Quick Links Menu.

USS Kent (AP-28) on 22 December 1941
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Class:        KENT (AP-28)
Design:        Pass. & Cargo, 1918
Displacement (tons):        5,765 light, 7,850 full
Dimensions (feet):        373.5' oa, 360.0' wl x 51.5' m x 24.4'
Original Armament:        4-3"/23 (AP-28, 1941)
Later armaments:         1-4"/50 (AP-36, 1942)
Complement:        488 (AP-36, 1944)
Speed (kts.):        14
Propulsion (HP):        3,300
Machinery:        Vertical 4-exp., 1 screw

AP Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
28 KENT 21 Jul 41 William Cramp & Sons 1917 4 Jul 18 22 Jul 41
36 IRWIN -- William Cramp & Sons 1917 13 Oct 17 --

AP Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
28 KENT 24 Mar 42 8 May 43 24 Mar 42 Army 30 Apr 57
36 IRWIN -- -- -- Canc. 31 Dec 47

Class Notes:
No FY assigned. In 1916 the Grace Line decided to institute a passenger service from New York to ports on the west coast of South America as far as Valparaiso, Chile, and contracted for five 110-passenger ships -- SANTA ANA, SANTA LUISA, SANTA TERESA from Cramp and SANTA ELISA & SANTA LEONORA from New York Shipbuilding. The U.S. Shipping Board took over all five ships in August 1917 when it requisitioned all vessels then being built in U.S. shipyards. All five were operated by the Navy after completion, SANTA ANA (ID-2869), SANTA TERESA (ID-3804), SANTA ELISA (ID-4352), and SANTA LEONORA (ID-4352A) as transports and SANTA LUISA (ID-2873) as a cargo ship. After the war Grace decided that four would be sufficient and declined return of the SANTA LEONORA, which became the Navy submarine tender CANOPUS (AS-9). After the advent of the larger SANTA BARBARA and SANTA MARIA (see APA 4-5) in 1928 the four ships were transferred to the Panama Mail's New York-San Francisco run. SANTA ANA was renamed GUATEMALA in 1928 and became SANTA CECILIA in 1931. Early in 1936 Grace sold SANTA CECILIA (originally SANTA ANA) and SANTA TERESA to the Merchants & Miners Transportation Company, which renamed them IRWIN and KENT. The Army purchased IRWIN in March and KENT in April 1941 and converted them to troopships between April and June. The other pair, SANTA ANA (ex EL SALVADOR, ex SANTA LUISA) and SANTA ELISA, went to the Alaska Steamship Company in 1936 and remained in civilian service as MOUNT McKINLEY and BARANOF.

Back in 1935 the Army and Navy had agreed that the Army would operate its own ships except where naval opposition was expected, in which case the ships would be Navy manned. However, experience in the first part of World War II indicated that naval opposition by the enemy, in the form of submarines, could be encountered anywhere. In April 1941 the CNO proposed to the Chief of Staff of the Army that a board review the issue. The Board recommended on 28 Apr 41 that the Army "surrender operation of its transport service for the term of the present emergency" following procedures that it enumerated, the first of which was that the Navy would commission the Army transports with Navy crews as soon as possible. (The Army used the term "transports" for all ships in the Army Transport Service, including cargo ships and other types.) On 14 May 41 the Auxiliary Vessels Board recommended the implementation of this plan, which then covered 26 Army ships, and on 22 May 41 the Secretary of War approved the transfer of the ships, noting that jurisdiction over each ship was to pass at the time it was manned by the Navy. On 5 Jun 41 the Secretary of the Navy approved names for the 26 ships, all but three of which (AP 21-22 and AK-39) retained their Army names. The hull numbers AP 20-36 (less 23), AK 32-40, and APL-1 (for the barracks ship in Newfoundland) were soon assigned to them. The Navy manned, took over and commissioned AP 20-29 and 31-33 before the end of July, but it then found that it did not have the personnel to man the remaining ships, and ultimately the Navy was able to man only 15 of the 26 ships (all AP's). Five of the ships commissioned (AP-20, 28, and 31-33) were later returned to the Army because of more urgent demands for trained Navy personnel and because the Army wanted to convert them to hospital ships. In December 1941 the President suspended the obligation for the Navy to man Army ships, and the Navy directive for manning AP-36, APL-1, and AK 32-40 was cancelled on 30 Mar 42. Their hull numbers were officially listed as "not used" and the ships remained under Army control.

The subsequent careers of the two ships were quite similar. On 15 Oct 41 the Navy cancelled the Navy name IRWIN for AP-36 because at some time after early August the Army had replaced her civilian name of IRWIN with an Army name, JOHN L. CLEM. KENT got her Army name, ERNEST HINDS, after the Navy returned her in March 1942. The Army converted both ships into hospital ships in 1943-44 and back to transports in September 1945. Both were then used to haul Jamaican laborers to Florida and in early 1946 were turned over to the Public Health Service, which used ERNEST HINDS and possibly her sister as a floating isolation ward at Jacksonville, Florida. The two ships were soon placed in reserve and ERNEST HINDS was towed to the James River to join the postwar MC reserve fleet there.

Ship Notes:
AP Name Notes
28 KENT Ex USAT KENT 1941, ex SANTA TERESA 1936 (ID-3804, completed Nov 18). To Army 13 Apr 41. Completed Navy conversion 21 Dec 41. USAT ERNEST HINDS 1942, USAHS ERNEST HINDS 1943. From Army to MC reserve fleet 14 Apr 47. To buyer 20 May 57, scrapped by 15 Aug 58.
36 IRWIN Ex USAT IRWIN 1941, ex SANTA CECILIA 1936, ex GUATEMALA 1930, ex SANTA ANA 1929 (ID-2869, completed Jan 1918). Renamed JOHN L. CLEM by Army in late 1941, not acquired by Navy. From Army to MC 5 Dec 46. To buyer 21 Jan 48, scrapped by 21 Jul 48.

Page Notes:
AP        1941
Compiled:        31 May 2009
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2009