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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski

Contributed by Al Grazevich

USS Chara (AE-31)
USS Chara (AKA-58) (1944 - 1966)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Hotel - Hotel - Lima
JANAP Tactical Voice Radio Call Sign - Abigail (1950-53)
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (8 Jan 45)
Second Row - Navy Unit Commendation - 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 clasp)
Fourth Row - National Defense Service Medal (2) - Korean Service Medal (7) - Vietnam Service Medal (8)
Fifth Row - United Nations Service Medal - Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal - Republic of Korea War Service Medal (retroactive)

Andromeda Class Amphibious Cargo Ship
  • Laid down, date unknown, as a Maritime Commission type (C2-S-B1) hull, under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 210) at Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Kearny, N.J.
  • Launched, 15 March 1944
  • Commissioned USS Chara (AKA-58), 14 June 1944, CDR. C. B. Hamblett, USNR, in command
  • During World War II USS Chara (AKA-58) 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 18 November 1944
    Manila Bay-Bicol operations
    Zambales - San Antonio, 26 January 1945
    Luzon operation
    Lingayen Gulf landings, 9 and 10 January 1945
    Okinawa Gunto operation
    Assault and capture of Okinawa Gunto, 1 to 6 April 1945

  • Following World War II USS Chara was assigned to Occupation service in the Far East from 4 October to 25 November 1945
  • Assigned to the Naval Transportation Service (NTS) in 1946
  • Absorbed into the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) 1 October 1949
  • During the Korean War USS Chara (AKA-58) was reassigned to the Service Force Pacific and participated in the following campaigns:

    Korean War Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    North Korean Aggression
    1 to 10 August 1950
    Second Korean Winter
    28 November to 3 December 1951
    16 to 29 December 1951
    9 to 23 January 1952
    10 to 20 February 1952
    26 February to 1 March 1952
    13 to 25 March 1952
    1 to 7 and 19 to 28 April 1952
    Communist China Aggression
    14 November 1950 to 24 January 1951
    Korean Defense Summer-Fall 1952
    23 August to 5 September 1952
    12 to 15 September 1952
    26 September to 11 October 1952
    27 October to 30 November 1952
    First UN Counter Offensive
    4 February to 2 March 1951
    Third Korean Winter
    1 to 23 December 1952
    12 to 26 January 1953
    6 to 12 and 22 to 27 February 1953
    10 to 23 March 1953
    5 to 13 April 1953
    UN Summer-Fall Offensive
    23 August to 2 September 1951
    6 to 26 September 1951
    19 October to 7 November 1951
    20 to 27 November 1951

  • Following the Korean War USS Chara was assigned to China service from 30 to 31 January 1955 and 12 to 13 February 1955
  • Decommissioned, 21 April 1959
  • Converted to an Ammunition Ship, redesignated AE-31, 1 November 1965
  • Recommissioned, 25 June 1966 as USS Chara (AE-31), CAPT. Newton P. Foss in command
  • During the Vietnam War USS Chara (AE-31) participated in the following campaigns:

    Vietnam War Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase II
    22 November to 13 December 1966
    25 December 1966 to 18 January 1967
    29 January to 15 February 1967
    28 February to 6 March 1967
    Vietnam Winter-Spring 1970
    9 to 27 February 1970
    8 to 25 March 1970
    1 and 9 to 25 April 1970
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase III
    24 October to 11 November 1967
    23 November to 15 December 1967
    6 to 18 January 1968
    Sanctuary Counteroffensive
    1 to 18 May 1970
    2 May to 6 June 1970
    29 to 30 June 1970
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase IV
    6 to 16 November 1968
    26 November to 1 December 1968
    1 to 13 and 17 to 23 January 1969
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase VII
    1 to 12 July 1970
    8 to 18 May 1971
    26 May to 14 June 1971
    23 to 30 June 1971
    Tet/69 Counteroffensive
    23 February to 3 March 1969
    17 to 23 March 1969
    1 to 18 April 1969
    Consolidation I
    1 to 5 and 12 to 23 July 1971
    27 July to 7 August 1971
    15 to 26 August 1971
    16 September to 14 October 1971
    24 October to 6 November 1971

  • Decommissioned, 10 March 1972
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 10 March 1972
  • USS Chara as AKA-58 earned four battle stars for World War II service, seven battle stars for Korean War service and as AE-31 earned eight campaign stars for Vietnam War service
  • Returned to the Maritime Administration (MARAD) for disposal
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 12 November 1972, (PIX #1388K) to Zidell Explorations, Portland, OR. Withdrawn from the reserve fleet, 13 November 1972
    AKA Specifications
    Displacement 6,556 t.(lt) 13,900 t.(fl)
    Length 459' 2"
    Beam 63'
    Draft 26' 4"
    Speed 16.5 kts.
    Officers 37
    Enlisted 343
    Largest Boom Capacity30 t.
    Cargo Capacity 4,450 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 Capacity NSFO 10,900 Bbls
    one General Electric steam turbine
    two Foster Wheeler D-type boilers, 450psi 750°
    double General Electric Main Reduction Gears
    three 300Kw 120V/240V Ships' Service Generators
    single propeller, 6,000shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    USS Chara (AKA-58)
    Chara 24k USS Chara (AKA-58) under way, date and location unknown. .
    Chara 84k USS Chara (AKA-58) at anchor, date and location unknown. Tommy Trampp
    Chara 73k USS Chara (AKA-58) under way, date and location unknown. Hyperwar US Navy
    in WWII web site
    Chara 58k USS Chara (AKA-58) under way, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo now in the collections of the NARA Seattle.
    Tracy White
    Chara 47k USS Chara (AKA-58) during an underway replenishment with USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) and USS Hollister (DD-788), circa early 1950s during the Korean War.
    US Navy photo now in the collections of the NARA Seattle.
    Tracy White
    Chara 316k USS Chara (AKA-58) at anchor during the Korean War, location unknown. David Kusel courtesy Wilbur Karsten USS Chara
    Chara 102k USS Chara (AKA-58) at anchor, US Naval Station Sasebo, Japan, circa 1951-52. David Kusel courtesy Wilbur Karsten USS Chara
    Chara 516k USS Chara (AKA-58) deck crew operating winches during an underway replenishment, circa 1951-1952. Note the pallet of shells and the spent brass in the background. David Kusel courtesy Wilbur Karsten USS Chara
    Chara 623k USS Chara (AKA-58) breaking out 8 inch powder during an underway replenishment, circa 1951-1952. David Kusel courtesy Wilbur Karsten USS Chara
    Chara 498k Spent brass casings returned to USS Chara (AKA-58) during an underway replenishment, circa 1951-1952. David Kusel courtesy Wilbur Karsten USS Chara
    Chara 1388k USS Chara (AKA-58) entering drydock #3 at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, 23 January 1958, as she prepares for her official decommissioning on 21 April 1959.
    US Navy photo.
    Darryl Baker
    USS Chara (AE-31)
    Chara 125k USS Chara (AE-31) under way in January 1967. She was reconfigured as an ammunition ship during the early part of the Korean War but was not reclassified as such until reactivated in 1965 for service in the Vietnam War. Her sister USS Virgo (AE-30), ex (AKA-20) had a similar post-World War II career.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # USN 1119650, courtesy
    Robert Hurst
    Chara 168k USS Chara (AE-31) preparing to conduct a replenishment at sea (rearm) a ship, date and location unknown.
    Photo © Phil R. Hays.
    Richard Miller BMCS USNR Ret.
    Chara 251k USS Chara (AE-31) underway in the Pacific Ocean in 1969. Mike Smolinski
    Chara 103k USS Chara (AE-31) conducting a replenishment at sea (rearming) USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) while on Yankee Station off the coast of South Vietnam, date unknown. Richard Miller BMCS USNR Ret.
    Chara 128k USS Chara (AE-31) conducting a replenishment at sea with USCGC Hamilton (WHEC 715) off the coast of South Vietnam in 1971. Bryan Fisher, RMC USCG
    Chara 123k USS Chara (AE-31) off the coast of Vietnam in 1971. As seen from HMAS Brisbane (D41)
    Photo by Bob Westthorp, RAN 1964-1988
    Bob Canchola
    Chara 179k USS Chara (AE-31) outbound to sea passing Point Loma while exiting San Diego harbor, date unknown. Richard Miller BMCS USNR Ret.
    Chara 158k Ex-USS Chara (AE-31) moored pierside in a scrappers yard at Tacoma, WA. in February 1973.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command, Photo # NH 89308
    Mike Green

    Replenishment at sea (rearming) USS America (CVA-66), May–July 1970
    Photos from the Collection of Larry Monroe, via Robert Hall 19691971





    USS Chara (AKA-58 / AE-31)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CDR. Hamblett, Cyril Bertram, USNR :ADM14 June 1944 - 10 August 1944AKA-58
    02CDR. Clark, John Pascoe10 August 1944 - 3 August 1945 AKA-58
    03CDR. Thwing, Samuel F.3 August 1945 - 1 February 1946AKA-58
    04CAPT. Wagner, Daniel Jacob :RADM1 February 1946 - 13 February 1947AKA-58
    05CAPT. Johnson, Francis Joseph13 February 1947 - 5 April 1948AKA-58
    06CDR. Hindrelet, Albert Francis5 April 1948 - 18 August 1949AKA-58
    07CAPT. Hamlin, Arthur L.18 August 1949 - 3 October 1950AKA-58
    08CAPT. Palmer, George Goldston :RADM3 October 1950 - 23 May 1952AKA-58
    09CAPT. Laird Jr., George Hays23 May 1952 - 16 July 1953AKA-58
    10CAPT. Babb, James Dunnington17 July 1953 - 18 September 1954AKA-58
    11CAPT. Slayden, Alvin Weems18 September 1954 - 17 December 1955AKA-58
    12CAPT. Williams, Paul Darwin, USN (USNA 1932)17 December 1955 - 4 January 1957AKA-58
    13CAPT. Smith, Bernard Adrian4 January 1957 - 10 January 1958AKA-58
    14CAPT. Foster, John Lee10 January 1958 - 2 June 1958AKA-58
    15CAPT. Daunis, Stanley S.2 June 1958 - 21 April 1959AKA-58
     Decommissioned21 April 1959 - 25 June 1966 
    01CAPT. Foss, Newton Perry :RADM25 June 1966 - 19 May 1967AE-31
    02CAPT. Saunders, David McKeon, USN (USNA 1945)19 May 1967 - 6 September 1968AE-31
    03CAPT. Taylor, Dean6 September 1968 - 23 February 1970AE-31
    04CAPT. Boniface, John Grissett, USN (USNA 1946)23 February 1970 - 29 January 1971 AE-31
    05CAPT. Feagin, Frederick29 January 1971 - 10 March 1972AE-31
    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
    AE/AOE Sailors Association
    Back To The Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To The Amphibious Ship Type Index Back To The Service Force Ship Type Index Back To The Amphibious Cargo Ship (AKA) Photo Index Back To The Ammunition Ship (AE) Photo Index
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 30 July 2021