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Florence Nightingale (AP-70)

(AP-70: dp. 7,980; l. 492'; b. 69'C"; dr. 24'; s. 18 k.; cpl. 396; a. 1 5", 4 3", cl. Elizabeth C. Stanton)

Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing, was born in Florence, Italy, 12 May 1820. Against the wishes of her family, she entered the profession of nursing, at that time not considered a possible occupation for a gently raised young lady. She organized nursing service in the field in the Crimean War, and throughout her life made notable humanitarian contributions to the advancement of both military and civilian hospital and public health services. Immortalized by Longfellow as the "Lady with the Lamp," Miss Nightingale died 13 August 1910.

Florence Nightingale (AP-70) was launched 28 August 1940 by Moore Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Oakland, Calif., as Mormacsun; sponsored by Miss Carlotta S. Chapman; and commissioned 17 September 1942, Captain E. D. Graves, Jr., in command.

Florence Nightingale sailed from Norfolk 23 October 1942 in the task force bound for the invasion of North Africa, and between 8 and 15 November lay off Port Lyautey, Morocco, landing troops and cargo. Returning to Norfolk 30 November, she made two voyages to Algeria, carrying reinforcements and cargo out, and prisoners of war back, returning to New York from the second, 11 March 1943. After brief overhaul and exercising in Chesapeake Bay, Florence Nightingale sailed from Norfolk 8 June with troops for the invasion of Sicily, landing them through hazardous surf conditions at Scoglitti from 10 to 12 July.

Returning to New York 3 August 1943, Florence Nightingale voyaged to Oran in September, and on 8 October sailed from New York for Belfast, North Ireland. She carried men from Glasgow, Scotland, to Iceland, before returning to Boston 17 November to load for the first of two transport voyages to the Firth of Clyde, Scotland, from New York. Laden with soldiers and nurses, she sailed from New York 27 February 1944 for Cardiff, where she landed her original passengers, then sailed to Belfast to embark soldiers for the Mediterranean. From 21 March, she carried troops among Mediterranean bases, and took part in landing operations in preparation for the invasion of southern France, for which she sortied from Naples 13 August. She landed her troops in the initial assault 15 August, and returned with casualties to Naples 3 days later. Until 25 October, when she sailed for home, Florence Nightingale brought reinforcements to the fighting in southern France, from Oran.

Overhauled at New York from 8 November 1944 to 18 December, Florence Nightingale loaded marines at Norfolk, and with them arrived at Pearl Harbor 10 January 1945. Here she debarked the marines and loaded soldiers and Army equipment for the Marianas. She sailed among these islands, transporting casual troops, mail, and cargo to Guam, made one cargo voyage to Ulithi, and returned to Pearl Harbor 22 March. On 7 April, again troop laden, she got underway for Okinawa, off which she lay to discharge reinforcements from 3 to 8 May, undergoing many air raids but suffering no damage.

The transport reached San Francisco from action waters 27 May 1945, and sailed 8 June to carry men of naval construction battalions and their equipment to Okinawa. She returned to Pearl Harbor 20 August to begin occupation transport duty, which found her calling at Eniwetok and Yokosuka before her return to Portland, Oreg., 15 November. Between 13 December and 16 February 1946, she again voyaged to the Far East, carrying occupation troops to Korea, and returning to Long Beach, Calif., with servicemen eligible for discharge. At Long Beach she loaded German prisoners of war, with whom she sailed for Liverpool, England, 26 February. Landing the homeward-bound Germans in England for further transfer, Florence Nightingale embarked troops at Le Havre for transportation to New York, where she docked 8 April 1946. The transport was decommissioned 1 May 1946 and transferred to the War Shipping Administration the same day.

Florence Nightingale received four battle stars for World War II service.

Published: Thu Dec 18 14:56:20 EST 2014