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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

USS Gemsbok (IX-117)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Juliet - India - Charlie
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - American Campaign Medal
Bottom Row - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (1) - World War II Victory Medal - Philippines Liberation Medal

Armadillo Class Mobile Station Tanker:
  • Laid down in 1943 as SS Carl R. Gray, a Maritime Commission type (Z-ET1-S-C3) hull, under Maritime Commission contract (MCE hull 1906), at California Shipbuilding Co., Wilmington, CA.
  • Launched, 9 November 1943
  • Acquired by the US Navy, 3 December 1943
  • Commissioned, USS Gemsbok (IX-117), 3 December 1943, at San Pedro, CA., CDR. Abbo H. Kooistra, USNR, in command
  • During World War II USS Gemsbok was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following campaign;

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates
    Marshall Islands operation
    Occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls, 2 to 8 February 1944
    Occupation of Eniwetok Atoll, 17 February to 2 March 1944

  • Decommissioned, 30 April 1946, at Norfolk, VA.
  • Transferred to the Maritime Commission, 11 May 1946, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River Group. Lee Hall, VA., named reverted to SS Carl R. Gray
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 8 May 1946
  • USS Gemsbok earned one battle star for World War II service
  • Merchant Service
    Sold in 1948 to Maris Transportation System Inc., 20 May 1948, renamed SS Alpha
    Sold by Maris Transportation Systems Inc., to Strathmore Shipping Co., 13 March 1951, renamed SS Strathbay
    Converted in 1953 to 7,246g.t dry cargo ship.
    Sold by Strathmore Shipping Co., to Columbia Steamship Co., in January 1955, renamed SS Columbia Trader
    Sold by Columbia Steamship Co. to Standard SS Corp. in September 1955
    Sold by Standard SS Corp. to West Coast SS. Co. in March 1959
    Sold by West Coast SS Co. to Saxis Steamship Co., 14 August 1963, renamed SS Pilot Rock
    Returned to the Maritime Administration under the MARAD Exchange program, 26 February 1965
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 10 March 1966, to American Ship Dismantlers, Inc.,
    Displacement 14,500 t. (limiting)
    Length 441' 6"
    Beam 56' 11"
    Draft 28' 4" (limiting)
    Speed 11.8 kts. (trial)
    Cargo Capacity 8,500 DWT
    Oil 63,000 Bbls
    officers 12
    enlisted 98
    one single 5"/38 dual purpose gun mount
    one single 3"/50 dual purpose gun mount
    eight single 20mm AA gun mounts
    Fuel Capacity NSFO 13,900 Bbls
    one vertical triple expansion reciprocating steam engine
    two Babcock & Wilcox boilers, 220psi 450°
    three recip-drive 20Kw 120V D.C. Ship's Service Generators
    single propeller, 2,500 shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    United States Maritime Commission
    140k United States Maritime Commission Tanker Design Z-ET-1-S-C3.
    US National Archives photo thanks to Auke Visser's Famous T-Tanker Pages
    USS Gemsbok (IX-117)
    Gemsbok - is a large antelope in the genus Oryx. It is native to the arid regions of Southern Africa, such as the Kalahari Desert.
    Tommy Trampp
    Jaguar 181k Liberty Ships fitting out at California Shipbuilding Co., Wilmington, CA., 25 November 1943. From left to right:
    Dry Cargo Ships
    SS John A. Roebling
    SS Ralph A. Cram
    Armadillo Class Mobile Station Tankers
    Caribou (IX-114)- ex SS Nathaniel B. Palmer
    Elk (IX-115) - SS William Winter
    Gazelle (IX-116)- SS Cyrus K. Holliday
    Gemsbok (IX-117) - SS Carl R. Gray
    Giraffe (IX-118) - SS Sanford B. Dole
    Ibex (IX-119) - SS Nicholas Longworth
    Jaguar (IX-120) - SS Charles T. Yerkes
    Gerard Mueller-Debus
    190k USS Gemsbok (IX-117) alongside the British aircraft carrier HMS Colossus (R15) from 0853 to 1825, 23 August 1945, delivering 5,523 barrels of fuel oil at San Pedro Bay. Leyte, Philippines Islands. Alongside USS Gemsbok, are YO-118 and probably YO-173 between Gemsbok and YO-118. Note YO-118 was apparently being used as a water tanker at that time, hence the ad-hoc insertion of the "W" in her designation on her bow. Photo - Bruce Patterson
    Caption - David Wright

    USS Gemsbok (IX-117)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CDR. Kooistra, Abbo H., USNR3 December 1944 - May 1944
    02LT. Smith, E. W., USNRMay 1944 - December 1944
    03LT. Moriarty, J. J., USNR (temporary)December 1944 - December 1944
    04LT. Smith, E. W., USNRDecember 1944 - June 1945
    05LT. Crawford, William H., USNRJune 1945 - December 1945
    06LCDR. Emmons, Roderic C., USNRDecember 1945 - March 1946
    07LTjg. Mulcahy, Thomas F., USNRMarch 1946 - 30 April 1946
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log

    Additional Web Sites of Interest
    MARAD Vessel History Database
    USS Gemsbok (IX-117) War Diary January 1944
    Back To the Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To The Service Ship Type Index Back To The Miscellaneous Auxiliary (IX) Ship Photo Index
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 13 May 2022