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Westmoreland (APA-104)


Counties in the states of Pennsylvania and Virginia.

(APA-104: displacement 11,760; length 492'0"; beam 69'6"; draft 23'3"; speed 18.4 knots; complement 576; troops 1,226; armament 2 5-inch, 8 40 millimeter, 18 20 millimeter; class Bayfield; type C3-S-A2)

Westmoreland (APA-104) was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract (M.C.V. Hull 872) on 8 December 1943 at Pascagoula, Miss., by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 28 April 1944; sponsored by Mrs. V. H. Hoagland; and placed in commission, for ferrying purposes, on 12 July 1944, Cmdr. James H. Graves, Jr., D-M, USNR, in command. Shifted to the Todd Shipyards Corp., Hoboken, N.J., for conversion to an attack transport, the ship was decommissioned on 22 July 1944 for the duration of the yard period. Once the task of fitting the vessel out as an attack transport was completed, Westmoreland was placed in commission on 18 January 1945, Capt. James M. Hicks in command.

After spending most of February 1945 on shakedown in Chesapeake Bay, Westmoreland sailed for the Pacific on 22 February and arrived at the eastern entrance to the Panama Canal on the 27th. After transiting the isthmian waterway, the attack transport pushed on for the Hawaiian Islands and reached Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, on 14 March.

After training in Hawaiian waters, the ship returned to the west coast at the end of May 1945 for voyage repairs at San Pedro, Calif. In mid-June, she shifted northward to embark troops and load cargo at Portland, Oregon, for transportation to Hawaii. Westmoreland subsequently conducted one round-trip voyage between Pearl Harbor and San Francisco in July and then spent most of the first half of the month of August on exercises and further training in Hawaiian waters. During that time, the Japanese, worn down by ceaseless Allied pounding from the air and from the sea, surrendered on 15 August 1945.

Although Westmoreland had been commissioned too late to participate in combat against the Japanese in the Pacific, she nevertheless did take part in the massive reverse movement of men back to the United States, Operation Magic Carpet. The attack transport subsequently called at Manila, in the Philippines; and Sasebo, Japan, operating with Transport Squadron 22; and brought back troops to Portland, before she returned to the Philippines once more. She carried a draft of troops from Samar to San Francisco before heading for the east coast of the United States.

She transited the Panama Canal on 8 April 1946 and arrived at Norfolk five days later, completing her last voyage for the Navy. Westmoreland was decommissioned there on 5 June 1946 and entered the Maritime Commission's Reserve Fleet in the James River off Lee Hall, Va., at 1:30 p.m. on 7 June 1946, being moored in Unit N-2. She was stricken from the Navy Register on 19 June 1946. For a time, she lay moored beside ex-Griggs (APA-110).

A Wood Towing Co. vessel towed the former attack transport to Norfolk, clearing Lee Hall at noon on 9 December 1946. While a Moran Towing & Transportation Co., Inc., ship towed ex-Westmoreland to Mobile, Alabama, clearing the Tidewater area the next morning, departing at 10:00 a.m. on 10 December. At Mobile, the ship underwent conversion for merchant use, and was acquired by the Isthmian Steamship Co. (later called Isthmian Lines) on 2 July 1947, being renamed Steel King

Ultimately, Steel King was taken out of merchant service and sold to the Taiwan firm of Shyah Shang Huat Steel & Iron Works Co. on 28 August 1973, to be broken up for scrap.

Commanding Officer                                       Date Assumed Command

Capt. James M. Hicks                                         18 January 1945   


Updated, Robert J. Cressman

'27 February 2024                           


Published: Tue Feb 27 20:05:25 EST 2024