(APA-105: dp. 7,970; l. 473'1"; b. 66'; dr. 25'; s. 18.6 k.; cpl. 476; a. 2 5", 8 40mm., 18 20mm.; cl. Windsor; T. C3-S-A3)
Counties in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas.
Shelby (APA-105) was laid down on 13 June 1944 under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1678) by the Bethlehem-Sparrows Point Shipyards, Inc., Sparrows Point, Md.; launched on 25 October 1944; sponsored by Mrs. B. Barrett Griggith; and commissioned on 20 January 1945, Capt. J. J. Fallen in command.
Shelby underwent shakedown in Chesapeake Bay, and then reported to Davisville, R.I., to embark 1,356 Sea-bees. Sailing on 24 February, she delivered the men at Pearl Harbor on 17 March. There, she loaded combat medical supplies and 1,383 troops, and sailed on 7 April. Stopping at Eniwetok from 15 to 23 April and at Ulithi from 27 to 29 April, Shelby arrived at Okinawa and disembarked her troops on 3 and 4 May. The ships there underwent frequent air attacks; and, on 4 May, a suicide plane passed over Shelby and crashed into Birmingham (CL-62) anchored nearby. The same day, Shelby began receiving casualties from the beach, although cargo unloading continued until 6 May. On the 8th, she got underway with 166 wounded servicemen on board, whom she disembarked at Saipan on 12 May before returning to San Francisco on 28 May.
On 13 June, Shelby sailed from San Francisco with troops and cargo for Manila, where she arrived on 8 July after stops at Eniwetok and Ulithi. She then returned, via the same route, to San Francisco on 5 August; and, after 10 day's repairs, moved to San Diego to load more cargo and passengers. Sailing on 20 August, she arrived at Pearl Harbor on the 26th and sailed from there on 1 September with troops and equipment for the occupation of Japan. The transport entered Sasebo, Japan, on 22 September; and, after disembarking her troops, departed on the 25th to pick up additional occupation forces in the Philippines. She embarked these in Lingayen Gulf between 3 and 5 October, and delivered them at Sasebo on 14 October. Embarking some Marine units there, she sailed from Sasebo on 21 October and arrived at Saipan on 6 November.
At Saipan, Shelby reported for duty with operation "Magic Carpet," and she sailed on 7 November loaded with homeward-bound servicemen. Disembarking these at Los Angeles on 21 November, she underwent repairs before sailing from San Pedro on 13 December on her second "Magic Carpet" run. She embarked troops at Manila between 2 and 4 January 1946, and returned them to Seattle on 23 January. A month later, she sailed for the east coast, arriving at Norfolk on 14 March for inactivation. Shelby was decommissioned on 14 May 1946, delivered to the War Shipping Administration on the 16th and struck from the Navy list on 5 June 1946. Sold into mercantile service in 1948 as Exeter, she was renamed Oriental Pearl in 1965 and continues in service into 1974.
Shelby received one battle star for her World War II service.