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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

USS Serpens (AK-97)

Lost to explosion, 29 January 1945

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Kilo - Golf - Yankee
NJGY
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from left to right
American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (1) - World War II Victory Medal



USS Serpens (AK-97) was manned by the US Coast Guard during World War II
Crater Class Cargo Ship:
  • Laid down, 10 March 1943, as a Maritime Commission type (EC2-S-C1) hull, under Maritime Commission contract (MCE hull 739), at California Shipbuilding Corp., Wilmington, CA.
  • Launched, 5 April 1943
  • Acquired by the US Navy, 19 April 1943 Commissioned USS Serpens (AK-97), 28 May 1943, LCDR. Magnus J. Johnson, USCGR, in command
  • During World War II USS Serpens was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following campaign:

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates
    Consolidation of Solomon Islands
    Consolidation of northern Solomons, 7 December 1943 to 29 January 1944, 10 May to 9 June and 2 to 6 November 1944

  • Lost due to an explosion while loading depth charges, 29 January 1945, anchored off Lunga Beach, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, 198 crew, 57 Army stevedores, and a Public Health Service physician, Dr. Harry M. Levin, were killed in the explosion and another soldier ashore was killed by shrapnel
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 10 March 1945
  • USS Serpens earned one battle star for her World War II service
    Specifications:
    Displacement 4,023 t.(lt) 14,550 t.(fl)
    Length 441' 6"
    Beam 56' 11"
    Draft 28' 4"
    Speed 12.5 kts.
    Complement
    Officers 19
    Enlisted 188
    Cargo Capacity 7,700 DWT
    non-refrigerated 404,274 Cu ft
    Largest Boom Capacity 50 t.
    Armament
    one single 5"/38 cal dual purpose gun mount
    one single 3"/50 cal dual purpose gun mount
    two single 40mm AA gun mounts
    six single 20mm AA gun mounts
    Fuel Capacity
    NSFO 7,285 Bbls
    Propulsion
    one General Machine Corp. vertical triple-expansion reciprocating steam engine
    two Combustion Engineering header-type boilers, 220psi 450°
    Ship's Service Generators
    three recip-drive 20Kw 120V D.C.
    one turbo-drive 60Kw 120V D.C.
    single propeller, 2,500shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Source
    Serpens 17k USS Serpens (AK-97) moored pierside, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo #NH 89186, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center, courtesy William H Davis, 1997
    Donated by Michael Zumbach for his grandfather LTjg William C. Carber. USS Serpens (AK-97) survivor.
    Serpens 113k USS Serpens (AK-97)underway, date and location unknown.
    Photo by LTjg William C. Carber USCG
    Donated by Michael Zumbach for his grandfather LTjg William C. Carber. USS Serpens (AK-97) survivor.
    Serpens 93k USS Serpens (AK-97) officers, date and location unknown. LTjg William C. Carber is at far left of formation. Donated by Michael Zumbach for his grandfather LTjg William C. Carber. USS Serpens (AK-97) survivor.
    Serpens 36k LTjg Carber and crew members aboard USS Serpens (AK-97), date and location unknown. Donated by Michael Zumbach for his grandfather LTjg William C. Carber. USS Serpens (AK-97) survivor.
    Serpens 22k

    USS Serpens (AK-97)
    DANFS history entry located at the US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Commanding Officers
    01LCDR. Johnson, Magnus J.USCGR28 May 1943 - 22 July 1944
    02LCDR. Stinson, Perry LamarUSCG22 July 1944 - 29 January 1945
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

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

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office - USS Serpens, AK-97
    Back To The Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To The Service Force Ship Type Index Back To The Cargo Ship (AK) Photo Index
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 13 June 2014