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USS Echols (APB-37) on 15 April 1948
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Class:        BENEWAH (APB-35)
Design:        Navy LST
Displacement (tons):        2,189 light, 4,080 lim.
Dimensions (feet):        328.0' oa, 316.0' pp x 50.0' e x 11.2' lim.
Original Armament:        2-40mmQ 8-20mm (1945-47: APB 35, 38-40)
Later armaments:        2-40mmQ 8>6-20mmT (1946-55: APB-36); 2-40mmQ (1957-69: APB 36-37, 39-40);
1-40mmQ (1946-47: APB-37); none (1947-49: APB-37);
3-3"/50 2-40mmQ (1966-67: APB-35);
2-3"/50 2-40mmQ (1966-69: APB 36, 35)
Complement:        --
Speed (kts.):        10
Propulsion (HP):        1,600
Machinery:        G.M. diesels 2 screws (1,800 HP in APB 45-48)

Construction:
APB Name Reclas. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
38 MARLBORO 7 Aug 44 NYd Boston 25 Aug 44 17 Nov 44 18 Aug 45
39 MERCER 7 Aug 44 NYd Boston 25 Aug 44 17 Nov 44 19 Sep 45
40 NUECES 7 Aug 44 NYd Boston 2 Jan 45 6 May 45 30 Nov 45
35 BENEWAH 11 Aug 44 NYd Boston 2 Jan 45 6 May 45 19 Mar 46
36 COLLETON 11 Aug 44 NYd Boston 9 Jun 45 30 Jul 45 28 Jan 67
37 ECHOLS 11 Aug 44 NYd Boston 9 Jun 45 30 Jul 45 (No)

Disposition:
APB Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
38 MARLBORO 1969 1 Dec 63 7 May 65 Sold --
39 MERCER 7 Jan 70 -- -- USN --
40 NUECES 13 Mar 70 -- -- USN --
35 BENEWAH 26 Feb 71 1 Sep 73 22 May 74 Trf. --
36 COLLETON 15 Aug 69 1 Jun 73 6 Aug 74 Sold --
37 ECHOLS 1995? 22 Dec 95 12 Jun 03 Sold --

Class Notes:
FY 1944. On 11 Mar 44 CNO directed, and on 13 Mar 44 the Secretary of the Navy approved, the construction of 12 standard-type non-self-propelled barracks ships, APL 32-43. APL 32-40 were ordered from the Boston Navy Yard in June and August 1944. However on 11 Jul 44 CNO wrote to BuShips that forces afloat had on occasion requested that self-propelled barracks ships be furnished them "for obvious reasons" and added that, due to cutbacks in programs, there would become available propelling machinery and other auxiliary equipment sufficient to build several self-propelled APL's. BuShips replied on 27 Jul 44 that this plan was feasible and that it was designing an APL using the basic hull plans of an LST, as this hull could be quickly constructed. APL 35-40 were soon redesignated for construction under their APL contracts as larger self-propelled vessels with LST hulls. They were soon reclassified APBs, although they kept their APL hull numbers to avoid confusion. (One BuShips officer hoped the non-self-propelled APLs would eventually get a service craft designation like YPL or YF). Because of their APL origins, they were the only LST hulls that never had LST hull numbers. APL (later APB) 38-40 were selected for this program a few days before APL 35-37 and preceded them on the ways; they are listed here in the order built.

The objective of the conversion was to accommodate the maximum practicable number of personnel with reasonable "hotel accommodations," but nothing too elaborate and with minimum change from the present LST hull. They differed from standard LST's by having a second deck in the tank well, two complete superstructure decks, and a navigating bridge atop the second superstructure deck. The bow doors and ramp and 'tween decks ramp were omitted and the pilot house was relocated forward. A 21 Jun 45 CNO directive to provide for an additional 54 men led to the addition of a deckhouse, probably aft of the pilot house, with the extra accommodations. This gave the ships accommodations for 38 officers, 92 CPO's, and 1237 enlisted men, probably including ship's company. Unlike the APB-41 and APB-45 classes, their sole function was to accommodate as many men as possible, and they were not fitted to resupply or otherwise support other ships.

Ship Notes:
APB Name Notes
38 MARLBORO Ordered as APL-38 4 Aug 44, to APB-38 7 Aug 44. Decom. 5 May 47. In USN reserve 1946-63 (in service in reserve at Green Cove Springs, Florida 5 May 47 to 1959, and at Pascagoula, Miss., 1959-63, where she housed the crews of BARB (SSN-596) and DACE (SSN-607). Towed to Norfolk 1964 for disposal.
39 MERCER Ordered as APL-39 4 Aug 44, to APB-39 7 Aug 44. In USN reserve 1946-51 (in service in reserve at Green Cove Springs, Florida) and 1955-68. In commission 9 May 68 to 7 Jan 70 for Vietnam service. Moved to Portland, Ore., from Vallejo, Cal., in mid-1974 to support overhaul work there. To IX-502 1 Nov 75. Was at Sasebo, Japan, in 2000. To APL-39 ca. 7 Mar 01.
40 NUECES Ordered as APL-40 4 Aug 44, to APB-40 7 Aug 44. In USN reserve 1946-68 (in service in reserve at Green Cove Springs, Florida 15 May 47-3 Oct 55). In commission 3 May 68 to 13 Mar 70 for Vietnam service. Moved to Portland, Ore., from San Diego, Cal., in Aug 74 to support overhaul work there. To IX-503 1 Nov 75. Was in Yokosuka, Japan, in June 1999 and still there in 2007 (see www.ussnueces.org). To APL-40 ca. 7 Mar 01.
35 BENEWAH Ordered as APL-35 (with APL 32-34) 22 Jun 44, to APB-35 11 Aug 44. In USN reserve 1946-51 (decommissioned 30 Aug 46, in service in reserve at Green Cove Springs, Florida 3 Mar 47, recommissioned 9 Nov 51) and 1955-67 (in service in reserve at Newport News, Va., 1959-62, where she housed the crew of ENTERPRISE, CVAN-65, and at Philadelphia 1963-67, initially for the inactivation of ANTIETAM, CVS-36). Recommissioned 28 Jan 67 for Vietnam service. To IX-311 and decom. 26 Feb 71 at Subic Bay. Trf. to the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for further transfer to the Philippines in response to its need for a floating civilian hospital. She was renamed OSPITAL NG TULUNGAN (AH-3) but suffered a fire during conversion and did not enter service as a hospital. She may have been moved to the southern Philippines for use as a barracks ship and was reportedly sunk by the Philippine Navy in 1975 as a barrier reef.
36 COLLETON Ordered as APL-36 8 Jul 44, to APB-36 11 Aug 44. Completed 27 Sep 46, not commissioned until the Vietnam War. In USN reserve 1946-67 (in service in reserve at Boston from 8 Jan 47 to 1961, then at Philadelphia). Returned for inactivation to Bremerton, Wash., where she was placed in service in reserve 15 Dec 69 to support the inactivation of BENNINGTON (CVS-20).
37 ECHOLS Ordered as APL-37 8 Jul 44, to APB-37 11 Aug 44. Completed 30 Dec 47, in service in reserve 15 Apr 48, never commissioned. In USN reserve 1948-76 (in service in reserve at Boston 15 Apr 48 and served at Green Cove Springs, Florida from 20 Apr 48 to 1961 and at Norfolk 1961-76). To IX-504 1 Feb 76 and placed in service at Groton, Conn., as barracks ship for sub crews.

Page Notes:
APB        1944
Compiled:        30 Jun 2007
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2007