USS Chateau Thierry (AP-31)


USS Chateau Thierry (AP-31)

"Chateau Thierry" was a troop transport that served with the US Army and US Navy. Originally built for service during the First World War, the ship arrived too late to see service in that war, but operated as an army transport, USAT "Chateau Thierry", between the wars. With America's entry into World War II, the vessel was transferred to the US Navy and redesignated USS "Chateau Thierry" (AP-31). In 1943 she was transferred back to the Army and converted into a hospital ship, USAHS "Chateau Thierry", in which role she was to serve for the remainder of the war. "Chateau Thierry" was built in 1921 by the American International Shipbuilding Corporation at Hog Island, Pennsylvania. She was transferred from the Army to the Navy 15 July 1941, and commissioned into the latter 6 August 1941, Commander J. K. Davis in command.

Prewar Navy service

"Chateau Thierry" played a part in the assumption by the United States of responsibilities in the western Atlantic in the period before entrance into World War II as she carried Army and civilian personnel and cargo from Brooklyn, New York, to ports in Greenland, Iceland, and Nova Scotia, between 13 September 1941 and 2 January 1942.

World War II

With the entry of the United States into the war, she sailed from Brooklyn 15 January carrying some of the first American troops to cross to Northern Ireland. "Chateau Thierry" sailed on to Scotland to embark British troops and sailors for transportation to Halifax and New York City. Two more voyages with soldiers from New York to Argentia, Newfoundland, followed, and on 19 May, she got underway for Charleston, South Carolina, to embark Army and civilian passengers. She sailed on by way of Bermuda for a round of calls at African ports, sailing south around Cape of Good Hope for Eritrea, where she landed the last of her passengers and took a new group on board. On her return passage she picked up Navy gun crews and other survivors of two merchant ship sinkings, at west African ports.

Invasion of Sicily

"Chateau Thierry" resumed her transport duty to the North Atlantic until 29 April 1943, when she cleared New York for a voyage to North Africa, well escorted in a safe passage. Returning to New York, she embarked soldiers and sailors, and cleared 10 June for Oran, arriving 21 June. Here she prepared for the invasion of Sicily, for which she sailed 5 July. Assigned to the floating reserve, "Chateau Thierry" lay off the hotly contested Gela beaches 10 July as the assault began, and late in the day began landing her reinforcements, continuing into the night. She remained off Sicily for 2 days, firing to aid in turning back the heavy German air attacks, and taking on board Italian prisoners of war.

Returning to Bizerte 13 July she landed the Italians, then returned to Sicily to embark members of naval units not needed ashore now that the landings had succeeded. Laden with German prisoners of war at Oran, "Chateau Thierry" sailed 9 August for New York which she reached 22 August.

Conversion to hospital ship

Sailing on to Boston, she was decommissioned there 9 September 1943, and returned to the Army who used her as a hospital ship for the remainder of the war. Chateau Thierry was one of the 12 hospital ships that were involved in the Invasion of southern France. The hospital ship also saw service in the Pacific.

Awards

"Chateau Thierry" received one battle star for World War II service.

References

* [http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/auxil/ap31.htm "Chateau Thierry" AP-31] - DANFS Online.
* [http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/22/22031.htm AP-31 "Chateau Thierry] , Navsource Online.
*DANFS


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