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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

USS Arcturus (AKA-1)
USS Arcturus (AK-18) (1940 - 1943)

International Radio Call Signs,

USS Arcturus (AK-18)
Assigned in 1941 International Radio Call Sign:
Negat - Option - Queen - George

USS Arcturus (AKA-1)
WWII International Radio Call Sign:
Nan - Charlie - George - George

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive) - China Service Medal (extended)
Second Row - American Defense Service Medal (with "A" device) - American Campaign Medal - Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal (4)
Third Row - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (1) - World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp)

Personnel Awards

Purple Heart, 8-10 September 1943 -Salerno Landing (7 KIA, 4 WIA)

Arcturus Class Attack Cargo Ship
  • Laid down, 26 July 1938, as MV Mormachawk, a Maritime Commission type (C2) hull, under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 19) at Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Chester, PA. for Moore-McCormack Lines
  • Launched, 18 May 1939
  • Acquired by the Navy, 20 September 1940
  • Converted for Naval Service at Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA
  • Commissioned USS Arcturus (AK-18), 26 October 1940, CDR. Russell C. Bartman USN in command
  • During World War II USS Arcturus was first assigned to the Europe-Africa-Middle East Theater and later to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater under the command of;
    TransRon Eleven, COMO. D.W. Loomis USN (18);
    TransDiv Thirty-Two, CAPT. C.W. Weitzel and participated in the following campaigns:

    Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaign
    North Africa occupation
    Fedhala, Morocco, 8 to 11 November 1942
    Okinawa Gunto operation
    Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto, (Hagushi beachhead), 1 to 14 April 1945
    Sicilian occupation
    Scoglitti, 9 to 15 July 1943
    Salerno landings
    Paestum, 9 to 21 September 1943
    Invasion of Southern France
    La Nartelle, 15 August to 25 September 1944

  • Reclassified Attack Cargo Ship (AKA-1), 1 February 1943
  • Following World War II USS Arcturus was assigned to Occupation and China service in the Far East for the following periods:

    Navy Occupation Service Medal

    China Service Medal (extended)
    2 to 28 September 194529 September to 11 October 1945
    8 to 11 November 194512 November to 6 December 1945

  • Decommissioned, 3 April 1946, at Portsmouth, VA.
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 5 June 1946
  • USS Arcturus was awarded five battle stars for her World War II service
  • Transferred to the Maritime Commission, 2 July 1946, for disposal
  • Sold, 17 March 1947, by the Maritime Commission for merchant service to Johnson Line (Sweden), registered in Panama with Compania Naviera Puerta del Sur, renamed MV Star Arcturus and placed in service on Johnson Line's Far East route
  • Final Disposition, (Swedish sources) MV Star Arcturus arrived at Miyachi Salvage KK, Tadotsu, Japan, 15 August 1971, for scrapping
    Displacement 7,480 t. (lt) 14,225 t. (fl.)
    Length 459' 1"
    Beam 63'
    Draft 25' 5"
    Speed 16.5 kts.
    Officers 28
    Enlisted 239
    Largest Boom Capacity 30 t.
    Cargo Capacity 4,410 DWT
    Non-refrigerated 336,254 Cu. Ft.
    Refrigerated 18,395 Cu. Ft.
    eight LCM(3)
    twelve LCVP
    one single 5"/38 cal dual purpose gun mount
    four twin 40mm AA gun mounts
    eighteen single 20mm AA gun mounts
    Fuel Capacity Diesel 8,950 Bbls
    one Sun Nordberg Diesel engine
    five Diesel-drive Ships's Service Generator, 230Kw 120V/240V D.C.
    single propeller, 6,000shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    Merchant Service
    273k Miss Mollie Foulks Lee christening Moore-McCormack Line's SS Mormachawk as the ship is launched, 18 May 1938, at Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Chester, PA. Dale Hargrave
    170k Moore-McCormack Line's SS Mormachawk underway, date and location unknown. Dale Hargrave
    USS Arcturus (AK-18)
    Arcturus is the brightest star in the constellation of Bo÷tes, the fourth-brightest in the night sky, and the brightest in the northern celestial hemisphere.
    Tommy Trampp
    187k USS Arcturus (AK-18) moored pierside at Norfolk, VA., 12 November 1940. The destroyer USS Morris (DD-417) is in the far background.
    U.S. National Archives and Records Administration Photo # 80-G-179338, from the collections of the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command
    Robert Hurst
    Arcturus 53k USS Arcturus (AK-18) underway, date and location unknown. Her camouflage is Measure 12(modified). Terry Sanders
    USS Arcturus (AKA-1)
    Arcturus 292k Boat plan stowage for USS Arcturus (AKA-1) dated December 1944.
    US Navy Bureau of Ships photo from "U.S. Amphibious Ships and Craft" by Norman Friedman.
    Robert Hurst
    Arcturus 94k USS Arcturus (AKA-1) moored at Norfolk Navy Yard, 9 May 1943, with landing craft embarked.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # 19-N-47662, a US Navy Bureau of Ships photo now in the collections of the US Naval History and Heritage Command, courtesy
    Robert Hurst
    Post WWII Merchant Service Johnson Line
    Arcturus 72k Ex-USS Arcturus (AKA-1) under way while in merchant service as the Johnson Line MV Star Arcturus (Swedish owned). Gerhard Muller-Debus

    USS Arcturus (AK-18 / AKA-1)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CDR. Bartman, Russell Clyde26 October 1940 - 15 September 1942AK-18
    02CDR. Hartley, Henry, USN15 September 1942 - 15 September 1942AK-18
    03CDR. McKinney, John Reid28 September 1942 - 21 July 1943AK-18
    04LCDR. Vischio, Attilo Anthony21 July 1943 - 1944AKA-1
    05CAPT. Wooldson, Charles Philip1944 - 11 November 1944AKA-1
    06CDR. Miller, Charles Horace Kendall11 November 1944 - 1945AKA-1
    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
    USS Arcturus (AK-18) War Diary, 29 April 1942 to 1 February 1943
    USS Arcturus (AKA-1) War Diary, 2 February 1943 to 11 November 1945
    Postal Covers related to the ship
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 21 June 2024