(AKV-5: dp. 15,199 (f.) ; l. 455'3"; b. 62'; dr. 28'7"; s. 16 k.; cpl. 55; cl. Lt. James E. Robinson; T. VC2-S-AP3)
Staff Sergeant Jack J. Pendleton, Company I, 120th Infantry, 30th Infantry Division, was killed in action after his company had been pinned down by heavy machine gun fire in Bardenberg, Germany, on 12 October 1944. The enemy position was protected by another, lone machine gun which commanded an intersection in the approach to the stronger emplacement and which had to be taken before the unit could advance on the stronger position. After several unsuccessful attempts had been made against the gun at the intersection, Sgt. Pendleton and his squad began crawling forward, with the sergeant approximately 10 yards in advance of his men. Withering fire kept them low and, after advancing approximately 130 yards, Sgt. Pendleton was seriously wounded. He disregarded the wound, however; ordered his men to remain where they were; and, with a supply of hand grenades, began working his way forward alone. Drawing fire to himself, he had advanced to within 10 yards of his target when he was killed by a burst from the gun. His actions, however, had enabled others to move, undetected, into positions from which the machine gun was knocked out. For his sacrifice in drawing the enemy's fire, Sgt. Pendleton was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton was laid down under Maritime Commission contract as Mandan Victory (MCV hull 109) on 15 April 1944 by the Oregon Shipbuilding Corp., Portland, Oreg.; launched on 26 May 1944; sponsored by Mrs. George C. Carter; and delivered to the Maritime Commission's War Shipping Administration on 19 June 1944.
Operated under a general agency agreement by the Isthmian SS Co. for the remainder of World War II and during the postwar period, Mandan Victory was subsequently operated by the Waterman SS Corp. and by A. L. Burbank and Co. In December 1947, she was laid up with the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Wilmington, Del.; and, on 23 April 1948, she was transferred to the Army. Renamed Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton, the Victory ship received miscellaneous alterations, including the addition of radar and the enlargement of her hatches, during the summer; and, in the fall, she commenced 18 months of operations under the Army Transportation Service. On 1 March 1950, the ship was transferred to the Navy for operation by the newly established Military Sea Transportation Service, now the Military Sealift Command.
Designated as a cargo ship and aircraft ferry, the former Army ship was given a civil service crew; placed in service as USNS Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton (T-AKV-5); and assigned to transpacific operations from her home port, San Francisco. In late June, as the war in Korea broke out, she completed her second round trip to Japan as an MSTS ship and, for the next two years, was employed in moving combat cargoes westward. In the summer of 1952, however, she was shifted to runs to the Marshalls and Marianas; and, in March of 1953, she resumed a Far East Schedule which she maintained until after the Korean truce. From 1954 to 1956, her destinations ranged from islands in the Central Pacific, to Japan, Korea, Okinawa, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Thailand. During the summer of 1956, she conducted arctic operations; but, with the fall, resumed her schedule in the more temperate and tropical zones of the Pacific. In 1958, she was commended for rescuing the entire crew of a large Japanese fishing vessel which had gone down in the Pacific; and, in the same year, she again added northern ports in the Aleutians to her delivery points.
In 1959, after calls at ports on the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, and the Gulf of Aden, the ship transited the Suez Canal to take on and deliver cargo in the Mediterranean. From there, she moved into the Atlantic and, in late March, arrived at New York. She then continued on to Norfolk, whence, for the next two months, she conducted transatlantic runs.
Redesignated AK-276 (7 May 1956), Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton carried supplies to northern bases in Greenland in July and in August; and, in September, she sailed for northern Europe, whence she made her way back to the Pacific via the Suez Canal.
During October and November, she put into ports on the Indian subcontinent, in southeast Asia, on the island of Taiwan, and on the Korean peninsula. In early December, she was in Japan; and, on the 29th, she arrived at Seattle, whence, with the new year 1960, she returned to San Francisco to resume transpacific operations.
Later in that year, the Victory ship interrupted her more routine schedule to bring the Navy's bathyscaph, Trieste, back to San Diego after the research vessel had set a record dive of 35,800 feet in the Marianas Trench. Later in the 1960's, as the conflict in Vietnam necessitated a speed-up in the supply line, she was employed in shuttling cargo from Subic Bay to South Vietnam.
Since that time, into the fall of 1974, Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton, now home ported at Oakland, Calif., has continued operations in the Pacific for the Military Sealift Command.