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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

T-AP-191 Sgt. Howard E. Woodford

Howard E. Woodford was born in Barberton, Ohio, and entered service there. On 6 June 1945, near Tabio, Luzon, Philippines, Staff Sergeant Woodford, a battalion intelligence sergeant with the 130th Infantry, volunteered to investigate the delay in a scheduled attack by an attached guerilla battalion. The lead company in combat for the first time, was immobilized by intense enemy mortar, machine gun, and rifle fire which had caused casualties to key personnel. Sergeant Woodford recognizing the situation, took command of the company; evacuated the wounded; reorganized the unit under fire; and prepared to attack.

He repeatedly exposed himself to Japanese fire to reveal enemy positions. Guiding the guerillas up a barren hill and capturing the objective, Sergeant Woodford personally accounted for two hostile machine gunners. After organizing a perimeter defense for the night, Sergeant Woodford declined to return to his battalion.

Before dawn on 7 June, the enemy launched a fierce suicide attack. Though wounded by a grenade, Sergeant Woodford remained at his post calling for mortar support until bullets knocked out his radio. Then, seizing a rifle, he began working his way around the perimeter, encouraging the men until he reached a weak spot where two guerillas had been killed. Filling the gap himself, he fought off the enemy.

At daybreak, he was found dead in his foxhole; but 37 enemy dead were found in and around his position. By his daring and determination to search out and kill the enemy, Sergeant Woodford led an inexperienced unit in capturing and holding a vital objective and was responsible for the successful continuance of a vitally important general advance. For his actions, Sergeant Woodford was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

(AP-191: dp. 6,550; 1. 455'3"; b. 62'; dr. 28'6"; s. 15.5k.; cl. Boulder Victory, T. VC2-S-AP-2 )

Sgt. Howard E. Woodford was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract (MCV hull -286) on 18 April 1945 as Goucher Victory by Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard, Inc., Baltimore, Md., launched on 2 June 1945; sponsored by Miss Susannah Eby of Goucher College, and delivered to the War Shipping Administration on 30 June 1945.

Converted into a troop transport that summer Goucher Victory, renamed Sgt. Howard E. Woodford served the Army Transportation Corps at the close of World War II, returning American troops to the United States.

On 7 September 1949, the Army Ocean Transport Service declared the troop transport in excess of military requirements, and she was placed in the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, Calif. On 1 October, Sgt. Howard E. Woodford was transferred to the Military Sea Transportation Service, and was delivered on 22 July 1950 to become a USNS ship. For nearly a year and one-half, Sgt. Howard E. Woodford saw continuous service in Japanese and Korean waters before being placed in the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Olympia and being struck from the Navy list on 4 December 1952.

The troop transport was sold to Tai Kien Industry Co. Ltd., on 27 March 1972 for scrapping.

Sgt. Howard E. Woodford received five battle stars for service in the Korean conflict.

Submitted by Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.

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