(APA-40: dp. 7,845; 1. 492'; b. 69'6"; dr. 26'6"; s. 18 k.; cpl. 504; a. 2 5"; cl. Bayfield)
Counties in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.
Custer (AP-85) was launched as Sea Eagle 6 November 1942 by Ingalls Shipbuilding Co., Pascagoula, Miss., under a Maritime Commission contract; sponsored by Mrs. L. S. Border; acquired by the Navy 23 January 1943; and commissioned in full 18 July 1943, Captain R. E. Hansen, in command. Reclassified APA-40, 1 February 1943.
Departing Norfolk 11 December 1943, Custer arrived at Pearl Harbor 10 January 1944, carrying Seabees. She loaded troops at Honolulu and sortied 23 January as a part of TF 51 for the Marshalls operation. Held in reserve during the invasion of Kwajalein, she landed her troops on Eniwetok on 19 February and embarked casualties, with whom she returned to Pearl Harbor 6 March.
After sailing to embark men and cargo at San Francisco Custer joined in amphibious training exercises in the Hawaiians, and arrived at Kwajalein 9 June. She put to sea 2 days later for the assaults on Saipan and later on Guam, transporting troops and evacuating casualties to Eniwetok until her return to Pearl Harbor 7 August.
Custer sailed from Pearl Harbor 15 September 1944 by way of Eniwetok and Manus for the invasion landings on Leyte of 20 and 21 October. Safely out of Leyte Gulf before the great battle for its possession, she loaded reinforcements at Humboldt Bay, New Guinea, from 26 October to 14 November, then landed them on Leyte 18 November. After replenishing at Manus and training at Huon Gulf, N.G., Custer sailed on 31 December for the invasion landings at Lingayen Gulf of 9 to 12 January 1945. She operated in the Philippines, participating in the unopposed landings at La Paz, Zambales, on 29 January and acting as mother ship for landing craft and coordinating cargo activities at Tarraguna, from 13 to 20 February.
Custer sailed from Leyte Gulf 27 March 1945 for the invasion of Okinawa. From 1 to 6 April she landed troops and cargo and fought off air attacks during the initial landings, then sailed for a stateside overhaul. Departing San Diego 5 August, she embarked troops at Pearl Harbor for the occupation of Japan, landing them at Sasebo. She sailed to transport troops from Manila to Sasebo, then embarked homeward bound servicemen for San Pedro, Calif., arriving 21 November. Custer was decommissioned 24 May 1946 and transferred to the Maritime Commission for disposal 11 September 1946.
Custer received five battle stars for World War II service.