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USNS Lt James E Robinson (T-AKV 3).
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Class: LT JAMES E ROBINSON (T-AKV 3, VC2-S-AP3)
Design: MC VC2-S-AP3
Displacement (tons): 5,614 light, 15,200 full
Dimensions (feet): 455' oa, 444' wl x 62' e/wl x 29' max nav
Accommodations: 14 officers, 35 unlicensed
Speed (kts.): 17
Propulsion (HP): 8,500
Machinery: Geared steam turbines, 2 boilers (465psi/750deg), 1 screw
|3||LT JAMES E ROBINSON||1 Mar 1950||Oregon SB||25 Nov 1943||20 Jan 1944||1 Mar 1950|
|4||PVT JOSEPH F MERRELL||1 Mar 1950||California SB||27 May 1944||17 Jul 1944||1 Mar 1950|
|5||SGT JACK J PENDLETON||1 Mar 1950||Oregon SB||15 Apr 1944||26 May 1944||1 Mar 1950|
|3||LT JAMES E ROBINSON||T||17 Mar 1976/C||16 Jan 1981||26 May 1983||MA/S||--|
|4||PVT JOSEPH F MERRELL||T||Jan 1974||31 Jan 1974||26 Aug 1974||MA/S||--|
|5||SGT JACK J PENDLETON||T||--||15 Feb 1974||25 Sep 1973||Lost||--|
As of 31 August 1948 the Army had 12 VC2-S-AP3 Victory ships. Of these PENDLETON was then listed as under conversion for the Air Force, at which time she received miscellaneous alterations including the enlargement of her hatches. At the same time MERRELL and ROBINSON were listed as repairing for the Air Force and were probably similarly modified. In February 1950 MERRELL and PENDLETON were the only Army Victory ships listed to support the Air Force in addition to serving as troop support ships, but ROBINSON had also been so listed in 1949. The two large-hatch Liberties that became AKV 6-7 (q.v.) were also then listed by the Army for Air Force support but unlike the Victories had no other assignment. Upon acquisition the Navy classified the three enlarged-hatch VC2's as aircraft transports (AKV 3-5) instead of AK's.
AKV 3-5 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. They ended up being used primarily as cargo ships and were reclassified AK 274-276 effective 7 May 1959 by the same OPNAV Notice that reclassified 36 former escort carriers as AKV 8-43.
ROBINSON supported the 1960-1961 season of Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica. On her way home to the U.S. she was diverted to Fremantle, Australia, where she embarked temporary equipment flown there for a special project of the Office of Naval Research in the Indian Ocean that was to include an extended stay at sea. The equipment included special antennas strung from her cargo booms, generators and control panels installed below decks, and two trailers secured on top of number 3 and 4 hatches. On completion of this mission a few months later she landed the special equipment, reverted to normal cargo service, and returned to New York in late 1961. She was to have been turned over to MARAD in 1962 but was retained for more special operations, and on 30 October 1962 CNO approved the change in classification of T-AK 274 to T-AG 170 effective 1 December 1962. From late 1962 to early 1964 ROBINSON carried out "special logistics operations" as a cable transport ship in the South Atlantic and the Indian Oceans, operating out of Cape Town and Durban, South Africa, and ranging the African coast from Liberia to Kenya. (For other cable transports see AK 280 and YAG 55.) On 15 April 1964 CNO changed the class and hull number of USNS MIZAR from T-AK 272 to T-AGOR 11 effective 15 April 1964 and the class and hull number of USNS LT JAMES E ROBINSON reverted back from T-AG 170 to T-AK 274 effective 1 July 1964. ROBINSON returned to New York on 31 May 1964 via Suez and Rota, Spain and resumed transatlantic cargo runs as an AK to western European ports.
|3||LT JAMES E ROBINSON||86||Ex merc. CZECHOSLOVAKIA VICTORY, completed 11 Mar 1944. Loan to Army 3 May 1948. To AK 274 7 May 1959. To AG 170 1 Dec 1962 for special operations, to AK 274 1 Jul 1964 for more cargo service. To MA custody 17 Mar 1976.|
|4||PVT JOSEPH F MERRELL||33||Ex merc. GRANGE VICTORY, completed 25 Aug 1944. Title to Army 6 Apr 1948. To AK 275 7 May 1959. Sustained heavy hull damage in a collision at sea with M/V PEARL VENTURE on 29 Dec 1973, taken to Port Hueneme, Calif., and ready for sale there "as is - where is" as of 28 Jan 1974. MA efforts to sell failed 20 Jun 1974, final disposition unknown. PEARL VENTURE, a motor bulk carrier of 9,214 tons was built in 1968 and scrapped in Korea as MYUNG JIN in March 1986.|
|5||SGT JACK J PENDLETON||109||Ex merc. MANDAN VICTORY, completed 19 Jun 1944. Title to Army 23 Apr 1948. To AK 276 7 May 1959. Grounded 25 Sep 1973 on the reef around Triton Island in the South China Sea about 170 miles east of Danang, South Vietnam while carrying a cargo of ammunition back to the US for reconditioning. Salvage forces were on site when Typhoons Opal and Nora forced them to withdraw, and aerial photographs dated 22 Oct 1963 showed that the ship had been driven up the beach above the low tide waterline making her unsalvageable. Typhoon Ruth then disrupted equipment and cargo recovery efforts. The wreck was abandoned Nov 1974.|
Compiled: 14 Aug 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021