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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

USS Comet (AP-166)

/International Radio Call Sign:
November - Kilo - Whiskey - Papa
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive, 15 June 1944, Saipan) - China Service Medal (extended)
Second Row - American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (2) - World War II Victory Medal
Third Row - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp) - Philippines Presidential Unit Citation - Philippines Liberation Medal (1)

La Salle Class Transport:
  • Laid down in 1942 as SS Comet, a Maritime Commission type (C2-S-B1) hull, under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 293) at Moore Dry Dock Co., Oakland, CA.
  • Launched, 21 December 1942
  • Converted for the WSA by Matson Navigation, San Francisco, CA., 11 November 1943 to 16 February 1944
  • Transferred to the Mississippi Shipping Co., under General Agency Agreement, 14 August 1943
  • Commissioned USS Comet (AP-166), 15 February 1944, CDR. Vard F. Stieglitz, USNR, in command
  • During World War II USS Comet was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following campaigns:

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Marianas operation
    Capture and occupation of Saipan, 15 to 22 June 1944
    Capture and occupation of Guam, 23 to 29 July 1944
    Leyte operation
    Leyte landings, 30 October and 18 November 1944

  • Following World War II USS Comet was assigned to Occupation and China service in the Far East for the following periods:

    Navy Occupation Service Medal

    China Service Medal (extended)
    10 to 17 March 19468 to 11 February 1946
     18 to 23 March 1946
     27 March to 15 April 1946
     5 to 15 May 1946
  • Decommissioned, 14 August 1946, at Seattle, WA.
  • Struck from the Naval Register, date unknown
  • USS Comet earned two battle stars for World War II service
  • Transferred to the Maritime Commission, 8 November 1946 for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, Benecia, CA.
  • Merchant Service
    Sold, 26 August1948 by the Maritime Administration to United States Lines subsidiary American Pioneer Lines, renamed SS Pioneer Reef
    Sold, 29 June 1965, to Farrell Lines Inc., renamed SS Australian Reef
    Final Disposition, sold for scrapping to Keun Hwa Iron Steel Works & Enterprises, Kaohsiung, Taiwan in May 1970

    Displacement 6,556 t.(lt) 13,910 t.(fl)
    Length 459' 2"
    Beam 63'
    Draft 23' (lim)
    Speed 16.5 kts (trial)
    Officers 24
    Enlisted 252
    Troop Accommodations
    Officers 75
    Enlisted 1,500
    Cargo Capacity 2,100 DWT
    refrigerated 10,321 Cu ft
    non-refrigerated 135,935 Cu ft
    Largest Boom Capacity 10 t.
    one single 5"/38 cal dual purpose gun mount
    four single 3"/50 cal dual purpose gun mounts
    twelve single 20mm AA gun mounts
    Fuel Capacities
    NSFO 10,300 Bbls
    Diesel 880 bbls
    one General Electric steam turbine
    two Foster Wheeler D-type boilers, 450psi 750°
    double General Electric Main Reduction Gears
    three 250Kw 240V D.C. Ship's Service Generators
    single propeller, 6,000hp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    USS Comet (AP-166)
    Comet 78k USS Comet (AP-166) under way, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo.
    Richard Miller BMCS USNR Ret.
    Comet 95k USS Comet (AP-166) under way, date and location unknown Donated by the family of Frank Malinoski S1/c USS Comet
    346k USS Comet (AP-166) preparing to conduct a mid-Pacific underway replenishment evolution with an unidentified ship, date and location unknown.
    US National Archives Identifier 205584445 Local Identifier 26-G-2149, US Coast Guard photo 2149
    David Upton
    Merchant Service American Pioneer Line
    Comet 145k Ex-Comet (AP-166) in merchant service as the American Pioneer Lines SS Pioneer Reef, berthed at the Wooloomooloo Docks, Sydney, Australia, late-1950s. Note she is in U.S Lines colors. Gerhard Mueller-Debus
    Comet 307k SS Pioneer Reef approaching Adelaide, South Australia in the early Sixties. This photograph was originally copyrighted by British ship photo dealer Alex Duncan, from whom I had bought this copy. Gerhard Mueller-Debus

    USS Comet (AP-166)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CDR. Stieglitz, Vard F. USNR15 February 1944 - 9 July 1944
    02LCDR. Fonda, Theodore C.9 July 1944 - 23 December 1944
    03LT. Blee, James B.23 December 1944 - 6 February 1945
    04LCDR. Fonda, Theodore C.6 February 1945 - 1946
    05CDR. Flanagan, William Patrick1946 - 14 August 1946
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    MARAD Vessel History Database
    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log

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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 9 July 2021