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General Alexander M. Patch

A former name retained. Alexander McCarrell Patch, Jr., born 23 November 1889 at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., graduated from the U.S. Military Academy 12 June 1913 and was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Infantry. Prior to World War I, he served in Texas and Arizona; and from June 1917 until May 1919 he joined the 18th Infantry in France participating in the Aisne-Marne, St. Mihel, and Meuse-Argonne Offensives. During the next 20 years he was stationed at various posts in the United States. Assigned to the 47th Infantry at Fort Bragg, N.C., in August 1940, he was promoted to Brigadier General 4 August 1941. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he assumed command of Allied forces in New Caledonia 12 March 1942, and on 8 December he relieved General Vandegrift, USMC, on Guadalcanal and took command of composite American forces operating against the Japanese in the Solomon Islands. He returned to the United States in April 1943 and assumed command of the IV Corps. In March 1944 he was designated Commanding General of the 7th Army in Sicily. Promoted to Lieutenant General 7 August 1944, he served with the 7th Army in France. He then took command of the 4th Army in July 1945 and died 21 November while on duty at Fort Sam Houston, Tex.

Admiral R. E. Coontz (AP-122) (q.v.) was reacquired by the Navy from the Army Transport Service as General Alexander M. Patch 1 March 1950 and assigned to MSTS. Manned by a civilian crew, she operated out of New York to Bremerhaven, Germany, and Southampton, England, during the next 5 years, rotating troops, transporting military dependents, and carrying European refugees to the United States. During October and November 1956 she steamed to the Mediterranean where she supported peace-keeping operations of the mighty 6th Fleet.

Returning to New York 15 November, she resumed transatlantic service to Bremerhaven. From 1956 to 1965 she completed more than 120 voyages to Bremerhaven and back. She also deployed to the Mediterranean six more times, and, during political crises in Jordan and Lebanon, she supported counteractions by the 6th Fleet.

In response to Communist infiltration and aggression in South Vietnam, General Alexander M. Patch departed New York 35 August 1965 for the Far East. Sailing via Charleston, S.C., and Long Beach, Calif., she carried troops and supplies to bolster American military aid for strife-torn South Vietnam. Arriving Qui Nhon 16 September, she steamed via Cam Ranh Bay to Vung Tau before departing the 22d for the United States. She arrived San Francisco 2 October, and from 20 October to 9 November she again sailed to Vung Tau with men and military supplies. From South Vietnam she sailed via Penang, Malaysia; the Suez Canal; and Bremerhaven, Germany, to New York, arrived 15 December.

Following seven transatlantic voyages to Bremerhaven and back, General Alexander M. Patch resumed troop transport duty to South Vietnam. After embarking troops at Boston, she sailed 15 July 1966 and arrived Vung Tau 13 August. She departed the next day via Yokosuka, Japan, for Pusan, South Korea, where she arrived 26 August. There she embarked South Korean soldiers and sailed for Nha Trang 30 August, arriving 7 September. She continued to transport troops and supplies supporting the effort to repel Communist aggression in South Vietnam until heading home 31 December. She reached New York, via Suez and Gibraltar, late1 in January 1967 and was placed in ready reserve status while preparing for future service.

Published: Fri Jul 10 09:01:12 EDT 2015