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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

USS Cetus (AK-77)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Yankee - Mike - Foxtrot
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive - Guadalcanal, 16 June 1943)
Bottom Row - American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (2) - World War II Victory Medal

Crater Class Cargo Ship
  • Laid down as, date unknown, as SS George B. Cortelyou, a Maritime Commission type (EC2-S-C1) hull, under Maritime Commission contract (MCE Hull 445), at Permanente Metals Corp., Yard No. 2, Richmond, CA.
  • Launched, 26 December 1942
  • Acquired by the US Navy, 4 January 1943
  • Commissioned, USS Cetus (AK-77), 17 January 1943, LCDR. Nicolas T. Gansa, USNR, in command
  • During World War II USS Cetus was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following campaigns:

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaign
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Marianas operation
    Capture and occupation of Saipan, 27 July to 9 August 1944
    Okinawa Gunto operation
    Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto, 26 April to 5 May 1945

  • Decommissioned, 20 November 1945, at Norfolk, VA.
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 5 December 1945
  • Returned to the Maritime Commission, 21 November 1945, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River Group, Lee Hall, VA., name reverted to SS George B. Cortelyou
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 26 October 1971, to Hierros Ardes S.A., Spain
  • Withdrawn from reserved and delivered to her purchaser, 6 January 1972
  • USS Cetus earned two battle stars for World War II service
    Displacement 4,023 t.(lt) 14,250 t.(fl)
    Length 441' 6"
    Beam 56' 11"
    Draft 28' 4"
    Speed 12.5 kts (trial)
    Officers 21
    Enlisted 189
    Troop Accommodation
    Officers 52
    Enlisted 991
    Largest Boom Capacity 50 t.
    Cargo Capacity 7,500 DWT
    non-refrigerated 400,000 Cu ft.
    one single 5"/38 cal dual purpose gun mount
    one single 3"/50 cal dual purpose gun mount
    two single 40mm AA gun mounts
    six single 20mm AA gun mounts
    Fuel Capacity
    NSFO 7,285 Bbls
    one Joshua-Hendy vertical triple-expansion reciprocating steam engine
    two Combustion Engineering header-type boilers, 220psi 450°
    Ship's Service Generators
    three recip-drive 20Kw 120V D.C.
    one turbo-drive 60Kw 120V D.C.
    single propeller, 2,500shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    Cetus 82k USS Cetus (AK-77) at anchor in San Francisco Bay, 25 August 1945, She has been modified with two 40mm guns instead of two 20mm guns in the after positions on the deckhouse. The 40mm guns are stowed horizontally while the 20mm guns in the forward positions on the deckhouse are stowed vertically.
    US National Archives photo # 19-N-90243, a US Navy Bureau of Ships photo now in the collections of the US National Archives, courtesy
    Mike Green
    Cetus 364k Life Saving Leaflet dropped over Japanese held areas of Okinawa. Kurt Springhower for hi uncle James Cavanaugh SC3/c USS Cetus

    USS Cetus (AK-77)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
    Commanding Officers
    01LCDR. Gansa, Nicholas Thomas, USNR17 January 1943 - 1 May 1943
    02LCDR. Grey, Ernest James, USNR1 May 1943 - 1 June 1944
    03LT. Johnson, Charles B., USNR1 June 1944 - ?
    04LCDR. Martin Jr., Harold Louis, USNR? - 20 November 1945
    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
    MARAD Vessel History Database
    List Air Raids dates at Ie Shima, Naha Harbor while Cetus was there
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 13 January 2017