": draft 24'; speed 18 knots; complement 564; class Haven; type C4-S-B2)

Marine Walrus was laid down on 24 September 1943 at Chester, Pa., by the Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.; launched on 1 August 1944,  under a Maritime Commission contract (M.C. Hull 746); sponsored by Mrs. H. C. Wilson; acquired by the Navy on 30 August 1944; renamed Consolation and designated as a hospital ship, AH-15; converted at Bethlehem Steel Co., Hoboken, N.J.; and commissioned on 22 May 1945, Cmdr. P. S. Tambling in command.

Sailing from the east coast on 14 July 1945, Consolation arrived at Wakayama, Honshu, on 11 September to join with Sanctuary (AH-16) in setting up a shore screening station and field hospital to receive men of Allied forces who had been prisoners of war in Japan. By 15 September she had embarked 1,062 men and three days later cleared for Okinawa where her patients were debarked for transfer to the U.S.. Consolation returned to Wakayama to act as station hospital for the Fifth Fleet. During 13 to 24 October she was at Okinawa to treat the casualties of a vicious typhoon, then sailed to Nagoya where she served as station hospital for the Fifth and Sixth Fleets during the occupation of that area from 26 October to 3 November. Arriving in San Francisco on 23 November, Consolation underwent a brief overhaul then operated from 6 December 1945 to 3 February 1946 between Pearl Harbor and San Francisco transporting sailors and patients.

Consolation arrived at Norfolk, Va., on 3 March 1946. She operated in the Caribbean and had temporary duty with the Naval Transportation Service transferring dependents from the Canal Zone to New York from 25 March to 21 October 1946, and then remained in commission, although inactive, at Hampton Roads with occasional trips during fleet exercises until the outbreak of the Korean War.

Departing Norfolk on 14 July 1950 Consolation arrived at Pusan, Korea, on 16 August to care for the wounded, both military and civilian, of the Allied forces. She took part in the Inchon, Wonsan, and Hungnam operations and provided medical assistance for the military forces of Korea, aiding in the establishment of Korean hospitals and medical installations. On 24 May 1951 she sailed for San Diego, arriving on 6 June. She was overhauled and fitted with a helicopter landing platform aft.

Clearing San Diego on 13 September 1951 Consolation arrived at Pusan on 6 October. On 18 December she began Operation Helicopter, the first use of helicopters to evacuate casualties directly from a battlefield to a hospital ship. She remained off Korea until the truce, except for periods at San Diego from 6 July to 8 September 1952 and from 23 June to 5 October 1953, then continued to care for the United Nations troops remaining in Korea and Korean civilians until 6 April 1954. Arriving in San Francisco on 23 April, she remained only through 10 August when she sailed to Tourane Bay, French Indo-China, to participate in the Passage to Freedom operation, the evacuation of North Vietnamese nationals who wished to emigrate to South Vietnam.

Consolation remained in the Far East providing medical attention to United Nations troops in Korea until 12 March 1955 when she sailed from Yokosuka for San Francisco, arriving on 30 March. She was placed out of commission in reserve at San Francisco on 30 December 1955.

On 16 March 1960, Consolation was chartered to the People to People Health Foundation. Renamed Hope, she sailed later in 1960 on her first cruise to bring modern medical treatment and training to underdeveloped areas of the world. Her operating agent was American President Lines.

The Navy struck the vessel from the Naval Vessel Register on 15 September 1974 and  permanently transferred her to the Maritime Commission on 22 January 1975. Andy Internatinal, Inc., acquired her the sane day [22 January 1975] for scrap. 

Consolation received 10 battle stars for Korean war service.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

31 March 2020 

Published: Tue Mar 31 13:49:49 EDT 2020