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General J. R. Brooke (AP-132)

(AP-132: dp. 9,877 (lt.); l. 522'10"; b. 71'6"; dr. 26'6"; s. 16.5 k.; cpl. 471; trp. 3,444; a. 4 5", 8 1.1", 16 20mm.; cl. General G. O. Squier; T. C4-S-A1)

John Rutter Brooke, born in Montgomery County, Pa., 21 July 1838, was educated at Freeland Seminary. He served in the Army briefly at the start of the Civil War, was mustered out, but returned as a Colonel in the 53d Pennsylvania Infantry. Colonel Brooke fought in the Peninsular Campaign and at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg, earning a reputation as an exceptional commander. He was appointed Brigadier General of Volunteers 12 May 1864, was severely wounded at Cold Harbor the following month, and returned to duty in 1865 with the Army of the Shenandoah. Entering the regular Army after the war, Brooke rose to the rank of Major General in 1897 and served in Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War. After the armistice, he was military governor of both Puerto Rico and Cuba before returning home to take command of the Department of the East. General Brooke died in Philadelphia 5 September 1926 after a long and distinguished career.

General J. R. Brooke (AP-132) was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract 29 June 1942 by the Kaiser Co., Inc., Yard 3, Richmond, Calif.; launched 21 February 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Helen Thompson; acquired by the Navy 10 December 1943; converted to a transport by Matson Navigation Co., San Francisco; and commissioned 20 January 1944 at San Francisco, Captain David L. Nutter in command.

On her maiden voyage, General J. R. Brooke sailed from Port Hueneme 24 February 1944 with more than 3,600 troops, mostly Seabees, for Pearl Harbor and returned to San Francisco 8 March. From 19 March to 23 April she made a round-trip voyage out of San Francisco to bring 3,600 men to Noumea and Espiritu Santo. Following her return, the ship sailed again 12 May for New Guinea to debark 3,400 troops at Oro Bay, and steamed thence to New York, where she arrived 3 July 1944.

Convoyed by ships and planes and under constant threat of submarine attack, General J. R. Brooke operated in the Atlantic throughout the remainder of the war. In her unflagging efforts to insure an even flow of men from the United States to the European theater, she made 12 transatlantic voyages (8 from New York, 2 from Boston, and 2 from Norfolk) to the United Kingdom (Plymouth, Liverpool, and Southampton); Italy (Naples); France (Cherbourg, Marseilles, and Le Havre); and North Africa (Oran) from 26 July 1944 to 5 September 1945. She brought to the European ports tens of thousands of American and Allied fighting men and thousands of tons of vital supplies; and she brought to the United States countless German prisoners of war.

After the war's end, General J. R. Brooke made two "Magic Carpet" and troop-rotation voyages from New York to Calcutta and Ceylon via the Suez Canal from 11 September 1945 to 3 January 1946. Subsequently, she made five identical troop-carrying voyages from New York to Le Havre between 19 January and 10 June 1946. In May 1946 she transported over 2,700 German POW's back to France. General J. R. Brooke moored at Norfolk 13 June and decommissioned at Newport News 3 July 1946. Returned to WSA 18 July 1946, she entered the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River, Va. She was sold to Bethlehem Steel Corp., Wilmington, Del., in April 1964 and renamed Marymar.

Published: Fri Jul 10 09:48:29 EDT 2015