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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive



Contributed by Al Grazevich

USS Capricornus (LKA-57)
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USS Capricornus (AKA-57) (1944 - 1969)


International Radio Call Sign:
November - Hotel - Foxtrot - Victor
NHFV
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons




Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive)
Second Row - Navy Expeditionary Medal (1-Cuba) - China Service Medal (extended)- American Campaign Medal
Third Row - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (4) - World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia and Europe clasps)
Fourth Row - National Defense Service Medal - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (3-Lebanon, 1-Cuba, 2-Dominican Republic) - Philippines Liberation Medal (2)


Andromeda Class Amphibious Cargo Ship:
  • Laid down, as SS Spitfire, a Maritime Commissioned type (C2-S-B1) hull, under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1160) at Moore Drydock Co., Oakland CA.
  • Launched, 14 August 1943
  • Acquired by the Navy from the Maritime Commission on a loan basis and placed in partial commission, 25 November 1943
  • Decommissioned, 29 November 1943, at Portland OR.
  • Recommissioned USS Capricornus (AKA-57), 31 May 1944, at Willamette Shipyard, Portland OR., CDR B. F. McGuckin, USNR, in command
  • During World War II USS Capricornus (AKA-57) was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater:
    TransRon Fourteen, COMO. D.L. Ryan USN (16)
    TransDiv Forty and participated in the following campaigns:

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Leyte operation
    Leyte landings, 20 October and 14 November 1944
    Manila Bay-Bicol operation
    Zambales-Subic Bay (San Antonio landing), 29 to 31 January 1945
    Luzon operation
    Lingayen Gulf landings, 9 January 1945
    Okinawa Gunto operation
    Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto, 1 to 9 April 1945

  • Following World War II USS Capricornus 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 26 September 194520 to 22 November 1945
    23 to 27 November 194528 October to 11 November 1946
    26 February to 3 April 19468 to 31 December 1946
    22 September to 26 October 194627 April to 22 May 1947
    21 to 26 April 1947 
    23 to 30 May 1947 

  • Title transfer, 15 October 1946, from the Maritime Commission to the US Navy
  • Decommissioned, 30 March 1948, at Norfolk VA.
  • Laid up in the Reserve Fleet
  • Recommissioned, 12 October 1950
  • USS Capricornus (AK-57) earned the Navy Occupation Service Medal while serving in European waters from 26 June to 20 September 1951
  • Redesignated (LKA-57), 1 January 1969
  • Decommissioned, 10 February 1970
  • Custody transferred to the Maritime Administration, 12 August 1970, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River Group, Lee Hall, VA.
  • Title transfer, 1 September 1971, from the US Navy to the Maritime Administration
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 1 January 1977
  • Withdrawn from reserve for stripping by the Navy, title transferred 29 June 1983
  • Final Disposition, disposed of by MARAD Exchange, 17 September 1983, presumed scrapped
  • USS Capricornus (AKA-57) earned four battle stars for World War II service
    Specifications: Displacement 6,556 t.(lt) 14,200 t.(lim)
    Length 459' 2"
    Beam 63'
    Draft 26' 4" (lim)
    Speed 16.5 kts. (trial speed)
    Complement
    Officers 65
    Enlisted 363
    Largest Boom Capacity 30 t.
    Cargo Capacity 3,900 DWT
    non-refrigerated 444,000 cu. ft.
    Armament
    one single 5"/38 dual purpose gun mount
    four twin 40mm AA gun mounts
    eighteen single 20mm AA gun mounts
    Boats
    eight LCMs
    one LCP(L)
    fifteen LCVPs
    Fuel Oil Capacity 10,990 bbls
    Propulsion
    two General Electric steam turbines, one hp, one lp
    two Foster & Wheeler D-type boilers 450psi 750°
    double General Electric Main Reduction Gears
    three Ships Service Generators - 300Kw 120V/240V D.C.
    single shaft, 6,000shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    By
    Capricornus 84k USS Capricornus (AKA-57) at anchor , date and location unknown. Tommy Trampp
    Capricornus 188k USS Capricornus (AKA-57) underway in the Caribbean Sea in March 1967. © Richard Leonhardt
    Capricornus 64k USS Capricornus (AKA-57) underway in the Caribbean Sea in March 1967. © Richard Leonhardt
    Capricornus 64k USS Capricornus (AKA-57) underway, date and location unknown.  
    Capricornus 101k USS Capricornus (AKA-57) at anchor in Valleta harbor, Malta in 1964.
    Photo from 1966/67 Edition of "Jane's Fighting Ships" courtesy A. & J. Pavie.
    Robert Hurst
    Capricornus 129k USS Capricornus (AKA-57) moored pierside, date and location unknown. Gerhard Mueller-Debus

    USS Capricornus (AKA/LKA-57)
    DANFS history entry located at the US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Commanding Officers
    01CDR. McGuckin, B. F.31 May 1944 - 17 May 1945
    02CDR. Joans, Charles A.17 May 1945 - ?
     Decommissioned30 March 1948 - 12 October 1950
    05CAPT. Hanson Jr., Burton S.12 October 1950 - ?
    08CAPT. Keating, Gordon RipleyOctober 1954 - December 1955
    09CAPT. Jones, Carlton Benton :RADMDecember 1955 - ?
    11CAPT. Morton, Thomas Howard :RADM1957 - ?
    12CAPT. Darroch, James William18 April 1958 - 12 December 1959
    13CAPT. Becker, John Joseph12 December 1959 - ?
    14CAPT. Wulzen, Donald Wesley :RADMDecember 1960 - October 1961
    15CAPT. Johnston Jr., Means :ADMOctober 1961- October 1962
    17CAPT. Ayer, William Huntington3 September 1963 - 21 November 1964
    18CAPT. Toran, William Paul21 November 1964 - November 1965
    19CAPT. Robertson, Gordon HubbardNovember 1965 - December 1966
    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 Capricornus (AKA-57) Association
    USS Capricornus - 1964 Med. Deployment, courtesy Rich Krebs
    MARAD Vessel History Database
    Back To The Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To The Amphibious Ship Type 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 18 July 2014