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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

Lost to enemy action, 13 August 1943, off Lunga Point Guadalcanal

USS John Penn (APA-23)
USS John Penn (AP-51) (1942 - 1943)

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (13 August 1943) - American Campaign Medal
Bottom Row - Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal (1) - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal - World War II Victory Medal

Harry Lee Class Attack Transport:
  • Laid down, 25 October 1930 SS Excambion for the American Export Line at New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden. N.J.
  • Launched, 28 May 1931
  • Delivered to American Export Line, 4 August 1931
  • Acquired by the US Navy, 8 January 1942, and converted to a Naval Transport
  • Commissioned USS John Penn (AP-51), 6 April 1942, CAPT. Harry W. Need in command
  • During World War II USS John Penn was first assigned to the Europe-Africa-Middle East Theater and later reassigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following campaign;

    Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign
    Campaign and Dates
    North African occupation
    Algeria-Morocco landings, 8 to 11 November 1942
  • Reclassified Attack Transport (APA-23), 1 February 1943
  • Final Disposition, lost to enemy action, 13 August 1943, off Lunga Point Guadalcanal
  • Struck from the Naval Register, date unknown
  • USS John Penn earned one battle star for World War II service
    Displacement 9,989 t.(lt.) 14,520 t.(lim)
    Length 475' 4"
    Beam 62' 9"
    Draft 26' 4" (lim)
    Speed 15 kts.
    Officers 37
    Enlisted 416
    Troop Accommodations
    Officers 42
    Enlisted 917
    one 5"/51 single purpose gun mount aft
    two 3"/50 dual purpose gun mounts aft
    Cargo Capacity 175,000 cu.ft.
    Fuel Capacity
    NSFO 11,475 bbls.
    Diesel 475 bbls.
    one New York Ship Building Co., Parsons design steam turbine
    four Babcock & Wilcox header type boilers 350psi 620°
    one Falk main reduction gear
    three turbo drive ships service generators, 1-320kW 120V D.C, 1-150kW 120V. D.C, 1-200kW 120V D.C.
    single shaft 7,200shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    John Penn 222k

    John Penn was born in Virginia 6 May 1740. He was admitted to the bar in 1761; and, after practicing in Virginia, moved in 1774 to Granville County, N.C. There Penn became active in public affairs, served for a brief time in the Provincial Congress, and was elected to the Continental Congress in 1775. Serving in Congress until 1780, he voted for and signed the Declaration of Independence. Penn became a member of the North Carolina Board of War in 1780 and returned to the practice of law in 1781. He died 14 September 1788.
    Bill Gonyo
    USS John Penn (AP-51)
    John Penn 94k USS John Penn (AP-51) under way, 13 September 1942, off Norfolk, VA. She retained her liner-type davits during her career. She was never fitted with triple Welins.
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-10847, a US Navy photo now in the collections of the US National Archives
    US National Archives
    John Penn 178k USS John Penn (AP-51) under way, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo from the collections of the US Navy Memorial
    Stan Svec
    USS John Penn (APA-23)
    John Penn 590k SS Excambion as converted to the attack transport USS John Penn (APA-23).
    US Navy image from "U.S. Amphibious Ship and Craft" by Norman Friedman.
    Robert Hurst
    John Penn 89k USS John Penn (APA-23) photographed by USS Nicholas (DD-449) off Guadalcanal in August 1943. Her troops are practicing landing tactics. Her configuration appears to resemble that of USS Joseph Hewes (AP-50), the two having been converted in the same yard. She probably retains her original armament.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # 80-G-56834, courtesy
    Mike Green

    USS John Penn (AP-51 / APA-23)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CAPT. Need Harry William, USN (USNA 1918 :RADM)6 April 1942 - 13 August 1943AP-50 / APA-23
    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
    Location of the wreck of USS John Penn (APA-23) in Iron Bottom Sound
    Back To The Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To The Service Force Ship Type Index Back To The Amphibious Ship Type Index Back To The Transport (AP) Photo Index Back To The Attack Transport (APA) Photo Index
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 2 June 2017