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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

USS Mercury (AKS-20)
USS Mercury (AK-42) (1942 - 1945)

International Radio Call Signs,

USS Mercury (AK-42)
1942 International Radio Call Sign:
Nan - Oboe - Roger - Dog

USS Mercury (AK-42)
1944 International Radio Call Sign:
Nan - Charlie - Item - Charlie

USS Mercury (AKS-)
1945 International Radio Call Sign:
Nan - Charlie - Yoke - Love
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive 26 June 44)
Second Row - American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (5) - World War II Victory Medal
Third Row - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Europe clasp) - National Defense Service Medal - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (3-Lebanon)

Mercury Class Cargo Ship:
  • Laid down as SS Lightning, a Maritime Commission type (C2 Cargo) hull under Maritime Contract (MC hull 16) at Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Kearny, N.J.
  • Launched, 15 July 1939
  • Purchased by Moore-McCormack Lines and placed in operation as SS Mormactern, 30 October 1940
  • Acquired by the US Navy, 20 June 1941
  • Converted for Naval service and commissioned USS Mercury (AK-42), 1 July 1942, LCDR. George W. Graber, USNR, in command
  • During World War II USS Mercury was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following campaigns:

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Marshall Islands operation
    Occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls, 31 January to 8 February 1944
    Occupation of Eniwetok Atoll, 17 to 25 February 1944
    Manila Bay-Bicol operation
    Zambales-Subic Bay, 29 to 31 January 1945
    Marianas operation
    Capture and occupation of Saipan, 27 June to 2 July 1944
    Okinawa Gunto operation
    5th and 3d Fleet raids in support of Okinawa Gunto, 23 March to 13 May 1945
    Leyte operation
    Leyte landings, 20 October and 18 November 1944

  • Converted to a General Store Issues Ship, redesignated (AKS-20), 31 July 1945
  • Following World War II USS Mercury was assigned to Occupation service in Europe for the following periods:

    Navy Occupation Service Medal
    10 December 1946 to 24 April 1947
    21 to 27 November 1947
    2 to 8 January 1948
    12 to 20 February 1948
    7 to 15 May 1948
    17 to 30 June 1948
    3 to 11 August 1948
    16 to 23 September 1948
    3 to 8 December 1948
    15 to 20 January 1949
    26 to 28 February 1949
    1 April to 10 August 1949
    30 January to 11 February 1950
    8 to 15 May 1950
    22 to 30 June 1950
    14 October to 5 December 1950
    3 February to 2 April 1951
    8 October 1951 to 14 February 1952
    23 May to 10 July 1952
    16 October to 8 December 1952
    19 March to 28 May 1953
    3 Dec. 1953 to 3 February 1954
    17 April to 4 June 1954
    12 August to 29 November 1954
    21 February to 7 June 1955

  • Decommissioned, 28 May 1959, at Orange, TX.
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 1 August 1959
  • USS Mercury earned five battle stars for World War II service
  • Transferred to the Maritime Administration (MARAD), 5 April 1960, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Beaumont, TX.
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping 3 May 1975, to Consolidated Steel Corp. for $277.777.77
    Displacement 7,345 t.(lt), 10,850 t.(fl), (13,900 t.(lim)
    Length 459' 2"
    Beam 63'
    Draft 25' 9" (max)
    Speed 16.4 kts. (trial)
    Officers 19
    Enlisted 159
    Largest Boom Capacity 30 t.
    one single 5"/38 dual purpose gun mount
    four single 3"/50 dual purpose guns
    eight single 20mm AA gun mounts
    Cargo Capacity
    non-refrigerated 462,691 Cu. ft.
    refrigerated 28,864 Cu ft.
    Fuel Capacity NSFO 9,055Bbls
    one General Electric turbine
    two Babcock & Wilcox boilers, 465psi 765°
    double General Electric Main Reduction Gear
    three Ship's Service Generators, 300Kw 120V/240V D.C.
    single propeller, 6,000shp

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    USS Mercury (AK-42)
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-373777
    130k USS Mercury (AK-42) resupplying USS Essex (CV-9) via highline, 27 April 1945, while operating off Okinawa. Essex crewmen in the foreground are stacking bags of flour. Note the man on Mercury's forward hatch, directing the hoisting of another load from her hold.
    US National Archives photo #'s 80-G-373777, and 80-G-373776, US Navy photos now in the collections of the US National Archives
    80-G-373777 - US Naval History and Heritage Command
    80-G-373776 - Tracy White
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-373776
    Mercury 331k Entry hole from a Japanese torpedo dropped the night of 26 June 1944 as USS Mercury (AK-42) lay at anchor off Saipan. The torpedo entered the amidships living spaces on the 01 level, port side, with no chance to arm and broke in two. The plane itself was brought down by the ship's after starboard boom (see newspaper article below) and impacted the water 500 yards off the starboard quarter.
    US Navy photo 80-G-270918 now in the custody of the National Archives, College Park.
    Tracy White
    Mercury 230k USS Mercury (AK-42) conducting and underway replenishment with USS John Rodgers (DD-574), with USS Sigsbee (DD-502) beyond. TG58.1, 8 April 1945.
    From DD574 collections.
    John Chiquoine and Dave Schroeder
    Mercury 575k USS Mercury (AK-42) newspaper article Ron Reeves
    USS Mercury (AKS-20)
    Mercury 59k USS Mercury (AKS-20) at anchor, circa 1946, location unknown. Robert Hurst
    Mercury 88k USS Mercury (AKS-20) under way circa the late 1940s. By this time she had lost her kingpost pairs on the superstructure. Unlike most wartime rebuilds, Mercury retained her kingposts forward, where other rebuilds had theirs replaced with a goalpost mast.
    US Navy photo, No number, courtesy
    Mike Green
    Mercury 126k USS Mercury (AKS-20) under way in the Mediterranean while transferring provisions by high-line to USS Albany (CA-123), 24 November 1951.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command, Photo No. 80-G-429250, courtesy
    Mike Green
    Mercury 69k USS Mercury (AKS-20) under way, date and location unknown. Richard Miller BMCS USNR Ret.
    Newport News 118k From left to right Sixth Fleet ships moored at Barcelona, Spain in April 1956: USS Cassin Young (DD-793), USS Albany (CA-123), USS Newport News (CA-148), USS Mercury (AKS-20), and USS Mauna Loa (AE-8). Newport News had just taken over as Flagship for Vice Admiral Harry D. Felt, Commander Sixth Fleet, when this photo was taken. George Klos

    USS Mercury (AK-42 / AKS-20)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01LCDR. Graber, George W. USNR1 July 1942 - 28 May 1944AK-42
    02LCDR. Salmon, Nelson Denman28 May 1944 - ?AK-42
    05LCDR. Flaherty, James Joseph20 October 1948 - ?AKS-20
    07CDR. McKaig, William Vaughan1949 - April 1950AKS-20
    08CAPT. Delaney Jr., John FrancisApril 1950 - 1951AKS-20
    09CDR. Hobbs, George Orrin, USN (USNA 1932)1951 - 1952AKS-20
    10CDR. Conway John Philbin1953 - July 1953AKS-20
    11LCDR. Smith, Bert Leroy (XO acting CO)July 1953 - August 1953AKS-20
    12CDR. Conway John Philbin.August 1953 - August 1954AKS-20
    13CDR. Burgett, William AnoAugust 1954 - 1955AKS-20
    14CAPT. Orr Jr., William Stewart1955 - 1956AKS-20
    15CAPT. Stanley, James J.1956 - 29 July 1957AKS-20
    16CAPT. Kear Jr., Carleton Romig29 July 1957 - 29 October 1958AKS-20
    17CDR. Bellinger Jr., William Cotesworth Pinchney, USN (USNA 1933)29 October 1958 - 28 May 1959AKS-20
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves. Photos courtesy Bill Gonyo

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

    Addition Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    USS Mercury (AK-42 / AKS-20) War Diary and History, 1942-1945
    MARD 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 Back To The General Stores Issue Ship (AKS) Photo Index
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 24 May 2024