Please report any broken links or trouble you might come across to the Webmaster. Please take a moment to let us know so that we can correct any problems and make your visit as enjoyable and as informative as possible.

NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

USS Spica (AK-16)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Uniform - Romeo - Delta
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - American Defense Service Medal (with Fleet clasp)
Bottom Row - American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (1) - World War II Victory Medal

Sirus Class Cargo Ship:
  • Laid down 15 June 1918 as SS Shannock a US Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corp standard cargo ship at American International Shipbuilding Corp., Philadelphia, (Hog Island Facility) PA.
  • Launched, 8 August 1918
  • Acquired by the Navy from the United States Shipping Board, 16 November 1921 and renamed Spica (AK-16)
  • Laid up in the Reserve Fleet, at New York, then at Charleston, and finally at Philadelphia--from January 1927 until 28 February 1940
  • Commissioned, USS Spica (AK-16), 1 March 1940 at the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N.Y., CDR. Edwin D. Gibb in command
  • During World War II USS Spica was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following campaign:

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaign
    Campaign and Dates
    Aleutians operation
    Attu occupation, 20 May to 4 June 1943

  • Decommissioned, 18 January 1946, at Seattle, WA.
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 7 February 1946
  • Returned to the Maritime Commission, 26 June 1946, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Olympia WA. pending disposal
  • Sold for operation, 2 April 1947, to J. T. Robinson Ltd. of Vancouver, B. C. Canada, Removed, 13 June 1947, Renamed SS Pleamar
  • USS Spica earned one battle star during World War II
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
    Displacement (as built) 5,800 t.(lt), 11,360 t.(fl)
    Length 401'
    Beam 54' 2"
    Draft 24' 5"
    Speed 11 kts.
    Officers 8
    Enlisted 244
    Cargo Capacity 5,475 DWT
    non-refrigerated 265,165 Cu ft.
    Largest Boom Capacity 5 t.
    one single 5"/38 cal dual purpose gun mount
    four single 3"/50 cal dual purpose gun mounts
    eight single 20mm AA gun mounts
    Fuel Capacity
    NSFO 8,125 Bbls
    one General Electric Curtis design turbine engine
    three Babcox & Wilcox header-type boilers, 215psi Sat°
    double General Electric Main Reduction Gears
    Ship's Service Generators
    one turbo-drive 50Kw 120V D.C.
    two turbo-drive 60Kw 120V D.C.
    single propeller, 2,500shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Source
    USS Spica (AK-16)
    Spica is the brightest object in the constellation Virgo and one of the 20 brightest stars in the night sky.
    Tommy Trampp
    Spica 31k USS Spica (AK-16) commissioning ceremony, 1 March 1940 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. CDR. Edwin D. Gibb, Commanding Officer Spica, (at right) reads his orders. Tom Donovan for his father Charles "Chuck" Donovan RM1/c USS Spica 1940-May 1942.
    Spica 72k USS Spica (AK-16) underway while departing New York City, 13 March 1940
    Photo by Art Cor Photo Service, Brooklyn, N.Y.
    Tom Donovan for his father Charles "Chuck" Donovan RM1/c USS Spica 1940-May 1942.
    Spica 111k USS Spica (AK-16) near Boston Navy Yard, 26 April 1940, soon after commissioning. She has been armed with one 5"/51 gun on a platform forward and one on the fantail, two 3"/50 guns on the bridge wings and two more on a platform on the poop. The Navy was not yet fitting splinter protection (low bulwarks) around such guns. There is no visible provision for anti-aircraft machine guns.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command. Photo # NH 86626, courtesy
    Mike Green
    Spica 30k USS Spica (AK-16) off Sitka, Territory of Alaska, 1941. Tom Donovan for his father Charles "Chuck" Donovan RM1/c USS Spica 1940-May 1942.
    107k USS Spica (AK-16) underway while servicing Alaskan ports as a supply and troop transport during World War II.
    US Navy photo, courtesy
    Mike Green and
    Stan Schroeder for his father Francis Schroedoer USS Spica
    Spica 213k USS Spica (AK-16) at anchor in Alaskan waters while serving as a supply and troop transport during World War II.
    US Navy photo.
    Jim Kurrasch
    Battleship Iowa Pacific Battleship Center
    Spica 107k USS Spica (AK-16) underway with the assistance of a tug, circa June-July 1944 after change of armament. She now has an armament of one 5"/38 and four 3"/50s, but in contrast with her sisters the forward pair of 3"/50 guns and the 5"/38 gun aft are mounted directly on the decks instead of on raised platforms. Her bridge has also been remodeled and made more compact.
    US National Archives, RG-19-LCM, Photo # 19-N-68034, a US Navy Bureau of Ships photo now in the collections of the US National Archives, courtesy
    Mike Green
    460k Domain of Neptunus Rex Certificate issued aboard USS Spica (AK-16), 16 December 1943, to S/1c Francis Shroeder, USNR as proof of his crossing the Equator and being duly initiated into the "Solemn Mysteries of The Ancient Order of The Deep". Stan Schroeder for his father Francis Schroeder USS Spica
    Merchant Service
    Spica 100k Ex-USS Spica (AK-16) in Merchant service as SS Pleamar after World War II. Note her bridge remains essentially as it was remodeled circa 1944.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command.Photo # NH 105650, courtesy
    Mike Green

    USS Spica (AK-16)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CDR. Gibb, Edwin Dowling1 March 1940 - 10 April 1941
    02CDR. Teuscher, Louis Frederick, USN10 April 1941 - 5 June 1941
    03CDR. Granum, Alfred Marcellus :RADM5 June 1941 - September 1941
    04CDR. Bushnell, Carl HiltonSeptember 1941 - 12 September 1942
    05CDR. Long, Joseph Wayland12 September 1942 - 30 October 1942
    06CDR. Bushnell, Carl Hilton30 October 1942 - 10 November 1942
    07CDR. Long, Joseph Wayland10 November 1942 - 6 September 1943
    08LCDR. Kiley, Francis Michael6 September 1943 - 28 March 1945
    09LT. Brooks, Fred Robert28 March 1945 - 23 October 1945
    10LCDR. Purcell, Raymond Frederick23 October 1945 - 18 January 1946
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

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

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    MARAD Vessel History Database
    Back to the Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To The Service Force Ship Type Index Back To The Cargo Ship (AK) Photo Index
    Comments, Suggestions, E-mail Webmaster.
    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 10 September 2021