The second brightest star in the constellation Ursa Majoris; Also known as Mirak.
(AF-21: dp. 7,068 (lt.); 1. 447'10"; b. 60'4"; dr. 24'6 '; s; 19 k.; cpl. 238; a. 8 20mm; cl. Merak )
The second Merak (AF-21) was built in 1932 as Veragua by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Quincy, Mass., for United Fruit Co.; acquired by the Navy 20 March 1942 on a bareboat charter; renamed Merak 31 March 1942; and commissioned at Galveston, Tex., 8 May 1942, Comdr. L. E. Divoll in command.
Following conversion by Todd Galveston Dry Dock Co. 18 May, the second Merak proved to be a very active durable transporter of men and supplies. Shakedown training began on her maiden Navy voyage to Charleston, S.C. Adding her logistic support to the war effort, she completed 10 voyages in convoy from east coast ports to the island ports of the Caribbean by 20 March 1943. Turning northward Merak arrived 12 April at Reykjavik, Iceland. Again steaming southward she completed two short deliveries to Cuba before undertaking her first wartime transatlantic crossing in July, debarking men, mail, and stores in Algeria, north Africa. In between additional Caribbean assignments, Merak made trips to both Sicily and Scotland before the end of 1943.
This pattern of Caribbean sailings and transatlantic voyages continued until February 1945 with Merak steaming across from Bayonne, N.J., to Italian ports four times in this interval. After a brief drydock period Merak replenished ships and losses from Iceland to Trinidad. On her last voyage to Reykjavik a blizzard blew her aground while anchored at Argentia, Newfoundland, 14 July 1946. Freed by tugs she completed this voyage and two more to San Juan, P.R., and Trinidad before being released by the Navy. Having served well, Merak decommissioned 21 June 1946 at New York and was returned to her owner on that date.