From: Dictionary of American Fighting Ships

General M. L. Hersey

Mark Leslie Hersey, born in Stetson, Maine, 1 December 1863, graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1887 and served with the 9th Infantry in Arizona until 1891. He was Professor of Military Science and Tactics at the University of Maine during the next 4 years. He fought in Cuba during the Spanish-American War and again served with the 9th Infantry in the Philippines during the hostilities in China during the Boxer Rebellion. After participating in the Samar Campaign in the Philippines, he returned to the United States in 1902. During World War I, as commander of the 4th Division, A.E.F., he participated in the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Offensives and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the French Legion of Honor and the Croix de Guerre with Palm. Promoted to Major General 20 September 1924, he retired from active duty 2 November. Major General Hersey died at Tampa, Fla., 22 January 1934.

(AP - 148: dp. 9,950 (lt.); l. 522'10"; b. 71'6"; dr. 24'; s. 16 k.; cpl. 356; trp. 3,823; a 4 5", 8 1.1", 16 20mm.; cl. General G. O. Squier; T. C4-S-A1)

General M. L. Hersey (AP-148) was launched under a Maritime Commission contract 1 April 1944 by Kaiser Co, Inc., Yard 3, Richmond, Calif.; sponsored by Mrs. Alice Hersey Wicks, General Hersey's daughter; acquired by the Navy 31 May 1944; and commissioned 29 July 1944; Captain James W. Smith in command.

After shakedown off San Pedro, General M. L. Hersey sailed from San Francisco 5 September 1944 with troops and cargo for garrisons in the Southwest Pacific. She reached Milne Bay, New Guinea, 21 September and subsequently carried troops and supplies to the Admiralty Islands, the Russell Islands, and the Solomon Islands, before departing Guadalcanal for the United States 6 October. Arriving San Francisco 19 October, she brought home more than 3,000 veterans of the bitter Pacific fighting. Between 7 November 1944 and 14 August 1945 the transport made four round-trip voyages from San Francisco and Seattle to the Western Pacific, carrying troops to New Guinea, the Philippines, the Palaus, and the Marianas during the final amphibious offensive against Japan. At Leyte in November General M. L. Hersey endured frequent air attack.

Following the surrender, the veteran ship departed Seattle 31 August; and, steaming via the Philippines, she arrived Yokohama 24 September with occupation troops. There she embarked 3,052 troops and departed 5 days later as a unit of Operation "Magic-Carpet," a giant sea-lift designed to return hundreds of thousands of American fighting men to the United States as quickly as possible. Between 3 December and 3 March 1946 she steamed twice to the Far East where she embarked returning veterans at Yokohama and Manila and transported them to San Pedro and San Francisco. Departing San Francisco 23 March, she then steamed via Manila and Singapore to Calcutta, India, and Colombo, Ceylon, where she embarked "Magic-Carpet" troops. She departed Colombo 28 April, sailed via the Suez Canal, and arrived New York 21 May. She decommissioned at New York 1 June and was turned over to WSA 6 June for eventual use as a transport by the Army Transportation Service.

Reacquired by the Navy 1 March 1950 General M. L. Hersey was placed in service and assigned to MSTS under a civilian crew. Operating out of New York, she carried European refugees to the United States in support of the International Refugee Organization. During 1952 and 1953 she made four round-trips from San Francisco to the Far East in support of the struggle to repel Communist aggression in Korea. She was placed out of service 11 June 1954 and placed in the Pacific Reserve Fleet at San Diego. Later transferred to the Maritime Administration, on 3 September 1959 she entered the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, Calif., where she remains.

General M. L. Hersey received one battle star for World War II service and two battle stars for Korean War service.


Transcribed by Yves HUBERT (