USS Upshur II  

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Upshur II AP-198

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Upshur II

(T-AP-198: dp. 11,203 (f.); 1. 633'9"; b. 73'3"; dr. 27'1"; s. 19 k.; cpl. 216; tr. 2,500; cl. Barrett; T. P2-S1-DN3)

Passenger cargo liner President Hayes was laid down in 1949 under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 2916) at Camden, N.J., by the New York Shipbuilding Corp., for the American President Lines. However, late in June 1950, before the ship could be completed in her civilian configuration, war broke out in Korea. The Navy acquired President Hayes on 15 September 1960, renamed the liner Upshur, and designated her T-AP-198 on 2 January 1951. Launched on 9 January 1951 and sponsored by Mrs. Charles Sawyer, the wife of President Truman's Secretary of Commerce, Upshur was converted by her builder to a troop and dependent transport and, on 20 December 1952 at Camden, was placed in service with the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS).

For the next two decades, Upshur operated out of New York providing service for troops and dependents on numerous transatlantic cruises to Bremerhaven, Germany; Mediterranean ports in North Africa, Turkey, Greece, and Italy; and Caribbean ports. She operated under the aegis of MSTS, Atlantic, until transferred to the Maritime Administration on 2 April 1973. Simultaneously retransferred on that day to the Maine Maritime Academy, the ship was renamed State of Maine and based at Castine.

Soon after beginning this service, the erstwhile troop transport got underway for a two-month training cruise to the Caribbean and to South America with cadets from the Maritime Academy embarked. In 1974 State of Maine cruised to northern Europe and visited Leningrad, Helsinki, Antwerp, and Glaegow. The cruise marked the first time in many years that an American training vessel had called at a Russian port.
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