From: Dictionary of American Fighting Ships


A county in Minnesota.

(AK - 187: dp. 2,382 (lt.); l. 338'6"; b. 50'; dr. 21'1"; s. 11.5 k.; cpl. 85; a. 1 3", 6 20mm.; cl. Alamosa; T. C1-M-AV1)

Hennepin (AK-187) was laid down under Maritime Commission contract by Walter Butler Shipbuilders, Inc., Superior, Wis., 29 December 1943; launched 27 June 1944, sponsored by Mrs. F. P. Heffelfinger; acquired by the Navy 7 June 1945; and commissioned 3 July 1945 at Galveston, Tex., Lt. Comdr. Gavin L. Field in command.

After shakedown in the Gulf of Mexico, Hennepin departed Galveston 22 July to load cargo at Gulfport, Miss., and New Orleans, La. She departed New Orleans 6 August, steamed via the Panama Canal and the Marshalls, and arrived Cebu, Philippines, 23 September. Assigned to Service Squadron 8, she operated in the Philippines until 19 November when she departed Tacloban, Leyte, for Australia. During the next month she loaded cargo at Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane before sailing 17 December with provisions for occupation troops in Korea. Steaming via Okinawa, she reached Jinsen 7 January 1946; then sailed for Japan the 25th. She arrived Yokosuka 30 January, decommissioned 16 February, and transferred to the Army.

Hennepin was operated by the Army for the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Japan until 1 July 1950 when she was reacquired by the Navy. After refitting at Mitsubishi Shipyard, Kobe, Japan, she was assigned to MSTS 28 February 1951 and designated T-AK-187. Manned by a civilian crew, she participated in the Korean supply run during the American effort to repel Communist aggression in South Korea. Operating primarily out of Moji and Sasebo, she transported vital military cargo to America held Korean ports during the remainder of the conflict.

Following an uneasy truce in Korea, Hennepin continued supply runs between Japan and South Korea. In response to the scheduled transfer of North Vietnam to Communist control, she departed Yokohama 30 August 1954 to provide support for Operation "Passage to Freedom." She arrived Haiphong, North Vietnam, 7 September, and for more than 3 months she transported cargo southward to St. Jacques and Saigon. After completing three runs to Saigon, she departed St. Jacques for Japan 22 December and arrived Sasebo 3 January 1955.

Between 1955 and 1958 Hennepin remained in the Far East, supporting America's determination to keep the peace and contain Communism in Asia. She continued to operate primarily between Japanese and South Korean ports, but cargo runs in 1957 and 1958 again sent her to Southeast Asia. Between 13 May and 3 July 1957 she operated out of Saigon and Bangkok, and in addition steamed to Karachi, Pakistan, and Bahrein Island in the Persian Gulf. During September 1957 and April 1958 she steamed out of Yokohama, carrying cargo to Saigon. After returning to Yokohama from Pusan, Korea, 21 June 1958, she was inactivated by the Navy 16 July. She transferred to the Maritime Administration 27 March 1959.

Hennepin received one battle star for Korean war service.

Transcribed by Yves HUBERT (