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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

USS Centaurus (AKA-17)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Xray - Oscar - Juliet
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from left to right
Top Row - China Service Medal (extended) - American Campaign Medal
Bottom Row - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (6) - World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp)

USS Centaurus (AKA-17) was manned by the US Coast Guard during World War II
Andromeda Class Attack Cargo Ship:
  • Laid done as a Maritime Commission type (C2-S-B1) hull, under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 206) at Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Kearny, N.J.
  • Assigned to the US Navy as AK-66
  • Launched, 3 September 1943
  • Commissioned USS Centaurus (AKA-17), 21 October 1943, CAPT. George Evans McCabe, USCG, in command
  • During WWII USS Centaurus was assigned to Asiatic-Pacific Theater;
    TransRon Thirteen, COMO. M. O. Carlson USN (16);
    TransDiv Thirty-Eight, CAPT. P. P. Welsh 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, 31 January to 5 February 1944
    Marianas operation
    Capture and occupation of Guam, 21 to 27 July 1944
    Bismarck Archipelago operation
    Admiralty Island landings, 5 to 9 April 44
    Western Caroline Islands operation
    Capture and occupation of southern Palau Islands - Peleliu, 6 September to 14 October 1944
    Hollandia operation
    Aitape, Humboldt Bay, Tanahmerah Bay, 21 to 27 April and 1 to 5 May 1944
    Okinawa Gunto operation
    Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto, 1 April to 14 June 1945

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

    Navy Occupation Service Medal

    China Service Medal (extended)
    26 to 29 December 194511 to 17 October 1945
     1 to 25 December 1945
  • Decommissioned, 30 April 1946, at New York City, N.Y.
  • Struck from the Naval Register, date unknown
  • USS Centaurus received six battle stars for World War II service
  • Returned to the Maritime Commission, 11 September 1946, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Hudson River Group, Jones Point, N.Y.
  • Merchant Service
    Pending sale to US Lines, 28 May 1947, renamed SS Pioneer Bay
    Renamed SS American Gunner in October 1956
    Title transferred to US Lines, 7 September 1969
    Deactivated, 21 September 1962, at the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Hudson River Group, Jones Point, N.Y.
  • Final Disposition, sold 1 July 1970, to Aguilar Y. Peris S.L. for scrapping at Valencia, Spain, delivered 11 July 1970
    Displacement 6,556 t.(lt), 14,200 t.(lt)
    Length 459' 2"
    Beam 63'
    Draft 26' 4"
    Speed 16.5 kts.
    Officers 44
    Enlisted 360
    Largest Boom Capacity 30 t.
    Cargo Capacity 4,895 DWT
    non-refrigerated 420,000 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
    eight LCMs
    one LCP(L)
    fifteen LCVPs
    Fuel Capacity NSFO 11,010
    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 shaft, 6,000shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    USS Centaurus (AKA-17)
    572k USS Centaurus (AKA-17) showing alteration made during her 25 October to 22 December 1944 overhaul at the U.S. Navy Drydock Hunters Point, San Francisco, CA., 9 December 1944.
    U.S. Navy Drydock Hunters Point photos
    Nicholas Tiberio
    Centaurus 92k USS Centaurus (AKA-17) underway, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo
    Risa Bear for her father, Thomas Eugene Smith CBM USS Centaurus
    Centaurus 343k USS Centaurus (AKA-17) underway, date and location unknown.
    US Coast Guard photo
    Coast Guard Historian web site
    298k USS Centaurus (AKA-17) unloads trucks and other supplies at Los Negros Island in the Admiralty Island Group into waiting LCVPs, date unknown.
    National Archives Identifier 205585588, Local Identifier 26-G-2155, U.S. Coast Guard photo # 2155.
    David Upton
    Merchant Service
    Centaurus 459k Ex-USS Centaurus (AKA-17) underway while in merchant as the US Lines SS American Gunner, date and location unknown.
    Original copyright belonged to the late British ship photo dealer Alex Duncan.
    Gerhard Muller-Debus

    USS Centaurus (AKA-17)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CAPT. McCabe George Evans USCG :RADM20 October 1943 - 28 October 1944
    02CDR. Gray, John Paul USCG 28 October 1944 - June 1945
    03CAPT. Maley, Kenneth Paul USCG :RADM21 July 1945 - 10 January 1946
    04CAPT. Paden, Clarence. C. USCG10 January 1946 - 30 April 1946
    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 Data Base
    Back To The Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To the Amphibious Ship Type Index Back To The Amphibious Cargo Ship (AKA) Photo Index
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 28 April 2023