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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

Contributed by Don McGrogan BMCS, USN (Ret.) - Popular Patch

USS Aquarius (AKA-16)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Xray - Lima - Whiskey
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - China Service Medal (extended)
Second Row - American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (8) - World War II Victory Medal
Third Row - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp) - Philippines Presidential Unit Citation - Philippines Liberation Medal (2)

USS Aquarius (AKA-16 was manned by the US Coast Guard during World War II
Andromeda Class Attack Cargo Ship
  • Laid down, 28 April 1943, as a Maritime Commission type (C2-S-B1) hull under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 205) at Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. Kearny, N.J.
  • Reclassified Attack Cargo Ship, (AKA-16), 1 February 1943
  • Launched, 23 July 1943
  • Acquired by the Navy, 20 August 1943
  • Commissioned USS Aquarius (AKA-16), 21 August 1943, CAPT. Raymond V. Marron USCG, in command
  • During World War II USS Aquarius was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater;
    TransRon Twelve, COMO. H.B. Knowles USN (17);
    TransDiv Thirty-Six, CAPT. G.W. Johnson USN (18) and participated in the following campaigns:

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Marshall Islands operation
    Occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls, Roi and Namur Islands, 31 January to 8 February 1944
    Leyte operation
    Leyte landings, San Pedro Bay, 13 to 27 October and 5 to 20 November 1944
    Bismarck Archipelago operation
    Admiralty Island landings, 11 to 12 April 1944
    Luzon operation
    Lingayen Gulf landings, 4 to 10 January 1945
    Marianas operation
    Capture and occupation of Saipan, 15 to 25 June 1944
    Capture and occupation of Guam, 21 to 26 July 1944
    Manila Bay-Bicol operation
    Zambales-Subic Bay, 29 to 31 January 1945
    Western Caroline Islands operation
    Capture and occupation of southern Palau Islands, Peleliu, 6 September to 14 October 1944
    Okinawa Gunto operation
    Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto, 1 to 19 April 1945

  • Following World War II USS Aquarius 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 25 September 194521 to 23 November 1945
    25 to 27 November 1945 

  • Decommissioned, 23 May 1946, at Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Returned to the War Shipping Administration, 12 September 1946, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Jones Point, Hudson River, N.Y.
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 13 November 1946
  • USS Aquarius earned eight battle stars for her World War II service
  • Merchant Service
    Laid up, 12 September 1946, in the Maritime Commission Hudson River Reserve Fleet
    Custody transferred, 24 February 1947 to United States Line under a General Agency Agreement
    Entered US Shipbuilding Corp. Shipyard, Yonkers, N.Y., 24 Mary 1947 for reconversion to merchant service
    Sold, 23 December 1947 to United States Lines, renamed SS Pioneer Lake
    United States Lines renamed the ship SS American Trapper in October 1956
    Returned, title transfer, to the Maritime Administration, 11 January 1961
    Bare Bottom Charter, 11 January 1961, to United States Lines
    Laid up, 24 July 1965, in the Maritime Administration James River Reserve Fleet, Lee Hall, VA.
    Leased, 28 August 1965, under a General Agency Agreement to United States Lines for MSTS operation
    Laid up, 16 March 1967, in the Maritime Administration Hudson River Reserve Fleet
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 8 May 1967, to Union Minerals & Alloys, Kearny N.J.
    Displacement 6,556 t.(lt) 13,900 t.(lt)
    Length 459' 3"
    Beam 63'
    Draft 26' 4" (lim)
    Speed 16.5 kts (trial)
    Officers 44
    Enlisted 360
    Largest Boom Capacity 30 t.
    Cargo Capacity 4,895 DWT
    Non-refrigerated - 394,108 Cu ft.
    Refrigerated - 24.935 Cu ft.
    one single 5"/38 cal dual purpose gun mount
    four single 3"/50 cal dual purpose gun mounts
    eighteen single 20mm AA gun mounts
    8 LCMs
    1 LCP(L)
    15 LCVPs
    Fuel Capacity NSFO - 11,010 Bbls
    one De Laval steam turbine
    two Combustion Engineering D-type boilers, 465psi 765°
    double De Laval Main Reduction Gears
    three turbo-drive 300Kw 120V/240V D.C. Ship's Service Generators
    single propeller, 6,000shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Source
    USS Aquarius (AKA-16)
    Aquarius 46k USS Aquarius (AKA-16) and USS Titania (AKA-13) at Pavuvu, Russell Islands, 28 April 1944, after bringing veterans of the Cape Gloucester Campaign to a rest camp. LCPs in the foreground, are from USS Wayne (APA-54), and being used as water taxis. Note SC-2 radar antenna mounted atop Aquarius' forward kingposts. Photographed by Fitzgerald
    USMC photo # 86265
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Aquarius 85k USS Aquarius (AKA-16) and USS Titania (AKA-13) unload Marine veterans of the Cape Gloucester campaign at a rest camp at Pavuvu, Russell Islands, 28 April 1944.
    US Coast Guard photo # 2271, from the collections of the US Coast Guard Historian's Office.
    Mike Green
    Titania 46k USS Aquarius (AKA-16) and USS Titania (AKA-13) at Pavuvu, Russell Islands, 28 April 1944, after bringing veterans of the Cape Gloucester Campaign to a rest camp there. LCVPs in the left foreground are from USS Wayne (APA-54). Photographed by Fitzgerald.
    USMC photo # 86251
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Aquarius 49k USS Aquarius (AKA-16) at anchor, date and location unknown.  
    126k Sailors and Marines aboard USS Aquarius (AKA-16) enjoying swim call, date and location unknown. David Upton
    598k USS Aquarius (AKA-16), on the right, alongside USS Cavalier (APA-37), prior to 28 March 1945, location unknown. Photo taken from Cavalier
    US National Archives Identifier 205584681, Local Identifier 26-G-4086, US Coast Guard photo # 4086
    David Upton
    Merchant Service United States Lines.
    Aquarius 270k Ex-USS Aquarius (AKA-16) as the US Lines SS American Trapper, moored to a buoy, date and location unknown.
    Photo ©Alex Duncan.
    Gerhard Mueller-Debus

    USS Aquarius (AKA-16)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CAPT. Marron, Raymond Victor USCG21 August 1943 - 15 November 1944
    02CDR. Eskridge, Ira Edwin USCG :RADM25 November 1944 - 11 April 1945
    03CDR. Whitfield, Edwin Clarence USCG11 April 1945
    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
    Action Report - Landing of Occupation Forces, Nagasaki Japan, September 1945
    MARAD Vessel History Database

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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 27 August 2021