Herkimer AK-188

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This Month in Naval History
Herkimer AK-188

Herkimer

A county in New York.

(AK-188: dp. 2,382 (lt.); 1. 338'6"; b. 50'; dr. 21'1"; s.11.5 k.; cpl. 85, a. 1 3", 6 20mm., cl. Alamosa, T.C1-3I-AV1)

Herkimer (AK-188) was laid down under Maritime Commission contract by Walter Butler Shipbuilder, Inc., Superior, Wis., 10 April 1944; launched 2 July 1944; sponsored by Miss Ann Farley; acquired by the Navy 25 June 1945; and commissioned at New Orleans, La., 14 July 1945, Lt. Carlton W. Crocker, Jr., in command.

After shakedown in the Gulf of Mexico, Herkimer loaded cargo at Gulfport, Miss., then departed 22 August for the Western Pacific. She reached Subic Bay, Luzon 7 October; unloaded refrigerated cargo; and sailed the 13th carrying Army equipment for occupation forces stationed in Japan. She arrived Sasebo 20 October and operated there until 30 December when she departed for Yokosuka. Following her arrival 2 January 1946, she was stripped of Navy gear. She then steamed to Yokohama 16 January, decommissioned 1 February, and transferred to the Army.

Herkimer was operated by a Japanese merchant crew for the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Japan until 1 July 1950 when she was reacquired by the Navy. After refitting, she was assigned to MSTS 28 February 1951 and designated T-AK 188. Manned by a civilian crew, she participated in the Korean supply run from Japan supporting the repulse of Communist aggression in South Korea. Operating out of Moji, Kure, and Yokohama, she transported vital military cargo to American held South Korean ports during the remainder of the conflict.

Following the establishment 27 July 1953 of an uneasy truce, Herkimer continued supply runs between Japan and South Korea. In response to the scheduled transfer of North Vietnam to Communist control, she departed Yokohama 8 November 19.54 to provide support for Operation "Passage to Freedom." She reached Haiphong, North Vietnam, 15 November; and during the next 2 months she transported cargo southward to St. Jacques and Saigon. After completing three runs to South Vietnamese ports, she departed Saigon 23 January 1955 and arrived Robe, Japan, 1 February.

Resuming cargo runs out of Japanese ports, Herkimer has remained in the Western Pacific since 1955. Cargo operations have sent her primarily to Inchon, Pusan, and other South Korean ports; and she has made numerous cargo runs along the Japanese coast from Wakkanni and Hakodate, Hokkaido, to Kagoshima and Nagasaki, Kyushu. In addition she has steamed from Korea to Southeast Asia while supporting America's determination to maintain peace and contain Communism in the Far East. She has steamed from ports in Japan and the Philippines, transporting military supplies to Formosa between 1981 and 1985. And in response to American efforts to protect the integrity and independence Or South Vietnam from external Communist aggression, she resumed intermittent cargo runs to South Vietnam in February 1962. Into 1967 she remains in the Western Pacific, serving the forces of freedom in the Far East as a veteran carrier of vital military cargo.

 

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