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USNS Upshur (T-AP 198).

USNS Upshur (T-AP 198).
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Class: BARRETT (T-AP 196, P2-S1-DN3)
Design: SCB Project Nos. 14B and 14D (modified), conversions of MC P2-S1-DN3
Displacement (tons): 11,203 light, 17,630 full
Dimensions (feet): 533'9" oa, 500 wl x 73'3" e/wl x 27'1" max nav
Armament: none
Accommodations: 37 officers and 182 crew ship's company, berthing for 414 officers and 1,709-1,746 others including troops
Speed (kts.): 19
Propulsion (HP): 12,500
Machinery: Geared steam turbines, 2 boilers (615psi/850deg), 1 screw

Construction:
APNameAcqBuilderKeelLaunchSvc
196BARRETT21 May 1952New York SB1 Jun 194927 Jun 195021 May 1952
197GEIGER13 Sep 1952New York SB1 Aug 19499 Oct 195013 Sep 1952
198UPSHUR20 Dec 1952New York SB30 Sep 19499 Jan 195120 Dec 1952

Disposition:
APNameTInactStrikeDisposalFateMA Sale/Depart
196BARRETTT12 Apr 1973/C1 Jul 19731 Aug 1973MA/T15 Jun 2007
197GEIGERT27 Apr 1971/C12 Feb 19801 Jul 1972MA/T15 Sep 1986
198UPSHURT2 Apr 1973/C2 Apr 19732 Apr 1973MA/S--

Class Notes:
On 1 June, 1 August, and 30 September 1949 three round-the-world liners were laid down for the American President Lines by the New York SB Co. in Camden, NJ. Four more similar ships were envisaged, ultimately permitting the company to offer a sailing in the round-the-world service every two weeks. The ships were to carry 204 first class passengers and call at 30 ports in 17 countries during each voyage. They were designated MC hulls 2914-2916 and their design was designated P2-S1-DN1 by the Maritime Commission as part of its post-World War II replacement program. The first ship, PRESIDENT JACKSON, was launched in June 1950 and her planned completion was accelerated to December 1950 for a scheduled maiden voyage in January 1951. Her sisters, PRESIDENT ADAMS and PRESIDENT HAYES, were scheduled to be launched in August and October 1950.

On 29 August 1950 soon after the outbreak of the Korean War, SECDEF wrote to the Secretary of Commerce that the Maritime Administration had contracts with shipbuilders for one passenger liner and five combination passenger and cargo vessels, MC hulls 2912-2917. Concurrently contracts had been entered into with certain ship operators to purchase these six vessels upon their completion. In accordance with the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 features had been included in the designs of these ships to make them suitable for economical and speedy conversion into naval or military auxiliaries. The Joint Chiefs of Staff had now strongly recommended and SECDEF concurred, in view of the present critical military situation (the outbreak of war in Korea), that the sales contracts on four of the vessels (MC hulls 2914 to 2917) be cancelled and the vessels be converted concurrently with construction to troop transports for assignment to the military services. MARAD announced on 16 September 1950 that MC hulls 2914-2916 and the superliner UNITED STATES (MC hull 2917) would be taken over and completed as troopships for the Navy. On 1 November 1950 SECDEF informed the Secretary of Commerce that the JCS had reconsidered their previous recommendation and now advised that under conditions short of full mobilization the superliner could not be efficiently employed as a troop transport and that this vessel should be completed as a commercial passenger liner. SECDEF accordingly withdrew his request for her conversion to a troop transport, although funds had already been spent on design work. The conversion of MC hulls 2914 to 2916, however, was carried through to completion. MC hulls 2912-1913, whose conversion was not considered, were the passenger liners INDEPENDENCE and CONSTITUTION. CNO passed to MARAD on 27 October 1950 the desired conversion characteristics for MC hulls 2914-2916 and MARAD changed their design designation to P2-S1-DN3 as converted for trooping. On 17 May 1951 Acting SECNAV asked the Secretary of Commerce to transfer the ships to the Navy upon completion as modified troop transports. Their new Navy designations and names were approved on 2 January 1951. Approved Navy characteristics for Troop Transport (AP) and (AP) (modified) conversions from MA type P2-S1-DN1, SCB Projects No. 14B and 14D, were promulgated on 1 December 1952 with a final change on 25 September 1957.

Contingency designs for other troopship conversions were also prepared at this time. Approved characteristics for a Troop Transport (AP) conversion from a superliner hull (P6-S4-DS1, SS UNITED STATES), SCB Project No. 71, were promulgated on 20 November 1952 with a final change on 25 March 1957; approved characteristics for the conversion of SS MARIPOSA and MONTEREY (built 1931-32 and in postwar layup in 1952) to troop transports (AP), SCB Project No. 14E, were promulgated on 18 December 1952 with a final change on 25 September 1957; approved characteristics for a Troop Transport conversion from MA hull type P3-S2-DL2 (INDEPENDENCE and CONSTITUTION), SCB Project 14C, were promulgated on 15 January 1953 with a final change on 25 September 1957; and approved characteristics for the conversion of passenger ships to troop transports (AP), Project 120, for purposes of mobilization planning, were promulgated on 16 March 1954 with a final change on 13 December 1957. None of these projects was proceeded with.

Ship Notes:
APNameMANotes
196BARRETT2914(ex-PRESIDENT JACKSON, completed 21 May 1952). Delivered by builder to MSTS. Determined as excess to current MSC requirements and to MA custody 12 Apr 1973 for one year. The Navy then informed MARAD that she was in excess of Navy mobilization requirements and was a candidate for disposal if other employment could not be identified. Loaned by MA to NYS Maritime Academy 5 Sep 1973 as EMPIRE STATE V (replacing EMPIRE STATE IV, ex-HENRY GIBBINS). Replaced 1990 by EMPIRE STATE VI, ex MORMACTIDE (MA hull 95), and to MA reserve fleet 4 Apr 1990 as STATE. Candidate for USCG fire fighting research (see AP 198), then heavy training use while in JRRF, then historic review. Contract Jun 2007 with Bay Bridge Enterprises, Chesapeake, VA; BU completed 8 Aug 2008.
197GEIGER2915(ex-PRESIDENT ADAMS, completed 13 Sep 1952). Renamed 2.1.1951. Delivered by builder to MSTS. Determined Jan 1971 as excess to current military requirements and to MA custody 27 Apr 1971 for retention under full preservation. Loaned 12 Feb 1980 to Mass. Maritime Academy as BAY STATE IV (replacing BAY STATE III, ex EMPIRE STATE IV, ex-HENRY GIBBINS). Severe damage from engine room fire 22 Dec 1981 while moored at the Academy. Reportedly struck again 1 Apr 1983 after fire. Returned to MA reserve fleet 11 Aug 1983 for repairs. Contract to BU 15 Sep 1986. BU 23 Oct 1986.
198UPSHUR2916(ex-PRESIDENT HAYES, completed 20 Dec 1952). Delivered by builder to MSTS. Transferred by MSC to MA custody in the port of Boston 2 Apr 1973 and simultaneously by MA on indefinite loan to the Maine Maritime Academy as STATE OF MAINE (replaced ANCON, AGC 4). Returned to MA Sep 1995, replaced 1997 by ex-USNS TANNER (T-AGS 40). Transferred late 1995 to the US Coast Guard and relocated to Mobile, Ala., to be used as a platform for fire-fighting testing. Blown across the Mobile River and aground 2005 by Hurricane Katrina, further damaged 2008 by Hurricane Ike. Wreck withdrawn from the NDRF inventory 23 Nov 2010 and under demolition at Brownsville, Tex, as of 9 April 2011.

Page Notes:
Compiled: 14 Aug 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021