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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

USAT Willard A. Holbrook
Willard A. Holbrook (AP-44)

Passenger Transport:
  • Laid down, 3 October 1918, as SS Bertice under USSB contract 1165 at Bethlehem Steel Shipyard Sparrows Point, MD.
  • Launched, 24 July 1920
  • Completed, 30 April 1921 as SS Buckeye State
  • Acquired by Matson Navigation Co., 30 April 1921
  • Acquired by the Pacific Mail Steamship Co., name changed to SS President Taft in 1923
  • Acquired by the Dollar Steamship Co., (later American President Lines) in 1925
  • Acquired by the US War Department, 17 June 1941, for use as an Army Transport, renamed USAT Willard A. Holbrook
  • Designated (AP-44) by the US Navy but never taken over by the Navy remaining under Army control throughout World War II
  • Conversion to Army hospital ship USAHS Armin W. Leuschner in 1944 at Mobile, AL canceled, reverted to transport USAT Willard A. Holbrook in 1945
  • Transferred to the Maritime Commission for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Hudson River Group, 8 March 1948
  • Title transferred to the Maritime Commission, 21 July 1948
  • Transferred to the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River Group, Lee Hall, VA., 11 November 1949
  • Declared surplus to Maritime Commission needs, 12 December 1949
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 29 October 1957, to Bethlehem Steel Co.
    Displacement 6,696 t.(lt) 14,476 t.(fl)
    Length 491'
    Beam 65'
    Draft 25' 7"
    Speed 17.9 kts.
    Compliment unknown
    Troop Capacity unknown
    Armament (1945)
    one single 5"/38 dual purpose gun mounts
    four single 3"/50 dual purpose gun mounts
    eight single 20mm AA gun mounts
    one General Electric steam turbine
    single propeller, 7,800shp

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    Size Image Description Source
    Merchant Service Matson Navigation Co. Pacific Mail Steamship Co. Pacific Mail Steamship Co.
    57k Matson Navigation Company's SS Buckeye State underway in the Gaillard Cut of the Panama Canal, circa 1921-23.
    Photo from
    Tommy Trampp
    Holbrook 76k Advertisement in the "Evening Public Ledger - Philadelphia", Tuesday , May 31, 1921 featuring Matson Navigation Co.'s "De Luxe Steamer SS Buckeye State service between Baltimore, San Francisco and Hawaii. Tommy Trampp
    Holbrook 124k SS President Taft, dry docked at Mare Island Navy Yard, 1924. Tommy Trampp
    Relief 204k SS President Taft moored aft of USS Relief (AH-1) at Mare Island Navy Yard. circa June 17 to July 3 1924.
    Photo from the collections of the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum.
    Darryl Baker
    105k Painting in oil of the Dollar Line steamship SS President Taft, by T.G. Purvis (1861-1933). Dollar Steamship Co. Dollar Line. Circa 1927. This is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art, that can be found at the Vallejo Gallery Vallejo Demo ( Robert Hurst
    65k Two views of passenger liner SS President Taft in one the floating docks at the Oakland plant of Moore Drydock Co., date unknown.
    Images from "Pacific Marine Review", Volume XXXV, November 1938, Number 11.
    Robert Hurst
    USAT Willard A. Holbrook
    Holbrook 24k
    Willard Ames Holbrook (July 23, 1860 – July 18, 1932) was a major general in the United States Army. Coming from a family with long military tradition, he was the father of future Brigadier General Willard Ames Holbrook, Jr. and brother of Major General Lucius Roy Holbrook. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1885 and was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Regiment (later he was assigned to the 7th Cavalry Regiment). Holbrook was stationed in Cuba during the Spanish–American War. From 1901 to 1902, following the war, he served as Civil Governor of Antique, Philippines. After America entered World War I in April 1917, Holbrook was promoted to brigadier general in command of the 165th Infantry Brigade. In April 1918, he was further promoted to major general and placed in command of the 9th Infantry Division. Holbrook's final assignment was as Chief of the U.S. Cavalry. He retired from the Army on July 23, 1924.
    Tommy Trampp
    Holbrook 123k USAT Willard A. Holbrook under way circa 1941, looking like a recruiting poster for the Army. At this time she still retained the name President Taft from her previous service with the American President Line, Originally designated AP-44 by the Navy but handed over to and operated by the Army.
    US Army Military History Institute photo and text from "U.S. Army Ships and Watercraft of World War II" by David H. Grover
    Robert Hurst
    Holbrook 343k USAT Willard A. Holbrook arriving at Brisbane, 22 December 1941. Note the numerous small lifeboats indicate that she was not fitted as a combat-loaded transport.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 85267 from Roland W. Charles, "Troopships of World War II" (Washington, D.C., 1947).
    Robert Hurst
    Edsall 63k USS Edsall (DD-219) escorting USAT Willard A. Holbrook, as both are under way, 15 February 15, 1942.
    Australian War Memorial, Photo No. 302624.
    Mike Green
    Holbrook 44k USAT Willard A. Holbrook at Fremantle, Australia, 17 May 1942. She was part of a convoy which brought troops of the Australian Imperial Force from the Middle East to Australia. Note the Curtiss SOC Seagull on the catapult of the U.S. Navy light cruiser USS Phoenix (CL-46) in the foreground.
    Australian armed forces photo. This image is available from the Collection Database of the Australian War Memorial under the ID Number: 025405.
    Robert Hurst
    Holbrook 51k Aerial starboard side view of USAT Willard A. Holbrook which brought US troops to Australia as part of the Pensacola convoy in December 1941. She carried US troops to Darwin in January 1942 and repatriated Australian troops from the Middle East as part of Convoy SU.4, a component of the STEPSISTER movement in May 1942.
    Australian War Memorial ID Number: 303404
    Robert Hurst
    Holbrook 130k Shellback certificate issued to Ken Kohler for crossing the Equator while aboard USAT Willard A. Holbrook, 11 December 1942. Carol Edgemon Hipperson for Evi Kohler the widow of Ken Kohler
    Holbrook 392k Shellback certificate issued to ENS. Richard C. Maconi for crossing the Equator while aboard USAT Willard A. Holbrook, date unknown. Tommy Trampp

    There is no history available for Willard A. Holbrook (AP-44) at NavSource
    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    Ship's Newspaper "Holbrook Herald"
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    Last Updated 5 April 2024