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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

USS Alhena (AKA-9)
USS Alhena (AK-26) (1941 - 1942)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Alpha - Whiskey - Zulu
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive - 29 September 1942, October-November 1943, 15-23 June 1944)
Second Row China Service Medal (extended) - American Defense Service Medal (with "A" device) - American Campaign Medal
Third Row - Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (6) - World War II Victory Medal
Fourth Row - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp) - Philippines Presidential Unit Citation - Philippine Liberation Medal (1)

Personnel Awards

Purple Hearts (29 September 1942 - 4-KIA, 20-WIA, 1-MIA)

Alhena Class Cargo Ship:
  • Laid down, 19 June 1940, as SS Robin Kettering, a Maritime Commission type (C2-S) hull, under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 74), at Bethlehem Steel Co., Sparrows Point Yard, MD.
  • Launched, 18 January 1941
  • Purchased by the Navy, 31 May 1941, from the Robin Line of the Seas Shipping Co., New York City, N.Y.
  • Commissioned USS Alhena (AK-26), 15 June 1941, at Hoboken, N.J., CDR. Charles B. Hunt in command
  • During World War II USS Alhena was assigned to the Europe-Africa-Middle East Theater, and the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following campaigns:

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaigns
    Campaigns and Dates Campaigns and Dates
    Guadalcanal-Tulagi landings, 7 to 9 August 1942 Marianas operation
    Capture and occupation of Saipan, 15 to 23 June 1944
    Capture and defense of Guadalcanal, 29 September 1942 Luzon operation
    Lingayen Gulf landings, 9 January 1945
    Treasury-Bougainville operation
    Occupation and defense of Cape Torokina, 1 and 13 November 1943
    Iwo Jima operation
    Assault and occupation of Iwo Jima, 9 March 1945

  • While assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater USS Alhena came under the command of:
    TransRon Eleven, COMO. D.W. Loomis USN (18);
    TransDiv Thirty-One
  • Redesignated Attack Cargo Ship (AKA-9), 26 November 1942
  • Following World War II USS Alhena was assigned to Occupation and China service in the Far East for the following periods:

    Navy Occupation Service Medal

    China Service Medal (extended)
    12 to 21 September 194525 January to 2 February 1946
    13 October to 19 November 1945 
    22 to 23 January 1946 

  • Decommissioned, 22 May 1946, at Bayonne, N.J.
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 15 August 1946
  • USS Alhena earned six battle stars for World War II service
  • Delivered to the Maritime Commission, 12 September 1946 for lay up in th National Defense Reserve Fleet, Hudson River Group, Jones Point, N,Y.
  • Merchant Service
    Purchased by Seas Shipping Co., 16 October 1947
    Sold in June 1957 by Seas Shipping Co., to Flying Hawk Inc., renamed SS Flying Hawk
    Sold in June 1962 to American Export Lines, later Isbrantsen Lines
    Final Disposition, retired from service and scrapped in 1971

    Displacement 7,101 t.(lt) 15,080 t.(fl)
    Length 479' 8"
    Beam 66'
    Draft 20' 9" (max)
    Speed 16.6kts.
    Officers 75
    Enlisted 371
    Largest Boom Capacity 30 t.
    Cargo Capacity 4,885 DWT
    refrigerated 7,930 Cu ft
    non-refrigerated 410,197 Cu ft
    one single 5"/38 cal dual purpose gun mount
    four twin 40mm AA gun mounts
    Fuel Capacities
    NSFO 11,810 Bbls
    Diesel 1,175 Bbls
    one Bethlehem Shipbuilding steam turbine
    two Babcock and Wilcox header-type boilers, 450psi 750°
    double General Electric Main Reduction Gears
    two turbo-drive 300Kw 240V D.C. Ship's Service Generators
    single propeller, 6,300shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Source
    Pre WWII Merchant Service
    Alhena 92k SS Robin Kettering, at Tietjen-Lang Dry Dock Co., Hoboken, NJ, undergoing conversion to Navy ship, Alhena (AK-26), 6 June 1941. The upperworks have been partially painted over with probable Measure One camouflage, and stages have been rigged for removing the civilian name and company markings on the hull.
    US National Archives photo # 19-N-24236, A US Navy photo from the Bureau of Ships Collection now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    USS Alhena (AK-26)
    Alhena 95k USS Alhena (AK-26) moored, 20 June 1941. Her conversion appears complete and the ship is in commission. Typical of most AK conversions of this period, she lacks any armament.
    US National Archives RG-19-LCM, photo # 19-N-24427
    a US Navy Bureau of Ships photo, courtesy
    Robert Hurst
    Alhena 263k USS Alhena (AK-26) at anchor probably near her conversion yard in June 1941. Her conversion appears complete and she is in commission. Typical of most AK conversions of this period, she lacks any armament.
    US Navy photo
    Jim Kurrasch Battleship Iowa Pacific Battleship Center
    67k USS Alhena (AK-26) barely making way. circa early 1942 before installation of her armament. Note the camouflage is now Measure 12(modified).
    US National Archives, RG-80-G, photo #'s 80-G-18024 & 80-G-18020
    US Navy photo, courtesy
    Lou Sanders and Robert Hurst
    USS Alhena (AKA-9)
    Alhena 264k Battle damage diagram of USS Alhena (AKA-9) from submarine torpedo explosion on 29 September 1942, twenty miles south of San Cristobal Island in the south Pacific. Note, although Alhena was still designated as a cargo ship (AK-26) when these photos were taken the Bureau of Ships War Damage Report describes the ship as the attack cargo ship (AKA-9).
    Damage Plate II, Bureau of Ships Navy Department, War Damage Report No. 27.
    Mike Green
    Alhena 126k Starboard side view of hull shell damage to USS Alhena (AKA-9), as seen at her arrival at Espiritu Santo for temporary repairs. Note, abrupt cutting off damage by full peak tank just aft of rupture and the definite sag in the stern.
    Bureau of Ships Navy Department, War Damage Report No. 27.
    Mike Green
    Alhena 125k
    Alhena 168k Torpedo damage to USS Alhena (AKA-9), port side view showing hull shell damage upon arrival at port after being torpedoed 29 September 1942.
    Bureau of Ships Navy Department, War Damage Report No. 27.
    Mike Green
    Alhena 105k Port side general view of USS Alhena (AKA-9) in port with temporary repairs in progress. The stern has been raised by shifting fuel oil and ammunition forward. Note, the unidentified AT alongside.
    Bureau of Ships Navy Department, War Damage Report No. 27.
    Mike Green
    87k USS Alhena (AKA-9) underway in San Francisco Bay, 5 October 1944. She has been refitted with two quadrupod masts. US National Archives, RG-19-LCM, photo #'s 19-N-80629, 19-N-80627 & 19-N-80630, courtesy Robert Hurst
    Alhena 143k Seeadler Harbor, Manus, Admiralty Islands, 10 November 1944. Small craft gathered around USS Mindanao (ARG-3) during salvage and rescue efforts shortly after USS Mount Hood (AE-11) blew up about 350 yards away from Mindanao's port side. Mindanao, and seven motor minesweepers (YMS) moored to her starboard side, were damaged by the blast, as were USS Alhena (AKA-9), in the photo's top left center, and USS Oberrender (DE-344), in top right. Note the extensive oil slick, with tracks through it made by small craft.
    US Navy photo # NH 95050 copied from the War Diary, Manus Naval Base, for November 1944.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Alhena 43k USS Alhena (AKA-9) underway, date and location unknown.
    US Navy from "All Hands" magazine, February 1950.
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    Alhena 129k USS Alhena (AKA-9) wardroom, date unknown. Jack Dyer for his father LCDR Charles J. Dyer USS Alhena
    Post WWII Merchant Service American Export - Isbrandtsen Steamship Co.
    Alhena 239k Ex-USS Alhena (AKA-9) in service as the American Export-Isbrandtsen Line cargo ship SS Flying Hawk, circa 1966, location unknown.
    Originally copyrighted by M. Lennon
    Gerhard Mueller-Debus

    USS Alhena (AKA-9)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CDR. Hunt, Charles Boardman, USN (USNA 1919)15 June 1941 - August 1942
    02CDR. Bradbury, Howard William, USN16 December 1942 - March 1944
    03CDR. Sylvester, Malcolm Duncan, USN (USNA 1925) :RADM5 March 1944 - 10 July 1944
    04CDR. Erickson, Raymond Calvert, USN (USNA 1926)10 July 1944 - 22 May 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
    USS Alhena (AK-26) War Diary 1 May 1942 to 31 January 1943
    USS Alhena (AKA-9) War Diary 1 February 1943 to 30 November 1945
    MARAD Vessel History Database
    Back To The Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To The Service Force Ship Type Index Back To The Amphibious Ship Type Index Back To The Cargo Ship (AK) Photo Index Back To The Amphibious Cargo Ship (AKA) Photo Index
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 28 June 2019