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USNS Pvt Leonard C Brostrom (T-AK 255) before her heavy lift conversion.

USNS Pvt Leonard C Brostrom (T-AK 255) before her heavy lift conversion.
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Design: MC C4-S-B1
Displacement (tons): 8,569 light, 22,094 full
Dimensions (feet): 520' oa, 503' wl x 72' e/wl x 33' max nav
Armament: none
Accommodations: 14 officers, 43 unlicensed
Speed (kts.): 17
Propulsion (HP): 9,000
Machinery: Geared steam turbines, 2 boilers (465psi/750deg), 1 screw

255PVT LEONARD C BROSTROM3 Aug 1950Sun SB & DD5 Dec 194210 May 194330 Aug 1950

AKNameTInact/CustStrikeDisposalFateMA Sale/Depart
255PVT LEONARD C BROSTROMT29 May 19801982?8 Jun 1982MA/S--

Class Notes:
On 23 December 1949 Commander MSTS wrote to the Army's Chief of Transportation that it had been brought to his attention that USAT PVT LEONARD C BROSTROM, which was erroneously listed as an "aircraft cargo ship" along with the future AKV 3-7, would be withdrawn from Army service about 20 December 1949 and placed in a standby status. This vessel was a C4-S-B1 design, the only C4 actually completed as originally intended for use as a tank carrier. Four hatches were 30' x 20', one was 27.5' x 20' and one was 18' x 118'. The ship had a cubic capacity of over 726,000 cu. ft. (bale) at 22,000 tons displacement. The greater displacement made the BROSTROM less economical to operate in general cargo service as compared with a Victory cargo ship having a capacity of 453,000 cu. ft. (bale) at 15,000 tons displacement. It was understood that the BROSTROM had been used by the Army Transportation Service on special missions involving the movement of combat equipment. Such special services could be handled in the future by MSTS with AKA's (Attack Cargo Ships). He concluded that the BROSTROM should be added to the list of ships which were not required by MSTS. In early January the Army responded that it was preparing the paperwork to declare the vessel surplus to the needs of the Army and to transfer title back to the MC.

The acquisition and reactivation of additional ships for MSTS following the outbreak of the Korean War led to the appearance of BROSTROM among six cargo ships (T-AK 251-256) requested by Commander MSTS on 21 July 1950 with a comment that BROSTROM (AK 255) could also be classified as T-AKM 1 (Cargo Ship, Mechanized) as she was fitted to carry tanks. On 24 July Commander MSTS authorized his regional deputy commanders to accept custody of the six cargo ships from MA and activate them the soonest practicable. AK 255 was among 18 Maritime Admininstration ships to be transferred to the Navy for which names, classification, and hull numbers were approved on 31 Jul 1950.

On 29 July 1952 Commander MSTS wrote to CNO that the Department of the Navy Program Objectives for FY 1953 contained provision for the conversion by MSTS of two cargo ships for use as heavy lifts. Following discussions with MARAD, Commander MSTS decided that the conversion of new MARINER class ships for this purpose was not feasible. Instead he proposed to convert USNS PVT LEONARD C BROSTROM (T-AK 255) for heavy lift service. For the second ship he recommended that the Navy acquire the C4-S-B5 cargo ship MARINE FIDDLER from MARAD. PVT LEONARD C BROSTROM was converted to a heavy lift ship by Bethlehem Steel Co., 56th St. Yard, Brooklyn, with two 150-ton booms. She also retained two 30-ton, eight 10-ton,and four 5-ton booms. Before their heavy lift conversions BROSTROM (C4-S-B1) had between the forward and after superstructures four kingpost pairs serving three oversized hatches while MARINE FIDDLER (C4-S-B5) had five serving four smaller hatches, and BROSTROM's forecastle extended well aft of the forward deckhouse instead of stopping at it. (It was shortened during the conversion.) During the 1960s and 1970s PVT LEONARD C BROSTROM carried such diverse cargoes as chemical weapons to Okinawa for Project Red Hat in 1963-64, a 101-long-ton turbo-electric power plant, several 85-long-ton diesel-electric locomotives, a 116-long-ton turbine-generator car, and a 110-long-ton IMODCO tanker mooring buoy from Yokohama to Taiwan. She was nominated by MSC on 7 Apr 1980 for retirement due age and deteriorated material condition.

Ship Notes:
255PVT LEONARD C BROSTROM735Ex merc. MARINE EAGLE, completed 18 Sep 1943. Operated by American-Hawaiian SS Co. during WWII. To Olympia reserve fleet 29 Oct 1946. To Army 27 Mar 1948 and renamed. To Olympia reserve fleet 27 Jan 1950. To MSTS custody 3 Aug 1950. To MA custody 29 May 1980. Sold for scrapping under the MA Ship Exchange Program. To buyer 25 Oct 1982. (No strike found, she was still in the 1 April 1982 Naval Vessel Register but was shown in a later NVR as BU in October 1982.)

Page Notes:
Compiled: 7 Aug 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021