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Sgt. Truman Kimbro

(AK-254: dp. 15,199 (f.); l. 455'3"; b. 62'; dr. 28'6"; s. 17 k.; cpl. 53; a. 4 40mm.; cl. Boulder Victory; T. VC2-S-AP2)

Technician Fourth Grade Truman Kimbro, a Texan serving in Company C, 2d Engineer Combat Battalion, 2d Infantry Division, was killed near Rocherath, Belgium, on 19 December 1944. On that date, during the early phase of General von Runstedt's counter offensive now known as the "Battle of the Bulge," Kimbro led a squad to mine a vital crossroads near Rocherath. After several attempts to reach the objective, which was protected by an enemy tank and approximately 20 infantrymen, he left his men in a protected position and, laden with mines, crawled toward the crossroads. Although severely wounded, he continued on through withering fire; planted his mines; then started back to his squad's position. Technician Fourth Grade Kimbro was killed as he left the crossroads. His actions, however, by delaying the advance of enemy armor, protected the rear of withdrawing columns. For his courage and sacrifice, Kimbro was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Sgt. Truman Kimbro (AK-254) was laid down under Maritime Commission contract (MCV hull 547) as Hastings Victory on 30 September 1944 by the Permanente Metals Corp., Richmond, Calif.; launched on 30 November 1944; sponsored by Mrs. John A. Mc Keown; and delivered to the War Shipping Administration on 22 December 1944 for operation by the Grace Line.

Hastings Victory was operated by the Grace Line during the remainder of World War II and into the spring of 1946. She was then returned to the Maritime Commission and, on 18 June 1946, was transferred to the Army. Renamed Sgt. Truman Kimbro on 31 October 1947, she was operated by the Army Transportation Service through the 1940's and, on 19 January 1950, was laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Olympia, Wash. By July, however, war had broken out in Korea, and she was ordered reactivated for transfer to the Navy. On 5 August, she was assigned to the Navy's Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) ; and, manned by a civil service crew, she was placed in service in September as USNS Sgt. Truman Kimbro (T-AK-254).

Throughout the Korean Conflict, the ship was primarily employed in moving vital cargo across the Pacific to United Nations forces fighting on that embattled peninsula. She also made shorter runs to Alaskan ports and to central Pacific bases. After the war, her itinerary was extended to include most large Far Eastern ports. In the spring of 1958, she was shifted temporarily to Greenland, transatlantic, and Mediterranean runs. She completed her last voyage to the Mediterranean in October; transited the Suez Canal in November; and resumed cargo operations in the Pacific in December. Since then, into 1974, the Victory ship has continued to carry cargo for MSTS, now called the Military Sealift Command.

Published: Wed Sep 09 08:12:04 EDT 2015