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USNS Greenville Victory (T-AK 237) on 5 December 1957 in Kainan Bay, Antarctica.

USNS Greenville Victory (T-AK 237) on 5 December 1957 in Kainan Bay, Antarctica.
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Design: MC VC2-S-AP3
Displacement (tons): 4,512 light, 15,200 full (257-260 (USN): 4,660 light, 11,540 full)
Dimensions (feet): 455' oa, 444' wl x 62' e/wl x 29' max nav (257-260: 455' oa x 437' pp x 62' e/wl x 27' max nav)
Armament: (T-AK 237, 240) none; (AK 259-260: 1955) 4-40mmT
Accommodations: 237-240 and 256: 14 officers, 35 unlicensed; 257-260: 9-11 officers, 136-155 enlisted
Speed (kts.): 17
Propulsion (HP): 8,500
Machinery: Geared steam turbines, 2 boilers (465psi/750deg), 1 screw

237GREENVILLE VICTORY1 Mar 1950California SB21 Mar 194424 May 19441 Mar 1950/S
238HAITI VICTORY, see AGM 31 Mar 1950Permanente Metals #224 Apr 194420 Jul 19441 Mar 1950/S
239KINGSPORT VICTORY, see AG 1641 Mar 1950California SB4 Apr 194429 May 19441 Mar 1950/S
240PVT JOHN R TOWLE1 Mar 1950Oregon SB9 Dec 194419 Jan 19451 Mar 1950/S
256DALTON VICTORY, see AGM 531 Jul 1950California SB8 Apr 19446 Jun 19449 Aug 1950/S
257ALTAIR, see AKS 327 Jul 1951Oregon SB20 Apr 194430 May 194431 Jan 1952/C
258ANTARES, see AKS 3323 Jul 1951Oregon SB6 Apr 194419 May 194412 Feb 1952/C
259ALCOR16 Jul 1951Oregon SB28 Feb 194429 Apr 19441 Mar 1952/C
260BETELGEUSE31 Jul 1951California SB11 Feb 194410 Apr 194415 Apr 1952/C

AKNameTDecom/CustStrikeDisposalFateMA Sale/Depart
237GREENVILLE VICTORYT22 Mar 1976/C16 Jan 198117 Feb 1983MA/S--
240PVT JOHN R TOWLET25 Aug 198031 Jul 198226 May 1982MA/S--
259ALCOR30 Dec 1968/D31 Dec 19687 Jan 1970MA/S--
260BETELGEUSE15 Jan 1971/D1 Feb 19742 Dec 1975MA/S--

Class Notes:
As of 31 August 1948 the Army had 21 Victory (VC2) cargo ships, including 12 of the more powerful VC2-S-AP3 type and 9 of the VC2-S-AP2 type. By this time the Victory cargo ship had replaced the Liberty ship in the Army fleet except for the large-hatch Z-EC2-S-C5 type (see the AKV 6 class). Four Army VC2-S-AP3 cargo ships, OGLETHORPE VICTORY, PLYMOUTH VICTORY, CARROLL VICTORY and LAWRENCE VICTORY, were laid up or sold commercial in 1948-1949 and DALTON VICTORY was laid up in 1950, leaving seven to pass to the Navy in 1950. Of these three had hatches that had been enlarged by the Army and the Navy classed them as aircraft transports (AKV 3-5).

Of the remaining four, AK 237-240, were among the Army ships operating out of continental US ports that were to be acquired on 1 Mar 1950 for which names, classification, and hull numbers were approved on 21 Feb 1950. AK 256 (a former Army ship) was among 18 Maritime Admiminstration ships to be transferred to the Navy for which names, classification, and hull numbers were approved on 31 Jul 1950. On 7 February 1951 SECNAV informed the Secretary of Commerce that the Navy had a requirement for six additional AKAs and six additional AKs and asked for the transfer for reactivation of AKA 3, 4, 96, 97, 99, and 103 and the transfer of six VC2-S-AP3 Victory ships, ABERDEEN VICTORY, ELMIRA VICTORY, NAMPA VICTORY, ROCKLAND VICTORY, COLUMBIA VICTORY, and PIERRE VICTORY. The Commerce Department agreed on 14 March 1951 but noted that ELMIRA VICTORY was then under charter. Subsequently the Navy deleted her and PIERRE VICTORY from its request. On 26 July 1951 Navy names and the designation AK 257-260 were approved for four MA cargo ships recently acquired by the Navy. Approved characteristics for MA hulls (VC-S-AP3), AK alterations, SCB Project No. 86, were promulgated on 10 September 1953 with a final change on 25 September 1957. (This project is unidentified.)

AK 259-260 were converted to FBM cargo ships (T-AK-FBM) after nearly a decade of service as regular MSTS cargo ships. ALCOR underwent two restricted availabilities at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard between August and November 1960 in which she was altered to transport, monitor, and handle Polaris missiles and their parts. BETELGEUSE was first modified to carry Polaris missiles and components in the summer of 1960 and was further modified between 1 June and 7 September 1962 with the installation of vertical stowage of the Polaris missiles in Number Three hold. With this conversion she could transport fourteen missiles in Number Three hold, five missiles (in containers) in Number Four hold, and four missiles (in containers) on the main deck, one on each side of both Number Four and Five hatches, for a total capacity of twenty-three missiles. AK 259-260 became the prototypes for AK 279-282 (q.v.), converted between 1962 and 1970.

BETELGEUSE (AK 260) was laid up 1971 at NSY Philadelphia using an experimental preservation method in which the ship was completely covered from bow to stem by a single air-supported, plastic structure within which dehumidified air was circulated. When this covering was torn open during a storm ca. 1973-74 after power was lost and the backup diesel failed to start, it was decided to sell the ship for scrapping. The ship broke free from her tow on 17 January 1976 while enroute to Luria Brothers at Brownsville, Tex., and washed onto the beach at Rodanthe, North Carolina. After nearly two months of round-the-clock work she was refloated and completed the trip to the breakers.

The basic Victory ship measured 455.25' overall, 444' at the waterline, and 436.5' between perpendiculars. The length between perpendiculars was sometimes reported as the waterline length, leading to conflicting reports.

Ship Notes:
237GREENVILLE VICTORY18Completed 8 Jul 1944. To Army 30 Mar 1948. To buyer 26 May 1983.
240PVT JOHN R TOWLE162Ex merc. APPLETON VICTORY, completed 23 Mar 1945. To Army 20 Jun 1946. Hull ice-strengthened and conducted annual Antarctic resupply missions 1956-61 and 1963-70. Still active there in 1980 and also operated off Greenland. Replaced by NORTHERN LIGHT (T-AK 284). To MA custody 25 Aug 1980. To buyer 4 Jun 1982.
259ALCOR101Ex merc. ROCKLAND VICTORY, completed 19 May 1944. To Navy custody 16 Jul 1951. Title to Navy 31 May 1956. To buyer 2 Feb 1970.
260BETELGEUSE10Ex merc. COLOMBIA VICTORY, completed 31 May 1944. To USN custody 31 Jul 1951. Title to Navy 31 May 1956. To buyer ca. Jan 1976.

Page Notes:
Compiled: 7 Aug 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021
Sources: NARA: RG19 Item S-13 Entry 1022-R(UD) (AK 260)