Named for Matej Kocak (3 December 1882 - 4 October 1918) was posthumously awarded both the Army and Navy Medals of Honor, for "heroism above and beyond the call of duty" in action against the enemy on 18 July 1918, while serving as a member of the 66th Company, 5th Regiment, 2nd Division, when he single-handedly attacked a German machine gun position and drove the Germans off and then organized a group of French colonial soldiers and led them in an attack on another German machine gun position. Less than three months after this act of heroism he was killed in action by enemy gunfire in the Battle of Blanc Mont Ridge in France.
(T-AK-3005; displacement 48,754; length 821’; beam 106’; draft 33’; speed 20 knots; complement 26; class SGT Matej Kocak).
The first SGT Matej Kocak (T-AK-3005) was built by Sun Ship Building Co. Chester, Pa. as SS John B. Waterman, a Maritime Administration type-C7-S-133a hull under Maritime Administration contract; delivered to the Maritime Administration, 23 March 1983, for operation by the Waterman Steamship Corp.; acquired by the Navy under a long-term charter in 1984; converted by National Steel and Shipbuilding, San Diego, Calif.; placed in service in 1984 under the direction of the Military Sealift Command as SS SGT Matej Kocak, operated by Waterman Steamship Corp.; acquired by the Military Sealift Command on 15 January 2009 and placed in service as SGT Matej Kocak.
On 19 May 2012 SGT Matej Kocak and Kanawha (T-AO-196) were in the Mediterranean Sea to support Exercise Phoenix Express 2012, a multinational maritime exercise between U.S., Southern European, and North African naval forces.
On 22 January 2015 the ship ran aground off the east coast of Okinawa, Japan at approximately 1130. The vessel was located approximately six nautical miles of the coast off Uruma, Okinawa. The ship was successfully refloated on 3 February 2015. The Military Sealift Command's rescue and salvage ship Salvor (T-ARS-52) successfully escorted the ship from Okinawa to Singapore, arriving on 4 April.
Detailed history pending.
Christopher B. Havern Sr.
14 December 2015