From: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships


Achernar is the brightest star in the constellation Bridanus.

(AKA-53: dp. 6458; l. 459'2" b. 63' ; dr. 26'4" ; s. 16.5 k.; cpl. 429; a. 1 5" cl. Achernar )

Achernar (AKA-53) was launched 3 December 1943 by Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Kearny, N. J., under a Maritime Commission contract; sponsored by Mrs. Adela Rogers St. John ; transferred to the Navy 29 January 1944; and commissioned two days later, Commander H.R. Stevens in command.

Reporting to the Atlintic Fleet, Achernar served as deputy headquarters ship for the Commanding Generals, First Army and 9th Air Force during the Normandy invasion (6 June 1944). During June 1944 she made two cross-Channel trips and then steamed to the Mediterranean for the invasion of Southern France. Between 15 August and 25 September 1444 she completed five transport runs from Naples, Italy; and Oran, Algeria: to France.

She returned to Norfolk 8 November 1944 and two months later transferred to the Pacific, arriving at Pearl Harbor 10 January 1945. During February-March 1945 Achernar transported men and supplies to Eniwetok, Ulithi, Palau, and the Philippines. On 27 March she departed San Pedro Bay, Leyte, and headed toward Okinawa. Achernar arrived off Okinawa 1 April 1945 with the invasion force. At 0043 the following morning she was hit by a Japanese suicide plane but remained operational in spite of fires and flooding. She suffered six killed and 41 wounded. On 19 April she departed Okinawa for San Francisco and repairs. Following repairs (13 May-15 July), Achernar joined the "Magic Carpet" fleet returning overseas personnel from the Pacific.

Achernar spent 1946-50 on MSTS cargo duty in the Pacific. On 14 July 1950 she departed San Diego carrying part of Marine Air Craft Group 33 destined for Korea. On arrival in Korea Achernar was assigned to Amphibious Group I and participated in the Inchon (15 September 1950) and Wonsan (25 October) landings. In November she returned to the United States and joined Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet. She took part in various fleet exercises and transport duties until going into reserve 18 May 1956.

Achernar received three battle stars for her operations in World War II and three for her Korean service.

Transcribed by: epm
Date: 25 April 1999