(AP-40: dp. 8,409; l. 498'; b. 56'6"; dr. 26'; s. 17 k.; cpl. 534; a. 1 5"; cl. Crescent City)
A popular nickname for New Orleans, La.
Crescent City (AP-40) was launched 17 February 1940 as Del Orleans by Bethlehem-Sparrows Point Shipyard, Inc., Sparrows Point, Md., under a Maritime Commission contract; sponsored by Mrs. M. L. Pedrick; acquired by the Navy 9 June 1941; converted at Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co., Mobile, Ala.; and commissioned 10 October 1941, Commander W. C. Calhoun in command. She was reclassified APA-21, 1 February 1943.
Departing Norfolk 15 December 1941 loaded with troops and equipment. Crescent City debarked her passengers in the Canal Zone, then sailed to San Diego to load Navy and Marine passengers for Pearl Harbor. She carried civilian evacuees back to San Diego, returning immediately with workers and equipment to rush repairs of the damaged naval base at Pearl Harbor. Assigned to transport men and equipment to set up the advanced base at Efate, New Hebrides, she voyaged on this mission until arriving at San Diego 22 April 1942 for a brief overhaul.
On 1 July 1942 Crescent City sailed from San Diego hound for the initial assault landings on Guadalcanal. Landing her troops 7 August under heavy air attack, she splashed at least four of the enemy planes. For 2 days she remained at anchor unloading the necessary Rupnlies to hold the beachhead, then returned to Espiritu Santo to unload material to set up a new forward base to supply the Guadalcanal operations. Sailing from Brisbane, Australia, and Wellington, New Zealand, to the advanced bases at Noumea and Espiritu Santo, then dodging enemy forces to deliver men and equipment to sway the balance toward victory on Guadalcanal was Crescent City's mission through the next few months. When the offensive began to swing north through the Solomons in early 1943, she continued her transport duty to the base established on hard-won Guadalcanal. On 13 August, while unloading, she aided in repelling an air attack in which John Penn (AP-23) was sunk.
On 28 October 1943 Crescent City sortied for the invasion of Bougainville, landing troops at Empress Augusta Bay under air attack 1 November. On the 13th, after helping repel a torpedo bomber attack, she landed support troops brought from Tulagi and Port Purvis. Continuing her inter-Solomons transport and resupply duty, she took part in the assault landings on Emirau Island on 11 April 1944 and reported to Guadalcanal 30 April to prepare for the Marianas operation.
Crescent City was held in reserve during the assaults on Kwajalein and Eniwetok, then landed her troops and embarked casualties at Guam from 21 to 25 July 1944. She returned to Guadalcanal 16 August for the staging of the Palau operation, taking part in the landings on Peleliu 15 September. Ten days later she arrived at Humboldt Bay, New Guinea and sailed on 16 October for the invasion of Leyte. After landing troops of the 6th Army at San Pedro Bay 22 October, she sailed before the outbreak of the Battle for Leyte Gulf. The transport brought reinforcements to Leyte from Hollandia, and arrived at Manus 20 November to embark passengers for the United States.
After overahul, Crescent City departed San Francisco 25 February 1945 and arrived at Pearl Harbor 4 March. Here she was converted to a temporary hospital evacuation ship, and 2 weeks later was underway for Kerama Retto, arriving 6 April. Receiving casualties from the beaches of Okinawa and from other ships, she transferred them to Hope (AH-7) for evacuation. Crescent City remained at Okinawa receiving casualties and transients until the end of the war.
Aiding in the redeployment of troops for the occupation of China, Crescent City lifted the 1st Marines to Taku between 30 September and 6 October 1945, and carried Chinese troops from Hong Kong to Chinwangtao and Tsingtao in November. Returning to Okinawa 1 December she embarked men eligible for discharge and sailed for Seattle, arriving 20 December.
Departing Seattle 23 January 1946 Crescent City arrived at Norfolk 14 February. She operated from New York and Norfolk on training duty in the Caribbean until 10 October 1947 when she sailed for the west coast. Arriving at San Francisco 1 November, Crescent City was placed out of commission in reserve 30 April 1948 and transferred to the Maritime Commission 3 September 1948.
Crescent City was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for her outstanding performance throughout World War II, and received 10 battle stars.