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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

Contributed by Al Grazevich

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

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

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive) - Navy Expeditionary Medal (Cuba)
Second Row - China Service Medal (extended)- American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (4)
Third Row - World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia and Europe clasps) - National Defense Service Medal
Fourth Row - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Lebanon, Cuba, Dominican Republic) - Philippines Presidential Unit Citation - 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 (AKA-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
  • USS Capricornus (AKA-57) earned four battle stars for World War II service
  • MARAD Ship Exchange Program, 17 September 1983, to Connecticut Transport Inc. (c/o Ogden Marine Inc.)
  • Resold to Fila Oil N.V. Netherlands Antilles, 17 September 1983
  • Final Disposition, scrapping completed, 16 May 1985 in Spain
    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)
    Officers 65
    Enlisted 363
    Largest Boom Capacity 30 t.
    Cargo Capacity 3,900 DWT
    non-refrigerated 444,000 cu. ft.
    one single 5"/38 dual purpose gun mount
    four twin 40mm AA gun mounts
    eighteen single 20mm AA gun mounts
    eight LCMs
    one LCP(L)
    fifteen LCVPs
    Fuel Oil Capacity 10,990 bbls
    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
    462k USS Capricornus (AKA-57) moored pierside at Willamette Iron & Steel Corp. Shipyard, Portland, OR., 10 June 1944.
    US Navy Bureau of Ships photo # 19-N-69075
    Nicholas Tiberio
    436k USS Capricornus (AKA-57) underway on the Willamette River near the Willamette Iron & Steel Corp. Shipyard, Portland, OR., 10 June 1944.
    US Navy Bureau of Ships photo # 19-N-69072
    Nicholas Tiberio
    Capricornus 266k USS Capricornus (AKA-57) under way at low speed, circa 1945.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo: # NH 107729.
    Robert Hurst
    Capricornus 84k USS Capricornus (AKA-57) at anchor , date and location unknown. Tommy Trampp
    118k USS Capricornus (AKA-57) off the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, 10 June 1954. USS Bowman County (LST-391) is visible in the background.
    U.S. National Archives Identifier (NAID) 6931797, U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships photo 19-NN-AKA-57 Capricornus-15164.
    Robert Hurst
    Capricornus 78k USS Capricornus (AKA-57) off Norfolk Naval Shipyard, 10 June 1954.
    US Navy photos now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    Ron Reeves
    Capricornus 103k
    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 Valletta harbor, Malta in 1964. Photo from 1966/67 Edition of "Jane's Fighting Ships" courtesy A. & J. Pavie. Robert Hurst
    189k USS Capricornus (AKA-57) underway, date and location unknown. Nicholas Tiberio
    Capricornus 129k USS Capricornus (AKA-57) moored pierside, date and location unknown. Gerhard Mueller-Debus
    Capricornus 195k USS Capricornus (AKA-57) ship's plaque. Michael Ayer for his father CAPT. Wilmon H. Ayer USN (CO March 1963 to November 1964)
    Capricornus 258k USS Capricornus (AKA-57) ship's plaque.
    Donated to the US Navy Memorial by LtCol Burk Andrews, USMC (Ret) who stated: “…plaque from the USS CAPRICORNUS (AKA-57), which was given to me upon my transfer from CAPRICORNUS in 1963, after serving aboard as the Marine Combat Cargo Officer (CCO) for two years.”
    Mark T. Weber Curator, US Navy Memorial Foundation

    USS Capricornus (AKA/LKA-57)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CDR. Perry, Roger Edison USN (USNA 1924) (APA Ferry Crew # 125 November 1943 - 30 November 1943
     Decommissioned30 November 1943 - 31 May 1944
    02LCDR. McGuckin, Benjamin F., USNR31 May 1944 - 17 May 1945
    03CDR. Joans, Charles Arthur, USNR17 May 1945 - 20 May 1946
    04CAPT. Wells, John Katz, USN (USNA 1926)20 May 1946 - 1947
    05CAPT. Brewer, James Theodore, USN (USNA 1926)1947 - 2 January 1948
    06LCDR. Joslin, Hamilton B. USNR2 January 1948 - 30 March 1948
     Decommissioned30 March 1948 - 12 October 1950
    07CAPT. Hanson Jr., Burton S.12 October 1950 - ?
    08CAPT. Keating, Gordon RipleyOctober 1954 - 11 November 1955
    09CAPT. Jones, Carlton Benton, USN (USNA 1933) :RADM11 November 1955 - October 1956
    10CAPT. Morton, Thomas Howard :RADMOctober 1956 - ?
    11CAPT. Darroch, James William18 April 1958 - 12 December 1959
    12CAPT. Becker, John Joseph12 December 1959 - September 1960
    13CAPT. Johnston, James Frederick Bernard (Ben), USN (USNA 1939)September 1960 - December 1960
    13CAPT. Wulzen, Donald Wesley :RADMDecember 1960 - October 1961
    14CAPT. Johnston Jr., Means, USN :ADMOctober 1961- October 1962
    15CAPT. Savage, Robert William, USNOctober 1962- 3 September 1963
    16CAPT. Ayer, Wilmon Huntington3 September 1963 - 21 November 1964
    17CAPT. Toran, William Paul, USN (NYSMA 1940) New York State Maritime Academy21 November 1964 - November 1965
    18CAPT. 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
    Action Report - Landing of Occupation Forces, Nagasaki Japan, September 1945
    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
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    Last Updated 1 September 2023