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Lt. Robert Craig (T-AK-252)

(T‑AK‑252: dp. 15,200 (f.); l. 455'; b. 62'; dr. 29'; s. 15 k.; cpl. 53; a. none; T. VC2‑S‑AP2)

2d Lt. Robert Craig, USA, a native of Scotland, died 11 July 1943 during fierce ground fighting near Favoratta, Sicily. While attached to the 3d Infantry Division, he successfully located a hidden German machinegun emplacement which had halted the advance of his company. Bravely, he charged through automatic fire and killed the enemy guncrew. Shortly thereafter, as he led his platoon down an open ridge, Lieutenant Craig and his men came under vicious fire from about 100 enemy riflemen. Without hesitation and in disregard for his own safety, he ordered his men to withdraw while he charged the overwhelming force. He reached to within 25 yards of the enemy and fatally shot five hostile soldiers before succumbing to withering gunfire. Inspired by his intrepid action, his men drove the enemy from the area and inflicted heavy casualties on the German force. For his unfaltering gallantry and courageous self‑sacrifice, Lieutenant Craig was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.

Lt. Robert Craig (T‑AK‑252) was laid down as Bowling Green Victory under Maritime Commission contract by California Shipbuilding Corp., Los Angeles, Calif., 21 June 1945; launched 28 August 1945; sponsored by Mrs. C. M. Holladay; and delivered to her operator, J. H. Winchester, 27 September 1945. She operated under the War Shipping Administration until July 1946 when she was transferred to the Army Transportation Service and renamed Lt. Robert Craig. She was acquired by the Navy from the Maritime Commission 9 August 1950 and assigned to duty under MSTS.

Manned by a civilian crew, Lt. Robert Craig steamed from New York to the west coast late in August and began Pacific supply runs out of San Francisco 14 October. During the next 4 years, she made more than a score of deployments to American bases in the central and western Pacific, ranging from the Marshalls and the Marianas to the Philippines, South Korea, and Japan. Throughout in much of 1953, she provided logistics support for the U.S. nuclear testing program in the Marshalls. During a deployment in the Far East between March and May 1954, she steamed to French Indochina carrying supplies for French forces fighting the Vietminh in Vietnam.

Lt. Robert Craig returned to the east coast in mid-August and during the next month completed a roundtrip voyage out of New York to Europe and back. Thence, she made a 3‑month deployment via the west coast to the Far East and back. arriving New York 21 December to resume transatlantic supply runs.

Since 1954, Lt. Robert Craig has maintained a busy and wideranging schedule of operations which has sent her over the major sealanes of the globe in support of far flung American naval and ground forces. She has completed more than three dozen transatlantic roundtrips between cast and gulf coast ports and European ports in Scandinavia, West Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and France. In addition she operated in the North Atlantic from 1955 to 1964 while making numerous runs in support of military construction programs and operations along the coast of Greenland.

Lt. Robert Craig made her first deployment to the Mediterranean between 25 March and 20 May 1956. Since that time she has completed more than a dozen such runs to that unsettled sea and has visited ports in North Africa, France, Italy, Turkey, Greece, and Lebanon. Following American intervention against Communist subversion in the troubled Middle East in 1958, she supported U.S. peacekeeping operations in Lebanon. In addition several of her Mediterranean cruises have sent her through the Suez Canal for additional logistics missions in the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Indian Ocean.

Lt. Robert Craig has alternated her busy Atlantic and Mediterranean service with more than a dozen deployments to American bases in the Pacific and the Far East. Operating out of New York, her supply missions have usually sent her via the Panama Canal and the west coast to ports in the Far East from Japan to Southeast Asia. Between December 1961 and November 1964 she made two round‑the‑world cruises out of New York to the Far East and back. During the latter deployment, which lasted from 7 May to 18 November 1964, she visited ports in 17 European, Middle Eastern, and Asian nations from Denmark to South Vietnam, as well as U.S. bases in the Philippines, Okinawa, and the Marianas.

Following the increase of American military support in 1965 for the defense of South Vietnam from external Communist aggression, this versatile, hard‑working cargo ship provided increased logistics support for U.S. forces in troubled Southeast Asia. At present in 1968 she continues her worldwide supply missions and remains a vital part of America's peacekeeping operations from the shores of the eastern Mediterranean to the coast of Southeast Asia.

Published: Wed Jul 29 11:41:12 EDT 2015