(AF-11: dp. 13,876; l. 459-1-; b. 63-0-; dr. 25-10-; s. 16 k.; cpl. 253; a. 1 5-, 4 3-; cl. Polaris)
The North Star.
Polaris (AF-11) was built in 1939 as SS Donald McKay; acquired from the Maritime Commission 27 January 1941; and commissioned by the Navy 4 April 1941.
Polaris made five round trips from the east coast of the United States to Reykjavik, Iceland from June 1942 to February 1943. She then made five voyages from the east coast to Port of Spain, Trinidad, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, March to July 1943. From October 1943 to February 1944 she made four more voyages to the Caribbean, touching at Port of Spain, Trinidad; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Hamilton, Bermuda; the Virgin Islands; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
From March through September 1944 Polaris made three round-trip voyages in convoy from the east coast to Oran, Algeria, and other Mediterranean ports. In October she made another voyage to the Caribbean.
By the end of war with Japan, Polaris had made three deployments to the Pacific islands. On 10 November 1944 she departed New York for the Canal Zone; Eniwetok, Marshall Islands; Saipan and Tinian, Marianas; and Port Apra, Guam; before returning to Seattle 9 January 1945.
She was underway 16 January to Pearl Harbor, Eniwetok, and Ulithi. She returned to Los Angeles 31 March and was underway again 13 April on a replenishment cruise to the Carolines and the Ryukyus, firing on Tokashiki Island in the Ryukyus 9 July, and returning to San Francisco 30 August.
After serving in Japanese waters and on the China coast, Polaris decommissioned 18 January 1946. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register 7 February 1946 and transferred to the Maritime Commission 30 June 1946. Polaris was reacquired by the Navy 6 October 1948. She recommissioned 1 July 1949 and served actively in the Korean Conflict with Service Squadron 1, making six cruises to Korean waters between 29 January 1951 and 23 July 1954. This provision store ship set a record for her class in number of tons of provisions transferred per hour while on underway replenishment, delivering 116.10 tons per hour to Midway 29 April 1955. She continued to serve with the Pacific Fleet until she decommissioned 12 January 1957. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register 10 October 1957, and transferred to the Maritime Administration. Into 1970 she is in the National Defense Reserve Fleet berthed in Suisun Bay, Calif.
Polaris received one battle star for World War II service and six battle stars for Korean War service.