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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

APL-39
ex
Mercer (IX-502) (1975 - 2001)
USS Mercer (APB-39) (1945 - 1975)


International Radio Call Sign:
November - Uniform- India - Quebec
NUIQ
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons




Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon(4)
Second Row - Presidential Unit Citation - Naval Unit Commendation - American Campaign Medal
Third Row - World War II Victory Medal - National Defense Service Medal - Vietnam Service Medal (4)
Fourth Row - Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation (3) - Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation - Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

Personnel Awards

Purple Hearts: (1 KIA - CS1 Thomas E. Sheppard, 22 NOV68)
Benawah Class Self-propelled Barracks Ship:
  • Authorized, 17 December 1943, as Barracks Ship (non-self propeller) APL-39
  • Reclassified Barracks Ship (self-propelled) APB-39, 8 August 1944
  • Laid down, 24 August 1944, at Boston Naval Shipyard, Boston, MA.
  • Launched, 17 November 1944
  • Commissioned USS Mercer (APB-39), 19 September 1945, LCDR. Edward E. Vezey, Jr., USNR, in command
  • Decommissioned, 18 June 1947, at Green Cove Springs, FL.
  • Laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, Florida Group, Green Cove Springs
  • Recommissioned, 12 October 1951, at Green Cove Springs
  • Decommissioned, 17 February 1956, at Green Cove Springs, FL.
  • Laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, Florida Group, Green Cove Springs
  • Recommissioned, 11 May 1968, at Long Beach CA.
  • During the Vietnam War USS Mercer participated in the following campaigns:
    Vietnam War Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase V
    29 July 1968 to 1 November 1968
    Tet 69/Counteroffensive
    23 February to 8 June 1969
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase VI
    2 November 1968 to 22 February 1969
    Vietnam Summer-Fall 1969
    9 June to 24 August 1969

  • Decommissioned, date unknown
  • Reclassified Miscellaneous Auxiliary (IX-502) a messing and berthing barge
  • Placed in service, 1 November 1975 at the US Naval Ship Repair Facility, Sasebo Japan
  • Reclassified Barracks Ship (non-self propelled) APL-39, 7 March 2001
  • USS APL-39 is part of the CincPacFlt Berthing and Messing Program and is berthed at SRF Det. Sasebo, Japan
  • USS Mercer earned four campaign stars for Vietnam War service in addition to the Presidential Unit Citation and the Navy Unit Commendation
    APB Specifications:
    Displacement 4,000 t.
    Length 328'
    Beam 50'
    Draft 11' 2"
    Speed 12 kts.
    Complement
    Officers 12
    Enlisted 129
    Troop Accommodation
    Officers 26
    Enlisted 1200
    Armament
    two quad 40mm AA gun mounts
    twenty .50 and .30 cal machine guns
    Fuel Capacity
    Diesel 2,975 Bbls
    Propulsion
    two General Motors 12-567A Diesel engines
    double Falk Main Reduction Gears
    five Diesel-drive 100Kw 120V/240V Ship's Service Generators
    twin rudders
    two propellers, 1,600shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    By
    USS Mercer (APB-39)
    Marlboro 166k USS Mercer (APB-39) and USS Marlboro (APB-38) under construction at Boston Navy Yard, 3 January 1945. Note the two-level superstructure running nearly the entire length of the ships with the pilot house on top forward.
    US Navy Yard Boston photo # 40-45 NYBos from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    Robert Hurst
    Mercer 29k USS Mercer (APB-39) during sea trials, 17 September 1945, at off Boston, MA.
    USN photo, Naval History Magazine
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret
    Mercer 16k USS Mercer (APB-39) underway with a tug alongside, circa 1955. Mobile Riverine Force Association, courtesy Robert E. Blevins
    Mercer 23k USS Mercer (APB-39) underway while docking/undocking, circa 1955. Mobile Riverine Force Association, courtesy Robert E. Blevins
    Mercer 60k USS Mercer (APB-39) crew photo, circa 1955. Mobile Riverine Force Association, courtesy Robert E. Blevins
    Mercer 26k USS Mercer (APB-39), in support of Mobile Riverine Forces, South Vietnam, MRFA
    Mercer 38k USS Mercer (APB-39), in support of Mobile Riverine Forces, South Vietnam, circa 1969 Bruce Schulze
    MRFA
    Mercer 114k USS Mercer (APB-39) moored pierside at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard, Hunters Point, circa late 1969. Ron Reeves
    Mercer (IX-502)
    Mercer 129k Mercer (IX-502) moored at Naval Station San Diego, summer 1985. Photo by Ed Zajkowski
    Mercer 31k Mercer (IX-502) moored at SRF Det., Sasebo Japan, circa 2000 Bob Gregory, Dep Requirements & Special Programs Officer, COMPACFLT N43
    APL-39
    Mercer 50k APL-39 moored at SRF Det., Sasebo Japan, circa 2002. Department of Defense photo # DSCN 0898 Bob Gregory, Dep Requirements & Special Programs Officer, COMPACFLT N43
    Mercer 1398k APL-39 moored at SRF Det., Sasebo Japan, 13 December 2012. Bob Gregory, Dep Requirements & Special Programs Officer, COMPACFLT N43

    USS Mercer (APB-39)
    DANFS history entry located at the US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Mobile Riverine Force Association Vietnam War history
    Commanding Officers
    01LCDR. Vezey Jr., Edward E.19 September 1945 - 15 October 1945
    02LT. Brandman, Rudolph USN15 October 1945 - 2 January 1946
    03LT. Poore, George Edward USN2 January 1947 - 2 May 1947
    04LT. Blinzler, Urban John USN2 May 1947- 18June 1947
     Decommissioned18 June 1947 - 12 October 1951
     Decommissioned17 February 1956 - 11 May 1968
    05LCDR. Owenson, William Thomas (Tom) USN11 May 1968 - 8 June 1960
    06LCDR. Foreman, Merlin Lee Robert USN8 June 1960 - ?
    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
    Mobile Riverine Force Association
    Back To The Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To The Amphibious Ship Type Index Back To The Self-propelled Barracks Ship (APB) Photo Index Back To The Self-propelled Barracks (APB) Ship Photo Index Back To The Miscellaneous Unclassified (IX) Photo Index
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 21 February 2014