Mizar (AP-12) i
The middle star in the handle of the Great Dipper (Ursa Major).
The first Mizar (AP‑12) was built in 1932 as Quirigua by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Quincy, Mass., for United Fruit Co.; acquired by the Navy on bareboat charter 2 June 1941; and commissioned 14 June 1941, Comdr. E. D. Walbridge in command.
Formerly a fast refrigerated mail steamer, Mizar underwent conversion at Brewer's Drydock, Staten Island, New York, to a Navy store ship. For the next year Mizar sailed the western Atlantic provisioning bases and ships from Iceland to the Virgin Islands while operating from a number of east coast ports. Adding additional berthing she departed Norfolk 10 June 1942 in company with TF 39 on a month‑long voyage to Wellington, New Zealand. This time she also transported 1st Division Marines who were soon to take part in the invasion of the Solomon Islands.
Continuing in the southwest Pacific as part of Service Force, 7th Fleet, she operated initially from Australian ports supporting the successful Australian and American struggle to halt the Japanese on New Guinea. Mizar made seven voyages to San Francisco between 12 October 1942 and 9 February 1945 to provide fresh meat and eggs for advanced bases and combatant ships. When not making these unescorted crossings she normally operated between Brisbane and Milne, New Guinea.
Following the advance of American Forces in the Pacfic she extended her Australian‑based activities to the Admiralty Islands in May 1944 and dropped anchor in Leyte Gulf, Philippines, 18 February 1945. She continued distributing men and supplies throughout these areas until 4 January 1946.
Steaming eastward she arrived San Francisco 25 January but soon received orders to proceed to the east coast. Previewing a return to civilian status, en route at Quepos, Costa Rica, bananas were loaded for delivery to the United Fruit Co. at Charleston, S.C. Mizar, having averaged over 5,000 miles a month during World War II, decommissioned at Baltimore, Md., 1 April 1946 for return to her owner, and was struck from the Navy list on the 17th.
Mizar received four battle stars for World War II service.