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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive


Contributed by Mike Smolinski

USS American Legion (APA-17)
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USS American Legion (AP-35) (1941 - 1943)
USAT American Legion (1940 - 1941)


International Radio Call Sign:
November - Uniform - Lima - Victor
NULV
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons


Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive, 8 NOV 43) - American Defense Service Medal (with Fleet clasp)
Bottom Row - American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (2) - World War II Victory Medal

Personnel Awards

Purple Heart (1-KIA 8 NOV 43 - S1/c Charles Kaplan)

Harris Class Transport:
  • Laid down, 11 October 1919, as the passenger ship SS Badger State, at New York Shipbuilding Corp, Camden, N.J., under a United States Shipping Board (USSB) contract
  • Launched 1921
  • Delivered to the USSB, 15 July 1921, for lay up in the reserve fleet
  • Sold, 18 December 1925 to Muston Line, for operation between New York and South America
  • Laid up, 13 March 1939, at Patuxent River, MD.
  • Acquired by the US Army Transportation Corps and placed in commission as USAT American Legion in February 1940
  • Acquired by the Navy from the War Department, 22 August 1941
  • Commissioned USS American Legion (AP-35), 26 August 1941, CDR. Thomas Dickens Warner in command
  • Converted to a Naval Transport, at Atlantic Basin Iron Works, Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Redesignated Attack Transport (APA-17), 1 February 1943
  • During WWII USS American Legion was assigned first to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater:
    TransRon Ten
    TransDiv One (flagship), CAPT. B. Bartlett USN (22), and participated in the:
    Asiatic-Pacific Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Guadalcanal-Tulagi landings
    7 to 9 August 1942
    Treasury-Bougainville operation
    Occupation and defense of Cape Torokina, 1 and 13 November 1943

  • Decommissioned, 20 March 1946, at Olympia, WA., and returned to the War Department the same day
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 28 March 1946
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 5 February 1948, to Zidell Ship Dismantling Co., of Portland, OR.
  • USS American Legion earned two battle stars for her World War II service
    Specifications:
    Displacement 13,529 t.(lt), 21,900 t.(fl)
    Length 535' 2"
    Beam 72'
    Draft 31' 6"
    Speed 17.5 kts.
    Complement
    Officers 43
    Enlisted 639
    Troop Capacity
    Officers 107
    Enlisted 1,537
    Largest Boom Capacity 30 t.
    Cargo Capacity 2,500 t.
    non-refrigerated 120,000 Cu. ft.
    Armament
    four single 3"/50 cal dual purpose gun mounts
    two twin 40mm AA gun mounts
    ten single 20mm AA mounts
    two quad 1.1" AA gun mounts
    Fuel Capacities
    NSFO 25,720 Bbls
    Diesel 750 Bbls
    Propulsion
    two Westinghouse geared turbines
    eight Babcox and Wilcox header-type boilers, 265psi 480°
    double Taylor Main Reduction Gears
    Ship's Service Generators
    three turbo-drive 200Kw 120V D.C.
    two Diesel-drive 80Kw 120V D.C.
    two propellers, 12,000shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    By
    USAT American Legion
    American Legion 74k USAT American Legion underway, circa 1940, location unknown. Photo from Frederick Wood Collection Stanley C. Svec
    American Legion 366k USAT American Legion arriving at San Juan, Puerto Rico as seen from El Morro Castle, circa 1940. Photo from the collections of the US Army Center of Military History Robert Hurst
    American Legion 311k USAT American Legion underway in the Panama Canal, date unknown. Tommy Trampp
    USS American Legion (AP-35)
    American Legion 130k USS American Legion (AP-35), undergoing conversion to a Navy transport, at the Atlantic Basin Iron Works, Brooklyn, New York, on 28 August 1941. She appears to be undergoing repainting from her white US Army Transport color scheme to dark gray Navy camouflage paint. Note the weathered neutrality flag painted on her hull side amidships. The tanker Royal Arrow is visible in the right background.
    US National Archive photo # 19-N-25097, a US Navy photo from the Bureau of Ships Collection now in the National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    American Legion 94k USS American Legion (AP-35) at New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, 25 October 1941. Note her weathered dark gray camouflage paint, with white canvas lifeboat covers.
    US National Archive photo # 19-N-25715, a US Navy photo from the Bureau of Ships Collection now in the National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    American Legion 86k LCVP landing craft circle while awaiting landing orders, during the invasion of Cape Torokina, Bougainville, 1 November 1943. Photo was taken from one of USS American Legion (AP-35)s 20mm gun mounts. The invasion beaches are in the background, being shelled, and there are planes over the beaches. The smoking volcano in the far center distance is Mount Bagana.
    US Marine Corps photo #: USMC 67319 by PFC P. Scheer
    Robert Hurst
    USS American Legion (APA-17)
    American Legion 111k Amidships plan view of USS American Legion (APA-17) at Alameda, CA., 5 April 1944
    Navy Yard Mare Island photo # 2144
    Darryl Baker
    American Legion 90k Forward plan view of USS American Legion (APA-17) at Alameda, CA., 5 April 1944
    Navy Yard Mare Island photo # 2147
    Darryl Baker
    American Legion 88k Broadside view of USS American Legion (APA-17) in San Francisco Bay, 6 April 1944
    Navy Yard Mare Island photo # 2150
    Darryl Baker
    American Legion 81k USS American Legion (APA-17) underway, circa 1944-45, location unknown.
    US Navy photo # NH 92699, from the Collection of Rear Admiral Bradford Bartlett, USN, 1981, at the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    American Legion 92k USS American Legion (APA-17) partially enveloped in a smoke screen, during amphibious training exercises off the Southern California coast, circa 1944-45.
    US Navy photo # NH 92700, from the Collection of Rear Admiral Bradford Bartlett, USN, 1981, at the US Naval Historical Center.
    Robert Hurst
    American Legion 58k USS American Legion (APA-17), off San Francisco, CA., in 1945-46, probably after the end of World War II. Note that her forward guns have been removed.
    US Navy photo # NH 77398, from the Collection of Donald M. McPherson, 1973, at the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center

    USS American Legion (AP-35 / APA-17)
    DANFS history entry located at the US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Commanding Officers
    01CDR. Warner, Thomas Dickens26 August 1941 - 1 January 1943
    02CDR. Welles, Ratcliffe Chapman1 January 1943 - 31 October 1943
    03CAPT. Eckhoff, Frederick John31 October 1943 - 8 January 1945
    04CDR. Houle, Donald James, USNR8 January 1945 - 28 March 1946
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log

    Additional Web Sites of Interest
    MARAD Vessel History Data Base
    Back To The Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To The Service Forces Ship Type Index Back To The Amphibious Ship Type Index Back To The Transport (AP) Photo Index Back To The Attack Transport (APA) Photo Index
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 7 February 2014