Construction of the General S. D. Sturgis
(AP-137) was begun in 12 November 1943 at Kaiser Shipbuilding Corp., in
Richmond, California and she was launched on 12 November 1943. The
ship was named after General Samuel Davis Sturgis
(United States Military Academy, Class of 1846).
After shakedown cruises she was acquired
by the U.S. Navy on 31 March 1944 and placed in ferry commission on 24
April 1944 for transfer to Portland, Oregon. She was placed in full
commission at Portland, Oregon on 10 July 1944.
Designed as a transport, the Sturgis was necessarily
lightly armed with only four single 5"/38
dual-purpose gun mounts, four twin 1.1" gun mounts (later replaced by
four twin 40mm gun mounts) and 15 twin 20mm gun mounts. Enough to
perhaps be annoying but not enough to stave off a serious attack.
By the same token, she was slow with a single propeller that could churn
out no more than 18 knots.
Sturgis served extensively in the Pacific ferrying men and materials to
places that became famous as a consequence of the war. She
carried part of Admiral Halsey's 3d Fleet
staff via Eniwetok to Pearl Harbor She made a round-trip,
troop-carrying voyage from San Francisco to Langemak Bay and Hollandia,
New Guinea; and San Pedro, Leyte as the Pacific campaigns reached a
She then headed for Europe, departing San
Francisco 16 June 1945 for France. After embarking troops at Marseilles
9 July, she departed the next day to redeploy them in the Pacific.
Debarking her passengers at Manila on 20
General S. D. Sturgis sailed from that port six days later with
officers and officials of the United States, Australia, Canada,
Netherlands East Indies, China, and the Philippines, delivering them to
Tokyo Bay 31 August to witness the historic Japanese surrender
ceremonies there on 2 September. The ship got underway on 26 September
for Seattle arriving there on 8 October. She then made three round-trip
voyages from the West Coast to Japanese ports, supporting occupation
troops before departing San Francisco on an around-the-world voyage
calling at Manila, Singapore, Calcutta (April 15), and Port Said, and
arriving in New York on 10 May 1946 with 3,248 unattached
She was decommissioned in New York on 24 May
1946 and was delivered to the WSA (War Shipping Administration) for peacetime operation as an Army
transport, and then struck from the Naval Register (date unknown.).
One Atlantic run as an Army transport was
made in November 1946 as testified to by the ship's onboard newspaper and
the photos on the following pages. The newspaper contained
articles about separation procedures at Camp Kilmer, profiles about the
newspaper staff and some sports scores. There was also a guide to New
York Harbor and a hand drawn map of the harbor.
The Sturgis continued to serve as a personnel
transport during the Korean War and earned three battle stars. She
was ultimately scrapped in February 1980