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USNS Henry Gibbins (T-AP 183).

USNS Henry Gibbins (T-AP 183).
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Class: DAVID C SHANKS (T-AP 180, C3-IN P&C)
Design: MC C3-IN P&C
Displacement (tons): 10,556 light, 15,440 full
Dimensions (feet): 489' oa, 465' wl x 70' e/wl x 26' max nav
Armament: none
Accommodations: 352-376 officers, 837-906 others including troops (berthing)
Speed (kts.): 16
Propulsion (HP): 8,500
Machinery: Geared steam turbines, 2 boilers (465psi/765deg), 1 screw

182GEORGE W GOETHALS1 Mar 1950Ingalls SB, Pascagoula7 Jan 194123 Jan 19421 Mar 1950
183HENRY GIBBINS1 Mar 1950Ingalls SB, Pascagoula23 Aug 194111 Sep 19421 Mar 1950
180DAVID C SHANKS1 Mar 1950Ingalls SB, Pascagoula27 Sep 194121 Oct 19421 Mar 1950
181FRED C AINSWORTH1 Mar 1950Ingalls SB, Pascagoula23 Jan 194220 Nov 19421 Mar 1950

APNameTInact/CustStrikeDisposalFateMA Sale/Depart
182GEORGE W GOETHALST20 Nov 1959/C1 Jul 19611 Nov 1960MA26 Oct 1970
183HENRY GIBBINST28 Dec 1959/T2 Dec 195928 Dec 1959MA/T3 Dec 1981
180DAVID C SHANKST27 Oct 1959/C1 Jul 19611 Nov 1960MA/T26 Jun 1973
181FRED C AINSWORTHT2 Nov 1959/C1 Jul 19611 Nov 1960MA/T26 Jun 1973

Class Notes:
On 9 October 1939 the Maritime Commission ordered MC hulls 106-109 from Ingalls for the United States Line, which wanted four C3 combination passenger-cargo ships (C3s in which the superstructure was enlarged for 165 passengers without giving up much cargo space) to replace the four ex-Army Type B "Hog Islanders" on its London service. These World War I-vintage ships were approaching the statutory age limit of 20 years for operational subsidy payments. The company gave the new ships the names of four of their once-popular "Hog Islanders," AMERICAN MERCHANT (ex Army transport AISNE), AMERICAN BANKER (ex CANTIGNY), AMERICAN FARMER (ex OURCQ), and AMERICAN SHIPPER (ex TOURS). A month later, however, a new Neutrality Act ("cash and carry") repealed the embargo on arms sales to belligerants but banned the presence of U.S. flagged ships in combat zones, effectively abandoning eight trade routes presumably including the one to London. The United States Line, after realizing that the war would not be short, no longer needed or wanted the ships and left Ingalls to build the ships for the MC. On 20 Aug 1940 the MC ordered three more C3s, MC hulls 164-166, from Ingalls for the American South African Line, whose routes were not subject to neutrality restrictious. For these ships the naval architect George Sharp produced a special C3 combination design designated C3-P P&C. The MC wanted to delay delivery of the four former United States Line ships as long as possible while the American South African could use its new ships immediately, and in amended contracts signed 20 Oct 1940 the MC exchanged hulls 106-108, which had been laid down between July and October 1940, for the American South African Line's hulls 164-166, which would be ready much later. MC hulls 106-108 were thus built to Sharp's C3-P P&C design (becoming the AP-55, later APA-25, class) while MC 109 and 164-166 were built to a design designated C3-IN P&C (possibly by Ingalls based on Sharp's C3-P P&C design) and given names of cities in Mississippi. In January 1941 Ingalls began the construction of the first of these, PASCAGOULA (Hull 109), but the other three were begun only after the MC shifted them to its Military Program as transports on 8 July 1941 and requisitioned them for the Army. All four ships were launched under their city names but the Army substituted the names of generals before the ships entered service. George Sharp prepared the plans for the conversion of the four ships to Army troopships. Any thoughts he may have harbored for elegance went over the side when it was found that the numerous conversion features had made the ships overweight, and in compensation the outer casing of the funnel was omitted leaving only a vertical pipe eight feet in diameter. The armored pilot house added to the aesthetic debacle.

The Army had initially planned to release the four ships for commercial use after the war, but in late 1946 or early 1947 it decided to retain them as peacetime transports and to give them extensive refits (including restoration of the missing funnel casing and removal of wartime armor). GOETHALS and GIBBINS were refitted in 1947-48 on the east coast by Atlantic Basin Iron Works at Brooklyn, and the other two were refitted at the same time on the west coast by Bethlehem Steel at San Francisco. AP 180-183 were among the many Army ships operating out of continental US ports that were to be acquired on 1 Mar 1950 for which Navy names, classification, and hull numbers were approved on 21 Feb 1950.

Ship Notes:
182GEORGE W GOETHALS109Ex USAT GEORGE W GOETHALS, ex merc. PASCAGOULA, ex AMERICAN MERCHANT. Completed, delivered, and title to Army 18 Sep 1942, various shortfalls remedied at New York Dec 1942-Mar 1943. Converted to carry military dependents (273 adults, 179 children) Jan 1946. Complete conversion to peacetime transport at Brooklyn around early Oct 1948. Title to Navy 1 Mar 1950. To MA custody 20 Nov 1959. To buyer 21 Nov 1970.
183HENRY GIBBINS164Ex USAT HENRY GIBBINS, ex merc. BILOXI, ex AMERICAN BANKER. Completed, delivered, and title to Army 27 Feb 1943. Converted to carry military dependents (273 adults, 179 children) Jan-Feb 1946. Complete conversion to peacetime transport at Brooklyn around late Oct 1948. At Bremerhaven when title transferred to the Navy 1 Mar 1950. Designated by the Navy 30 Oct 1959 for inactivation and transfer to the NDRF, was being inactivated when MA asked the Navy 18 Nov 1959 that she be transferred to the State of New York for use as a student dormitory and training ship by the New York Maritime College. Accordingly transferred to MA permanent custody and loaned by MA to NY Maritime Academy at Fort Schuyler as training ship EMPIRE STATE IV 28 Dec 1959. A JCS requirement that she be maintained in a condition allowing restoration to transport service in case of mobilization was reported in March 1968 as removed. Returned to MA and to Mass. Maritime Academy 30 Aug 1973 as BAY STATE. Returned to MA 4 Mar 1980. Sale 30 Jun 1981 failed. To buyer 18 Jan 1982.
180DAVID C SHANKS165Ex USAT DAVID C SHANKS, ex merc. GULFPORT, ex AMERICAN FARMER. Completed, delivered, and title to Army 24 Apr 1943. Altered slightly Feb 1946 for use as a combination vessel for carrying 426 dependents or civilians and 678 troops. Was the first of the quartet to be fully converted to a peacetime transport, at San Francisco between Aug 1947 and May 1948. Title to Navy 1 Mar 1950. To MA custody 27 Oct 1959. Sale 1 Mar 1973 failed. To buyer 24 Aug 1973.
181FRED C AINSWORTH166Ex USAT FRED C AINSWORTH, ex merc. PASS CHRISTIAN, ex AMERICAN SHIPPER. Completed and title to Army 4 Jun 1943. Altered slightly Feb 1946 for use as a combination vessel for carrying 426 officers and military dependents (war brides and children) plus 687 troops in her remaining troop compartments. Fully converted to peacetime transport Oct 1947-Aug 1948 at San Francisco. In transit from Yokohama to Seattle when title transferred to the Navy 1 Mar 1950. To MA custody 2 Nov 1959. Sale 1 Mar 1973 failed. To buyer 23 Aug 1973.

Page Notes:
Compiled: 18 Aug 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021
Special sources: Roland W. Charles, Troopships of World War II (Army Transportation Association, Washington, 1947), which was based on Army ship records long since lost; Captain Terry Tilton, USN, Ret., "Steel Ships at Pascagoula," in PowerShips (the journal of the Steamship Historical Society of America) No. 295 (Fall 2015) pp. 18-31; Mark H. Goldberg, Caviar & Cargo, The C3 Passenger Ships (Kings Point, N.Y., 1992).