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General H. B. Freeman (AP-143)

(AP-143: dp. 9,943; l. 522'10"; b. 71'6"; dr. 24'; s. 16.5 k.; cpl. 356; trp. 3,823; a. 4 5", 4 40mm., 16 20mm.; cl. General G. 0. Squier; T. C4-S-A1)

Henry Blanchard Freeman, born 17 January 1837 in Knox, Ohio, enlisted in the 10th Infantry 16 July 1855. Appointed Lieutenant in May 1862, he was breveted Captain in December for gallantry in the Battle of Murfreesboro, Tenn., and breveted Major in September 1863 for gallantry in the Battle of Chickamauga, Ga.; received the Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism in the Battle of Stone's River 31 December 1862. After the close of the Civil War, much of his remaining career was spent on Indian frontiers and reservations in Wyoming, Ohio, Colorado, Utah, and Oklahoma. Promoted to Brigadier General in 1901, he received the Indian Campaign Medal. General Freeman died 16 December 1915, at Douglas, Wyo.

General H. B. Freeman (AP-143) was launched 11 December 1944 under a Maritime Commission contract by the Kaiser Co., Inc., Yard 3, Richmond, Calif.; sponsored by Mrs. Marie Wheeler; converted in the Kaiser yard at Vancouver, Wash.; acquired by the Navy 26 April 1945; and commissioned at Portland, Oreg., the same day, Comdr. Harley E. Grogan, USCG, in command.

After shakedown operations out of San Diego, General H. B. Freeman departed San Pedro 1 June 1945 with 3,040 troops and passengers for Calcutta, India, where she arrived 9 July with 16 additional passengers, British Royal Marines who had embarked at Brisbane, Australia. On 13 July she was underway with more than 3,000 military passengers; embarking and debarking in Ceylon, Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippines before arriving Hagushi, Okinawa, 16 August 1945, the day after hostilities ended.

More than 1,000 homeward-bound veterans boarded the transport which departed Okinawa 21 August 1945 headed via Saipan and Pearl Harbor for the West Coast, arriving San Pedro, Calif., 12 September 1945. She sailed 7 October, carrying occupation troops to Tokyo, and returned to Seattle, Wash., 5 November as the "Magic-Carpet" home for more than 3,000 fighting men from the Pacific War. General H. B. Freeman made a similar passenger run from Seattle to Yokohama and back (16 November-16 December 1945).

She next entered the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash., for inactivation overhaul and decommissioned there 4 March 1946. She was redelievered to the Maritime Commission for service with the Army's peacetime transport fleet.

General H. B. Freeman was reacquired by the Navy 1 March 1950 and assigned to MSTS. Manned by a civil service crew, General H. B. Freeman carried military passengers throughout the Korean War from the West Coast to Korea, Japan, and island bases in the Pacific.

She was in the gallant fleet that evacuated besieged Hungnam. Her distinguished service won her the "Smart Ship Award" for three consecutive years (1950-52). The transport continued to operate throughout the Pacific until 24 July 1958 when her name was again struck from the Navy List. She was returned to the Maritime Commission and to the National Defense Reserve Fleet Olympia, Wash., where she remains.

Published: Fri Jul 10 09:26:18 EDT 2015