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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

USS Pontiac (AF-20)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Echo - Zulu - Oscar
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from left to right
American Campaign Medal - Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal - World War II Victory Medal

Pontiac Class Stores Ship:
  • Built in 1937 at Nakskov Skibs. A/C, Nakskov, Denmark
  • Operated as SS Australian Reefer by J. Lauretzen, Esbjerg, Denmark
  • Taken over by the US Maritime Commission, during the summer of 1941
  • Renamed SS Pontiac and operated by US Lines
  • Acquired by the Navy, 11 May 1942
  • Commissioned USS Pontiac (AF-20), 12 May 1942
  • Lost due to sinking off MacNab Island, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 30 January 1945
  • Raised, 17 February 1945
  • Declared a constructive total loss, 13 April 1945
  • Decommissioned, 20 May 1945, at Norfolk, VA.
  • Returned to the Maritime Commission National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River Group, Lee Hall, V.A for disposal, 20 May 1945
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 2 June 1945
  • Requisitioned title from Danish owner, 12 July 1945, just compensation, $1,374, 255.86, paid to owner
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 7 May 1945, to Patapsco Scrap Corp., for $33,669.00 (PDX-447)
    Displacement 5,410 t.(fl)
    Length 447' 10"
    Beam 60'
    Draft 18 11"
    Speed 15.5 kts.
    Complement 166
    two single 3"/50 dual purpose gun mounts
    two twin 20mm AA gun mounts
    Propulsion system unknown
    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    Merchant Service
    Pontiac 78k SS Australian Reefer under way, date and location unknown.
    Photo courtesy J. Lauretzen from "The World's Merchant Fleets 1939" by Roger W. Gordon
    Robert Hurst
    USS Pontiac AF-20)
    Pontiac 46k
    Pontiac or Obwandiyag (c. 1720 April 20, 1769) was an Odawa war chief who became noted for his role in Pontiac's War (17631766), an American Indian struggle against British military occupation of the Great Lakes region and named for him. It followed the British victory in the French and Indian War, the North American front of the Seven Years' War. Pontiac's importance has been debated in the war that bears his name. Nineteenth-century accounts portrayed him as the mastermind and leader of the revolt, but some subsequent scholars argued that his role had been exaggerated. Historians today generally view him as an important local leader who influenced a wider movement that he did not command.
    Tommy Trampp
    Pontiac 47k USS Pontiac (AF-20) under way, 9 June 1942, location unknown. She is painted in camouflage scheme 12(modified).
    US Navy photo
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    Pontiac 87k USS Pontiac (AF-20) under way off Norfolk, VA., 16 March 1944, photographed by a blimp from NAS Weeksville, N. C.
    US National Archives (RG-80-G), Photo No. 80-G-222617 a US Navy photo now in the collections of the US National Archives, courtesy
    Mike Green
    Pontiac 125k USS Pontiac (AF-20) under way off Boston, MA., 21 August 1944, photographed by a blimp from NAS South Weymouth, MA.
    US National Archives (RG-19-LCM), Photo No. 80-G-245493 a US Navy photo now in the collections of the US National Archives, courtesy
    Mike Green
    Pontiac 87k USS Pontiac (AF-20) being guided by tugs in Halifax harbor, Nova Scotia just after 17 February 1945.
    Pontiac sunk in shallow water after being damaged by her own paravane, 30 January 1945 and subsequently raised. br>From the Nova Scotia Archives, HB Jefferson collection. For educational and non commercial use.
    John Chiquoine
    Pontiac 70k
    Pontiac 73k

    USS Pontiac (AF-20)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CDR. Woodward, Douglas Castleberry, USNR12 May 1942 - ?
    02LCDR. Taylor III, James Davis USN (25)7 April 1943 - ?
    03CDR. Fife, William Wallace USN (20)18 May 1944 - 30 January 1945
     Sunk30 January 1945 - 17 February 1945
    04LT. Casey, Alexander M. USNR1 March 1945 - 20 May 1945
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log

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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 13 January 2017