A mammoth former ocean liner built in 1921 and purchased by the War Department in 1939. Manned by the Coast Guard, the ship served as an amphibious flagship throughout the war, earning battle stars in eight seperate operations. By late January 1944 he and his fellow Guardsmen joined 1,617 combat-ready marines aboard the USS Leonard Wood in a landing operation--the capture of Kawjalein atoll in the Marshall Islands, western Pacific. From there, the force moved to Eniwetok atoll, another in the Marshall group. the mission was the same--capture and secure the island from the Japanese.
Saipan and beyond. -- After a return to the U.S. for repairs and alterations, the ship headed back--this time with 1,900 marines for the assault on Saipan island. From Saipan, it was back to Pearl Harbor and on to Guadalcanal with a fresh cargo of more then1,800 soldiers. Then came the islands of Peliliu, Anguar and Manus. more fighting, more casualties. To Guam, Leyte Gulf, New Guinea, Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines.The war seemed endless.
As 1945 drew to a close, the grand old ship was assigned to troop transports between San Francisco and Manila. Her Coast Guard crew debarked in March 1946. She was sold for scrap two years later. The Coast Guardsmen got out in 1946 and read in the Philidelphia Evening Bulletin where she was sold for scrap for $65,750. Then the outfit that bought her found $200,000 worth of lead ballast in her hull!