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USS James O'Hara (APA-90) on 1 May 1943
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Class:        FREDERICK FUNSTON (APA-89)
Design:        MC C3-S1-A3
Displacement (tons):        10,967 light, 16,150 lim.
Dimensions (feet):        492.0' oa, 465.0' pp x 69.5' e x 26.5' lim
Original Armament:        1-5"/51 3-3"/50 9-20mm (1943: APA-89)
Later armaments:        1-5"/51 3-3"/50 17<18-20mm (1943: both)
1-5"/38 2-3"/50 2-1.1"Q 16-20mm (1944: both); 1-5"/38 2-3"/50 2-40mmT 16-20mm (1945: APA-89);
1-5"/38 1-3"/50 2-40mmT 12-20mm (1945-46: APA-89)
Complement:        462 (1944)
Speed (kts.):        18.6
Propulsion (HP):        8,500
Machinery:        Allis-Chalmers turbine, 1 screw

Construction:
APA Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
89 FREDERICK FUNSTON 8 Apr 43 Seattle-Tacoma, Tacoma 21 Apr 41 27 Sep 41 24 Apr 43
90 JAMES O'HARA 15 Apr 43 Seattle-Tacoma, Tacoma 16 Jun 41 30 Dec 41 26 Apr 43

Disposition:
APA Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
89 FREDERICK FUNSTON 10 Feb 60 1 Jul 61 1 Nov 60 MA/R 21 May 69
90 JAMES O'HARA 14 Jan 60 1 Jul 61 1 Nov 60 MA/R 12 Jan 68

Class Notes:
No Navy FY (transferred from Army). Built by the MC under its Military Program for the Army (ordered on 30 Sep 40 and laid down on 21 Apr 41 and 16 Jun 41) and designated C3-S1-A3. On 17 Sep 41 the Joint Board approved a Navy request that the Army convert ten of its ships (the future AP-30, 34-35, 42-44, and 46-49), to combat unit loaded transports as soon as Army operating schedules permitted. On 29 Sep 41 the Acting CNO stated that six existing Army transports, along with the two new C3's under construction by the Maritime Commission, were eventually to be taken over by the Navy and asked the Bureau of Ships to assign hull numbers to them. They were designated AP 42-49 before the end of October 1941.

The Army, with Navy assistance, proceeded with the conversion of the still-incomplete AP 48-49 to combat unit loaded transports. The main alteration was the replacement on each side of the ship of four sets of boat davits each supporting two ordinary lifeboats with three sets of Welin triple-bank gravity davits each supporting three landing boats. At the same time the designed armament of 4-5"/38 DP guns was replaced with 1-5"/51 SP and 3-3"/50 AA guns. The 4-1.1" quads in the original armament were retained. The planned 5"/38 gun director was deleted, although the foundation remained. The armament of AP-48 was listed in Navy records in July 1942 as 1-5"/51. In August the 1.1" were deleted and 8-20mm were ordered located on their foundations.

Because of personnel shortages the Navy was only able to man AP 42-43, and AP 44-49 remained in Army hands. Their Navy manning was deferred in Jul 41 and officially cancelled on 30 Mar 42, but word of this cancellation apparently did not reach those working on AP 48-49. Confusion over the future of the two ships became evident on 1 May 1942 when the Supervisor of Shipbuilding at Seattle told the Bureau of Ships that a naval crew had been assigned to AP-48 and some personnel had reported for duty. He added that the plans under which the ship was being built provided only for a small merchant crew in Army service and forwarded a letter from the ship's prospective Executive Officer listing the many ways in which the ships failed to meet the standards for Navy manning. On 16 Jul 42 the Puget Sound Navy Yard reported to Washington that it had heard unofficially that AP 48-49 were to be operated by the Army with civilian crews and requested confirmation. After checking with the Army, the VCNO told Puget Sound on 10 Aug 42 that the Navy would not acquire the ships and that all directives issued from Washington for Navy manning of the two ships and conversion features not already implemented were cancelled. The issue of landing craft to the ships was also cancelled, although life rafts were to be supplied. The two ships were completed for the Army in October and November 1942.

On 3 Apr 43 VCNO advised that the Army would soon turn over the two ships at New York where they would be commissioned as APA 89-90 and given Navy conversions. Since they already had many features of combat loaded transports, they required relatively brief conversions, although because of their origins they did not completely conform to Navy practice for personnel accommodations, etc. They remained the property of the Army, were officially operated by the Navy under Army direction during the war, and were returned to the Army at the end of the war. The Army converted them back to civilian-manned transports for peacetime service, as had originally been intended when the ships were designed in 1940. When all the large Army Transportation Service ships passed to the Navy's new Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) on 1 Mar 50, these two ships again became Navy ships with the designations T-AP 178-179.

Ship Notes:
APA Name MC# Notes
89 FREDERICK FUNSTON 167 Ex USAT FREDERICK FUNSTON, completed and to Army 28 Oct 42. Desig. AP-48 Oct 41, canc. 30 Mar 42. Converted by Todd SYs, Hoboken, N.J., in April 1943. Decommissioned and returned to Army 4 Apr 46, stk. 17 Apr 46. Initial Army conversion at San Francisco in mid-1946. Full Army conversion awarded ca. Dec 47 to Bethlehem Steel, San Francisco, begun in late Jan 48, and completed ca. Nov 48. Reacq. from Army and reclas. AP-178 1 Mar 50 (on list 28 Apr 50) for service with MSTS. To NDRF 10 Feb 60. To buyer 19 Jun 69, scrapped by 28 Jul 70.
90 JAMES O'HARA 168 Ex USAT JAMES O'HARA, completed and to Army 30 Nov 42. Desig. AP-49 Oct 41, canc. 30 Mar 42. Converted by Atlantic Basin IW, Brooklyn, N.Y., between 15-29 April 1943. Decommissioned and returned to Army 5 Apr 46, stk. 17 Apr 46. Initial Army conversion by Bethlehem Steel, San Francisco, in mid-1946. Full Army conversion awarded ca. Dec 47 to Bethlehem Steel, San Francisco, begun in mid-Feb 48, and completed ca. Jan 49. Reacq. from Army and reclas. AP-179 1 Mar 50 (on list 28 Apr 50) for service with MSTS. To NDRF 14 Jan 60. To buyer 6 Feb 68, scrapped by 6 Dec 68.

Page Notes:

APA        1943
Compiled:        12 May 2007
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2007