From: Dictionary of American Fighting Ships

General A. W. Greely

Adolphus Washington Greely, born 27 March 1844 in Newburyport, Mass., enlisted as a private in the 19th Massachusetts Infantry 26 July 1861 and participated in numerous battles throughout the Civil War. Appointed Second Lieutenant in 1867, between 1871 and 1881 he served in Texas and in Montana and Dakota Territories, where he helped construct 2,000 miles of telegraph lines. A pioneer in polar exploration, he studied Arctic weather and climate, and from 1881 to 1884 led an ill-fated expedition during the establishment of a chain of circumpolar research stations. In 1882 his party pushed farther northward than any previous expedition; but, suffering great hardships, only seven men, including Greely, survived the ordeal. From 1887 until 1906 he served as Chief Signal Officer and administered the Weather Bureau and Signal Corps. During the Spanish-American War he supervised the construction of more than 25,000 miles of telegraph lines in Cuba, Puerto Rico, China, and the Philippine Islands. Also a pioneer in the use of wireless communications, he established several radio stations in Alaska. Promoted to Major General 10 February 1906, he commanded military relief operations following the San Francisco Earthquake 18 to 19 April. General Greely retired 27 March 1908 and died in Washington, D.C., 20 October 1935. By special legislation of Congress, he was awarded the Medal of Honor 21 March 1935 for his life of splendid public service.


(AP - 141: dp. 9,950 (lt.); l. 522'10"; b. 71'6"; dr. 26'6"; s. 17 k.; cpl. 356; trp. 3,823; a. 4 5", 4 40mm., 16 20mm.; cl. General G. O. Squier; T. C4-S-A1)

General A. W. Greely (AP-141) was laid down under Maritime Commission contract 18 July 1944 by Kaiser Co., Inc., Yard 3, Richmond, Calif.; launched 5 November 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Clarke Wayland; acquired by the Navy 22 March 1945; and commissioned the same day, Comdr. George W. Stedman, Jr., in command.

After shakedown, General A. W. Greely embarked 2,923 troops and civilians and departed San Pedro 16 April for Australia. She reached Melbourne 4 May, then sailed the next day for Fremantle and India, arriving Calcutta 20 May. After embarking homebound troops, she departed the 28th; steamed via Ceylon and Suez; and arrived Newport News, Va., 22 June. From 28 June to 7 July she sailed to Le Havre, France, where she embarked 3,000 troops before returning to New York 18 July. Between 28 July and 6 December she completed two roundtrip voyages from New York to Calcutta, transporting occupation troops, mail, and cargo; and returning homebound veterans to the United States. Departing New York 14 December, she reached Karachi, India, 4 January 1946 and embarked additional returning veterans. She sailed 6 January for the West Coast; and, steaming via Ceylon, Singapore, and the Philippines, she arrived Seattle 2 February. She decommissioned at San Francisco 29 March and was transferred to WSA the same day for use as a transport in the Army Transportation Service.

Reacquired by the Navy 1 March 1950, General A. W. Greely was assigned to MSTS under a civilian crew. She departed Seattle 5 August and carried troops to the Far Fast in support of the effort to repel Communist aggression in Korea. Operating out of Seattle, during the next nine months she made four round-trip voyages to Japan, Korea, and Okinawa. Returning to Seattle 3 May 1951, she then sailed 24 May for duty in the Atlantic.

Operating out of New York, between 10 October and 22 February 1953 General A. W. Greely completed numerous transatlantic runs to Bremerhaven, Germany, and La Pallice, France. While en route to Bremerhaven in January 1952, she rescued survivors from the stricken merchantman, Flying Enterprise. Placed in reduced operational status from 17 April until 5 June 1953, she departed Norfolk 16 June for Thule, Greenland. Arriving 3 July, she served until 30 September as barracks ship during Operation "Blue Jay," the construction of Thule Air Force Base. She returned to New York 9 October; steamed to Bremerhaven and back between 10 November and 4 December; and was again placed in reduced operational status from 9 December until 19 July 1954.

General A. W. Greely departed New York 27 July, bound for the Pacific. Arriving San Francisco 11 August, she sailed for the Far East 7 September and operated in Korean and Japanese waters before returning to San Francisco via Adak, Alaska, 10 October. She steamed to Portland, Oreg., 27 October; entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet at San Diego in March 1955; and was transferred to the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Olympia, Wash., 29 August 1959 where she remains.


Transcribed by Yves HUBERT (