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

USNS Private William H. Thomas (T-AP-185)
USAT Private William H. Thomas (1946 - 1950)
USS Rixey (APH-3) (1942 - 1946)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Delta - Echo - Alpha
Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Top Row - American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (4)
Second Row - World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp) - Philippines Liberation Medal (1)

Tryon Class Evacuation Transport
  • Laid down, 6 August 1941, as SS Alcoa Cruiser, a Maritime Commission type (C2-S1-A1) hull, under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 177), at Moore Dry Dock Co., Oakland, CA.
  • Launched, 30 December 1941
  • Commissioned USS Rixey (APH-3), 30 December 1942, CAPT. Allen Hobbs USN, in command
  • During WWII USS Rixey was assigned to Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following campaigns:

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    New Georgia Group operation
    New Georgia - Rendova - Vangunu occupation, 8 July to 25 August 1943
    Leyte operation
    Leyte landings, 10 and 18 October 1944
    Marianas operation
    Capture and occupation of Guam, 21 to 29 July 1944
    Okinawa Gunto operation
    Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto, 25 March to 23 April 1945

  • Following World War II USS Rixey was assigned to Occupation service in the Far East from 11 to 24 September 1945
  • Decommissioned, 27 March 1946
  • Struck from the Naval Register, date unknown
  • Returned to the Maritime Commission, 9 September 1946
  • Acquired by the US Army Transportation Service, commissioned USAT Private William H. Thomas, 10 September 1946
  • Reacquired by the Navy, 1 March 1950
  • Reinstated on the Naval Register and assigned to the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS)
  • Placed in service as USNS Private William H. Thomas (T-AP-185)
  • Placed out of service and struck from the Naval Register, 27 December 1957
  • USS Rixey (APH-3) earned four battle stars for World War II service
  • Transferred to the Maritime Administration (MARAD) for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Hudson River, N.Y.
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 28 September 1970, to Tung Ho Steel Enterprise Corp., Taiwan c/o Nisso-Iwai American Corp. in a four ship sale (PD-X-881) dated 18 August 1970) for $746,667.00. Withdrawn from the Hudson River Reserve Fleet, 2 January 1971, under tow by Japanese tug Amaryllis enroute for Taiwan
    Displacement 7,100 t.(lt) 11,500 t.(fl)
    Length 450' 2"
    Beam 62'
    Draft 23' 6"(lim)
    Speed 18 kts.
    40 Officers
    409 Enlisted
    Hospital Wards
    62 Officers
    1,221 Enlisted
    one single 5"/38 dual purpose gun mount
    four twin 40mm AA gun mounts
    four single 40mm AA gun mounts
    Fuel Capacities
    NSFO 7,395 Bbls
    Diesel 275 Bbls
    one General Electric steam turbine
    two Foster-Wheeler "D" type boilers
    General Electric Main Reduction Gears
    three 250Kw 120V/240V D.C. Ships' Service Generators
    single propeller, 8,500 SHP

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    USS Rixey (APH-3)
    Rixey 173k

    RADM Presley M. Rixey, born 14 July 1852 in Culpepper Co., Va., and received his early education at schools in Culpepper and Warrenton. His family identified with the Confederate cause during the Civil War, which brought financial ruin upon its members. Undaunted by difficulties he sought and achieved an education, both general and professional, receiving the doctorate in medicine from the University of Virginia in 1873. He was appointed assistant surgeon by the Naval Examining Board on 28 January 1874, passed assistant surgeon in April 1877, and promoted to the rank of surgeon in November 1888. Appointed medical inspector in August 1900, he became Surgeon General of the Navy on 15 February 1902 and served as Chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, with the rank of rear admiral, until his retirement 4 February 1910. He was the personal physician to Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt during his career. From 16 January 1913 to 16 April 1917, he served as a member of the Naval Examining Board, presiding over it during the last 4 months of that period. He died at his home in Rosslyn, Va., on 17 June 1928.
    Image from the “Biographical Sketches of Distinguished Officers of the Army and Navy” (1905)
    Bill Gonyo
    Rixey 96k USS Rixey (APH-3) in San Francisco Bay, CA., 12 February 1943.
    US Navy photo # 19-N-41760, a Bureau of Ships photo now in the collections of the US Naval History and Heritage Command, courtesy
    Robert Hurst
    William P Biddle 106k USS Rixey (APH-3) in a floating drydock on the Wellington, N.Z., waterfront, 27 October 1943. USS William P. Biddle (APA-8), USS Harris (APA-2) and USS Sheridan (APA-51) are riding at anchor in the harbor and destroyers USS Anderson (DD-411) and USS Russell (DD-414) are nested pierside. All units are in continuing TF53 exercises and drills for the coming assault of Tarawa in November. Both destroyers were part of TF 53 that provided escort screen for the attack transports heading for Tarawa, screened heavier battle units as they shelled Betio Island in support of the landings, and provided additional fire support for the attack transports as they collected Marine casualties.
    Photo from the Museum of Wellington City and Sea, Wellington, New Zealand.
    David C. Hoover
    Rixey 220k Oil painting of USS Rixey (APH-3) underway during World War II, by Valerie Dunn, 1993. Robert Hurst
    La Salle 403k USS La Salle (AP-102) in Lingayen Gulf, 9 January 1945, with the evacuation transport USS Rixey (APH-3) in the left background, as seen from USS West Virginia (BB-48).
    US National Archives Photo # 80-G-301859, a US Navy photo now in the collections of the US National Archives
    Mike Green
    USAT Private William H. Thomas
    Rixey 105k

    William H. Thomas (January 13, 1923 – April 22, 1945) was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in World War II. Thomas joined the Army from Ypsilanti, Michigan in 1942, and by April 22, 1945 was serving as a private first class in the 149th Infantry Regiment, 38th Infantry Division. On that day, during a firefight in the Zambales Mountains on the island of Luzon in the Philippines, Thomas continued to fight even after being mortally wounded by an explosion which blew off both of his legs. He died later that day and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor five months later, on September 24, 1945. Thomas, aged 22 at his death, was buried at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines. (Wikipedia)
    Image from the “Biographical Sketches of Distinguished Officers of the Army and Navy” (1905)
    Bill Gonyo
    Rixey 44k A cargo net is used to evacuate stranded passengers aboard USAT Private William H. Thomas, 8 March 1948. Passengers were stranded for eight days after Private William H. Thomas ran aground at the mouth of the Mississippi River on 1 March. The passengers were being taken aboard a Coast Guard cutter.
    AP Wirephoto.
    Tommy Trampp
    Rixey 94k USAT Private William H. Thomas underway, date and location unknown. Tommy Trampp
    USNS Private William H. Thomas (T-AP-185)
    Rixey 22k USNS Private William H. Thomas (T-AP-185) underway, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo.
    LT. Robert Jerald Hula, USN (Ret.)
    Rixey 57k Pen and ink drawing of USNS Private William H. Thomas (T-AP-185) by Edward J. Raftery, circa 1955. Bill Valashinas
    Rixey 40k USNS Private William H. Thomas (T-AP-185) underway, circa 1952, location unknown Robert Hurst
    283k USNS Private William H. Thomas (T-AP-185) underway, date and location unknown.
    U.S. Navy MSTS photo
    Nicholas Tiberio

    USS Rixey (APH-3) / USNS Private William H Thomas (T-AP-185)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CAPT. Hobbs, Allen, USN (USNA 1920)30 December 1942 - 19 November 1943
    02CDR. Jenkins, Philip Hagenbuch, USN19 November 1943 - 19 December 1945
    03LCDR. Pratt, Morton Samuel, USNR19 December 1945 - 15 October 1945
    04CDR. Benz, Alfred Jacob, USN (USNA 1925)15 October 1945 - 27 March 1946
    05LT. Watkins, Walter Richard, USN27 March 1946 - 27 March 1946 (OIC until 3 April 1946)
    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
    MARAD Vessel History Database
    Sinking of SS Andrea Doria (See "Recollections" for eyewitness accounts of USNS William H. Thomas crew members)
    Back To The Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To The US navy Service Force Ship Type Index Back To The US Navy Evacuation Transport (APH) Photo Index Back To The US Navy Transport (AP) Photo Index Back To The US Army Transport 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 16 December 2022