Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Hamul (AK-30)

1941–1963

Probably named after the star Hamal. 

(AK-30: displacement 11,755; length 492'; beam 69.9'; draft 28'6"; speed 18.4 knots; complement 857; armament 2 .50-caliber machine guns; class Hamul; type C3)

Doctor Lykes -- built in 1940 under a Maritime Commission contract (M. C. Hull 40) at Kearney, N.J., by the Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. -- made two voyages to the Orient under the house flag of Lykes Brothers Steamship Co. of New Orleans, La.  Acquired by the Navy on 5 June 1941, she was renamed Hamul, given the classification AK-30, and commissioned on 15 June 1941 at Charleston, S.C., Cmdr. Elwood M. Tillson in command. 

Hamul rendered logistical support for the Allied occupation of Iceland. After working with General Electric in experiments on night camouflage, Hamul set out from Boston, Mass., in January 1942 to head a convoy of five ships with men and material to establish a base at Bora Bora in the Society Islands. This mission completed, the cargo ship returned to the United States via Chile, while she loaded 10,000 tons of nitrate. Hamul discharged the valuable cargo at Mobile, Ala., and remained there for conversion to a destroyer tender, where she was reclassified to AD-20 on 2 June 1942. Standing out of Mobile on 7 January 1943, Hamul tended destroyers and other ships in Casco Bay, Maine, until April and then sailed south to serve as the flagship of the Destroyer-Escort Shakedown Task Group (TG) in Bermuda. In the following 19 months she tended some 348 destroyers and escort ships, as well as removing demolition charges from German submarine U-505, which TG 22.3, Capt. Daniel V. Gallery in command, a hunter-killer group, captured 150 miles off Cape Blanco, Rio de Oro, Africa, on 4 June 1944. 

After overhaul at New York Navy Yard, Hamul sailed for the Pacific on 1 January 1945, reaching Saipan in the Marianas on 12 February via the Panama Canal, Pearl Harbor, T.H., and Eniwetok in the Marshalls. She remained there until 27 March preparing amphibious craft for Operation Detachment — landings by the Fourth and Fifth Marine Divisions on Iwo Jima in the Kazan Rettō (Volcano Islands). Hamul then charted a course for Ulithi in the Carolines, where the ship kept busy repairing damaged craft returning from the Okinawa campaign until 6 May, when she sailed for the scene of the Pacific war’s last major struggle. Hamul reached Okinawa on 10 May 1945 and remained there until February 1946 to repair battle-damaged ships. With over 400 homeward bound veterans aboard, she departed Okinawa on 10 February 1946. After discharging them at San Diego, Calif., she proceeded to Jacksonville, Fla., and subsequently Orange, Texas, to prepare for decommissioning. 

Aa Hamul entered the final stages of the decommissioning process, she was called back into active service as station ship at Plymouth, England. Reaching the British port on 17 April 1947, Hamul remained there for three years tending various American ships and making quarterly cruises to Atlantic and Mediterranean ports. Again ordered to decommission, Hamul stood out of Plymouth on 17 July 1950; but the outbreak of the Korean War again called for every available ship. Going west via Norfolk, Va., Hamul reached Sasebo, Japan, on 23 October and began servicing the ships operating off the Korean coast. 

From that period on Hamul's career fell into a pattern of six months duty in the Far East, which took her to the Philippines, Hong Kong, Formosa [Taiwan], and other Asian ports and islands, alternating with a similar period of time in her home port of Long Beach Naval Shipyard, Calif. During the fighting in the Korean War and in the Cold War in the years following, she supported naval deployments across the Pacific, carried supplies for United Nations peacekeepers in the Middle East, served as a midshipmen cruise ship, and sailed as a troop transport. In addition, Hamul worked with Fletcher (DD-445) and New Zealand sailing scow Echo (ex-IX-95) at Naval Station Pearl Harbor supporting the filming of the motion picture The Wackiest Ship in the Army, starring Jack Lemmon, Ricky Nelson, and Chips Rafferty, released in 1960. 

Hamul (AD-20), Capt. Eugene H. Simpson in command, was decommissioned on 9 June 1962, at Long Beach. Simpson assumed command of Isle Royale (AD-29), moored nearby, and following some routine transfers the other 664 of Hamul’s crewmen shifted to Isle Royale, which completed a reactivation overhaul and was recommissioned the same day for service with Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla 3 at Long Beach. Hamul moored to Berth 1 at San Francisco Naval Shipyard at Hunters Point, Calif., on 25 June 1962, and at 2:30 p.m. on 25 September was delivered to the Maritime Administration (MarAd) and placed in the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, Calif. She was permanently transferred to MarAd at 1201 on 1 July 1963, and was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 July 1963. 

Ultimately, Levin Metals Corp., of San Jose, Calif., purchased the versatile vessel for $1,500,000 on 16 October 1975 for scrap and she was removed from MarAd custody at 1100 on 2 December 1975 to be broken up. 

Detailed history pending. 

Updated by Mark L. Evans
1 February 2018

Published:Thu Feb 01 14:38:26 EST 2018