From: Dictionary of American Fighting Ships

General William O. Darby

A former name retained.

William Orlando Darby, born 8 February 1911 at Fort Smith, Ark., graduated from the U.S. Military Academy 13 June 1933 and was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Field Artillery. Prior to the beginning of World War II, he served with the 82d, 3d, and 80th Field Artillery Divisions and with the 1st Cavalry. In 1942 he assumed command of the 1st Ranger Battalion and distinguished himself during operations in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. Promoted to Colonel 11 December 1943, he returned to the United States in April 1944 for duty with the Army Ground Forces and later with the Operations Division, War Department General Staff. He returned to Europe in March 1945, and became Assistant Commander of the 10th Mountain Division the following month. He was killed by an exploding shell 30 April 1945 and was posthumously promoted to Brigadier General.

Admiral W. S. Sims (AP-127) (q. v.) was reacquired by the Navy from the Army Transport Service as General William O. Darby 1 March 1950 and assigned to MSTS. Manned by a civilian crew, she operated out of New York and, between 1950 and 1953, completed more than 20 roundtrip voyages to Bremerhaven and back to rotate troops and transport military dependents and civilian refugees. She departed New York 20 June 1953 and steamed via the Panama Canal to Yokosuka, Japan, where she arrived 17 July to embark homebound veterans of the Korean conflict. After returning to Seattle, Wash., 29 July, she made five more trooplift voyages to Japan and back during the next 5 months. Arriving San Francisco 23 January 1954, she sailed for the East Coast the 25th and reached New York 8 February.

General William O. Darby resumed transatlantic transport duty 18 February and during the next 2 years completed 32 voyages to Bremerhaven and back. Departing New York 5 July 1956, she deployed to the Mediterranean and steamed from North Africa to Turkey while supporting peace-keeping operations of the 6th Fleet. She returned to New York 6 August and during the next 10 years completed 135 transport voyages to Europe and back plus nine additional deployments to the Mediterranean.

In response to America's determination to defend the integrity and independence of South Vietnam from external Communist aggression, General William O. Darby departed New York 12 August 1965 for transport duty in the Western Pacific. After embarking troops at Charleston, S.C., she steamed via the Panama Canal and reached Qui Nhon, South Vietnam, 12 September. On the 15th she sailed for the United States; and, steaming via Subic Bay, the Suez Canal, and Bremerhaven, she arrived New York 22 October. Between 11 November and 8 July 1966 she made nine more runs to Europe before resuming trooplifts to Southeast Asia. After embarking almost 1,600 troops at Boston, she sailed 15 July; touched at Long Beach, and Okinawa; and arrived Vung Tau, South Vietnam, 14 August. Departing the next day, she steamed via Yokosuka, Japan, to Pusan, South Korea, where she arrived 28 August to embark 1,800 Vietnam-bound South Korean troops. She sailed the 31st arriving Nha Trang 6 September, then departed 9 September to embark more South Korean soldiers at Pusan. She continued operating in the Western Pacific, supporting the forces for freedom in Southeast Asia until steaming to New York in February 1967 for overhaul. On 1 July 1967 she was in ready reserve status.


Transcribed by Yves HUBERT (