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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive


Contributed by Don Mc Grogan

USS Relief (AH-1)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Echo - Papa - Quebec
NEPQ
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons



Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (24 Apr 45)
Second Row - China Service Medal (extended) - American Defense Campaign Medal - American Campaign Medal
Third Row - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (5) - World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp)


Relief Class Hospital Ship:
  • Laid down, 14 June 1917, at Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Launched, 23 December 1919
  • Commissioned USS Relief (AH-1), 28 December 1920, CDR. Richmond C. Holcomb, (MC), USN, in command
  • During World War II USS Relief was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following campaigns:
    Asiatic-Pacific Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Gilbert Islands operation, 25 November to 8 December 1943 Western Caroline Islands operation
    Capture and occupation of southern Palau Islands, 9 September to 14 October 1944
    Marshall Islands operation
    Occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls, 3 to 4 February 1944
    Okinawa Gunto operation
    Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto, 25 to 29 June 1945
    Marianas Islands operation
    Capture and occupation of Saipan, 24 June to 4 August 1944
     

  • Following World War II USS Relief was assigned to Occupation and China service in the Far East for the following periods:

    Navy Occupation Service Medal

    China Service Medal (extended)
    7 September to 9 November 19457 September to 9 November 1945
    2 to 9 January 1946 

  • Decommissioned, 11 June 1946, at Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, VA.
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 19 July 1946
  • Transferred to the Maritime Commission for disposal, 13 January 1947
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 23 March 1948, to Boston Metals Co., Baltimore, MD.
  • USS Relief received five battle stars for World War II service
    Specifications:
    Displacement 9,800 t.(lt), 11,350 t.(fl)
    Length 483' 10"
    Beam 61' 1"
    Draft 22' (limiting)
    Speed 15 kts. (trial)
    Complement
    Officers 35
    Enlisted, 392
    Patient Capacity 500
    Largest Boom Capacity 8 t.
    Fuel Capacities
    NSFO 13,655 Bbls
    Diesel 160 Bbls
    Propulsion
    two Philadelphia Navy Yard Parsons-type steam turbines
    three Babcock and Wilcox header-type boilers, 215psi 440°
    single Parsons-type Main Reduction Gears
    Ship's Service Generators
    two turbo-drive 300Kw 120V D.C.
    one turbo-drive 40Kw 120V D.C.
    twin propellers, 5,000shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Source
    Relief 389k Preliminary Design Plan for a Hospital Ship ... February, 1915 prepared for the Navy Department during consideration of a design for a hospital ship to be included in the Fiscal Year 1917 program. This plan was intended to satisfy characteristics issued on 12 April 1913 by the General Board. This design concept, adapted from that used for transport USS Henderson (Transport # 1) was selected for construction of USS Relief (Hospital Ship # 1), built during 1917 to 1920. This plan provides a total berthing capacity of 674 for patients, no armament, and a speed of 14 knots in a ship 460 feet long on the water line, about 61 feet in beam, with a normal displacement of somewhat less than 10,000 tons. The original plan is in the 1911-1925 "Spring Styles Book" of the Bureau of Construction & Repair.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command (from the Online Library), Photo No. S-584-049
    Mike Green
    Relief 228k USS Relief (AH-1) at Philadelphia Navy Yard, ready to receive her crew, 15 December 1920.
    Note Coal Barge (Freight Lighter) YC-136 alongside.
    Courtesy of the National Museum of Health and Medicine
    Michael Rhode, Archivist / Curator, US Navy BUMED Communications Directorate (M09B7) Office of Medical History
    Relief 250k USS Relief (AH-1) moored at Philadelphia Navy Yard, circa 1920.
    Courtesy of the National Museum of Health and Medicine
    Michael Rhode, Archivist / Curator, US Navy BUMED Communications Directorate (M09B7) Office of Medical History
    Relief 300k USS Relief (AH-1) near Philadelphia Navy Yard, ready to sail, 15 February 1921.
    Courtesy of the National Museum of Health and Medicine
    Michael Rhode, Archivist / Curator, US Navy BUMED Communications Directorate (M09B7) Office of Medical History
    Relief 429k USS Relief (AH-1) near Philadelphia Navy Yard, ready to sail, 16 February 1921.
    Courtesy of the National Museum of Health and Medicine
    Michael Rhode, Archivist / Curator, US Navy BUMED Communications Directorate (M09B7) Office of Medical History
    Relief 192k USS Relief (AH-1) taking patients aboard, date and location unknown.
    Courtesy of the National Museum of Health and Medicine
    Michael Rhode, Archivist / Curator, US Navy BUMED Communications Directorate (M09B7) Office of Medical History
    Relief 248k USS Relief (AH-1) Deck for convalescent patients (boxes along bulkhead contain steamer chairs). Also titled: Sick officers deck looking forward, circa 1921.
    Courtesy of the National Museum of Health and Medicine
    Michael Rhode, Archivist / Curator, US Navy BUMED Communications Directorate (M09B7) Office of Medical History
    Relief 257k USS Relief (AH-1) at anchor possibly in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, circa 1921.
    Courtesy of the National Museum of Health and Medicine
    Michael Rhode, Archivist / Curator, US Navy BUMED Communications Directorate (M09B7) Office of Medical History
    Relief 215k
    Relief 205k Secretary of the Navy Edwin Denby boards USS Relief (AH-1) at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 1921
    Courtesy of the National Museum of Health and Medicine
    Michael Rhode, Archivist / Curator, US Navy BUMED Communications Directorate (M09B7) Office of Medical History
    Relief 244k
    Relief 156k USS Relief (AH-1) crewmen caught a large shark while in Caribbean waters in 1921.
    Courtesy of the National Museum of Health and Medicine
    Michael Rhode, Archivist / Curator, US Navy BUMED Communications Directorate (M09B7) Office of Medical History
    Relief 293k
    Relief 183k USS Relief (AH-1) sailors pass the time dancing with each other while the ship was anchored in Guacanayabo Bay, Cuba in 1921.
    Courtesy of the National Museum of Health and Medicine
    Michael Rhode, Archivist / Curator, US Navy BUMED Communications Directorate (M09B7) Office of Medical History
    Relief 258k USS Relief (AH-1) receives a patient in a splint stretcher from a destroyer, date and location unknown. Photo from article "Hospitals go to Sea" by Lucius Johnson.
    Courtesy of the National Museum of Health and Medicine
    Michael Rhode, Archivist / Curator, US Navy BUMED Communications Directorate (M09B7) Office of Medical History
    Relief 191k USS Relief (AH-1) moored pierside at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, 8 November 1921.
    US Navy photo.
    Tommy Trampp
    Relief 59k USS Relief (AH-1) underway, date and location unknown. Submitted by Elaine C. Witty, Charpentier, photo from the collection of Gerald M. Charpentier
    Relief 62k USS Relief (AH-1), date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo
    Darryl Baker
    Relief 107k USS Relief (AH-1) at anchor, circa 1921-22, location unknown.
    US Navy Recruiting Bureau photo
    Darryl Baker
    Relief 1221k Aerial view of USS Relief (AH-1) underway, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo
    Carrie Schmidt
    Relief 280k Aerial view of USS Relief (AH-1) at anchor, date and location unknown.
    .
    Courtesy of the National Museum of Health and Medicine
    Michael Rhode, Archivist / Curator, US Navy BUMED Communications Directorate (M09B7) Office of Medical History
    Relief 204k USS Relief (AH-1) at Mare Island Navy Yard. Relief was in overhaul at the yard from June 17 to July 3 1924. Note SS President Taft is aft of Relief
    Photo from the collections of the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum.
    Darryl Baker
    Relief 332k Life-saving device designed to rescue survivors from a stricken ship. Tested on USS Relief (AH-1), date unknown. Courtesy of the National Museum of Health and Medicine
    Michael Rhode, Archivist / Curator, US Navy BUMED Communications Directorate (M09B7) Office of Medical History
    Relief 97k USS Relief (AH-1) at anchor circa 1926. This photograph highlights the much talked about 75-window operating room below the pilot house.
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-463934, a US Navy photo now in the collections of the US National Archives, from "Hospital Ships of World war II: An Illustrated Reference" by Emory A. Massman.
    Robert Hurst
    Mercy 278k USS Mercy (AH-4) and USS Relief (AH-1) anchored at Guantanamo, Cuba in April 1927. Note the absence of hospital markings on both ships.
    Photo Bill Faulk.
    Robert Hurst
    Relief 57k USS Relief (AH-1), circa 1935, location unknown.
    US Navy photo
    Robert Hurst
    Relief 71k USS Relief (AH-1), date and location unknown.
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-446445, a US Navy photo now in the collections of the US National Archives
    US Naval Historical Center
    Relief 52k USS Relief (AH-1) at anchor, possibly at Pearl Harbor, date unknown. Ric Hedman
    Relief 234k USS Relief (AH-1) and USS Saratoga (CV-3) at anchor off one of the Hawaiian Islands, circa summer of 1939-summer 1940. Brad Proffitt for his father Floyd Proffitt, USS Thresher, SS-200
    Relief 160k USS Relief (AH-1) underway in the Panama Canal, circa 1930-40. Brad Proffitt for his father Floyd Proffitt, USS Thresher, SS-200 and Tommy Trampp
    Relief 63k USS Relief (AH-1) underway, date and location unknown. Tommy Trampp
    Relief 82k Post Card image of USS Relief (AH-1) at anchor, date and location unknown.
    Published by Herz Postcards, San Diego, CA.
    Tommy Trampp
    Relief 229k USS Relief (AH-1) receives patients from USS Wyoming (AG-17) at San Pedro, CA., 18 February 1937. During the culminating phase of a multi-faceted (land, sea, and air) exercise, a shrapnel shell exploded prematurely as it was being rammed into one of Wyoming's the ship's 5-inch broadside guns. Six marines were killed, and 11 were wounded. Immediately after the explosion, Wyoming sped to San Pedro, where she transferred the wounded marines to Relief. Tommy Trampp
    Relief 139k USS Relief (AH-1) at anchor, date and location unknown. Tommy Trampp
    Relief 69k USS Relief (AH-1) possibly off Maui, Hawaiian Islands, date unknown. Ric Hedman
    Relief 64k USS Relief (AH-1) at anchor, date and location unknown. Robert M. Cieri
    Relief 147k USS Relief (AH-1) at Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, VA., while undergoing overhaul, 29 September 1941. Note details of her bridge, and the illuminated hospital ship recognition cross just forward of and above the spread awning (in the right center). The ship ahead of USS Relief appears to be USS Orizaba (AP-24). An oiler and the sludge removal barge YSR-1 are in the upper right, with two old "flush deck" destroyers beyond.
    US National Archives photo # 19-N-26136, a US Navy Bureau of Ships photo now in the collections of the US National Archives
    US Naval Historical Center
    Relief 74k USS Relief (AH-1) at anchor in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, 14 October 1941. The ship's masts have been shortened. The green band around the hull and red crosses have been added. The remainder of the ship remains unchanged from its original configuration.
    US National Archives Photo # 80-G-463934, a US Navy photo now in the collections of the US National Archives, from "Hospital Ships of World war II: An Illustrated Reference" by Emory A. Massman.
    Joe Nettles and Robert Hurst
    Relief 47k USS Relief (AH-1) moored pierside in a shipyard, date and location unknown. Tommy Trampp
    Relief 44k USS Relief (AH-1) at Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, 1943
    US Navy photo
    The US Navy Hospital Ship Relief (AH-1).
    A Chronicle of Her Wartime Overseas Movements and Activities
    Relief 62k USS Relief (AH-1) at Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, 1943.
    US Navy photo
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret
    Relief 79k US serviceman wrapped in an American flag being buried at sea from the afterdeck of USS Relief (AH-1), date unknown.
    US. National Archives photo # 80-G-344846.
    Robert Hurst
    Relief 112k The body of a deceased Japanese soldier, covered with a Red Cross flag, is given an honorable burial at sea from USS Relief (AH-1), 10 October 1944. The Japanese soldier was wounded and taken prisoner at Saipan where he was taken aboard Relief for treatment and transportation to a US base hospital, but died of his wounds while enroute.
    US Navy photo Pacific Fleet.
    Tommy Trampp
    Relief 30k USS Relief (AH-1), at Ulithi, Caroline Islands, 13 March 1945
    US Navy photo
    Naval Hospital Corps School Web Site
    Relief 101k Burn casualties from the Okinawa beachhead being taken aboard USS Relief (AH-1), circa 22 April 1945.
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-328900. Photo and text from "Hospital Ships of World War II: An Illustrated Reference" by Emory A. Massman.
    Robert Hurst
    Relief 59k A burn casualty brought by patrol boat from the Okinawa beachhead being lifted aboard USS Relief (AH-1), circa 22 April 1945.
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-318627 Photo and text from "Hospital Ships of World War II: An Illustrated Reference" by Emory A. Massman.
    Robert Hurst
    Relief 217k USS Relief (AH-1) arrives at Tinian, Marianas Islands, 30 April 1945, with casualties from the Okinawa campaign. Photos by LT. Ethel Confer. John Skillman
    Relief 312k
    Relief 324k
    Relief 440k
    Relief 393k
    Relief 93k Former American and Allied POWs checking their belongings before boarding USS Relief (AH-1), at Dairen, Manchuria, 11 September 1945. The prisoners had been held in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp at Mukden, Manchuria, 200 miles inland from the port Dairen. A US National Archives photo from "Hospital Ships of World War II: An Illustrated Reference" by Emory A. Massman. Robert Hurst
    Relief 67k USS Relief (AH-1) at anchor, date and location unknown.
    US Navy from "All Hands" magazine, issue April 1946
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    Relief 69k USS Relief (AH-1), date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo from "All Hands" magazine, June 1962
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret
    Relief 49k USS Relief (AH-1) moored pierside, date and location unknown. Tommy Trampp


    For more photos and information about USS Relief, see;
  • Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
  • USS Relief Deck Plans, Interior Photos and Crew Photos
  • MARAD Vessel History Database
  • History of the USS Relief (AH-1) CNO (OP 09B9) Ship's History Section, BUMED History Office
  • USS Relief (Master Hospital Ship) by Chief Nurse J. Beatrice Bowman US Navy
  • US Navy Hospital Ship Relief (AH-1). A Chronicle of Her Wartime Overseas Movements and Activities
  • Personal log of Arthur Altvates Aboard USS Relief AH-1, Feb 13 1945 through Sep 10 1945
  • Commanding Officers

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

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    Last Updated 5 November 2014