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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

USS Clay (APA-39)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Kilo - Echo - Alpha
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 (4) - World War II Victory Medal
Third Row - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp) - Philippines Presidential Unit Citation - Philippines Liberation Medal (2)

Bayfield Class Attack Transport:
  • Laid down, 14 October 1942, as SS Sea Carp, a Maritime Commission type (C3-S-A2) hull, under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 274) at Western Pipe and Steel Co., San Francisco, CA.
  • Assigned to the Navy as Transport (AP-84)
  • Launched, 23 January 1943
  • Reclassified Attack Transport (APA-39), 1 February 1943
  • Acquired by the Navy, 29 June 1943 and placed in partial commission for transit to her fitting out yard at New York, CDR. Hans B. Olsen USNR (Ferry Command) in command
  • Decommissioned, 2 August 1943, at Todd Shipyard Hoboken, N.J. for conversion to an Attack Transport
  • Completed as an Attack Transport and recommissioned USS Clay (APA-39), 21 December 1943, CAPT. E. W. Abdill in command
  • During World War II USS Clay was assigned to Asiatic-Pacific Theater:
    TransRon Twelve, COMO. H.B. Knowles USN (17);
    TransDiv Thirty-Five (flagship), CAPT. R.C. Bartman, and participated in the following campaigns:

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Marianas operation
    Capture and occupation of Saipan, 15 to 24 June 1944
    Luzon operation
    Lingayen Gulf landings, 9 January 1945
    Leyte operation
    Leyte landings, 20 and 14 November 1944
    Okinawa Gunto operation
    Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto, 1 to 5 April 1945

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

    Navy Occupation Service Medal

    China Service Medal (extended)
    5 to 14 September 19458 to 13 November 1945
    2 to 6 October 1945 
  • Decommissioned, 29 April 1946, at New York, N.Y.
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 19 July 1946
  • USS Clay earned four battle stars for World War II service
  • Returned to the Maritime Commission for disposal
  • Merchant Service
    Sold 12 September 1946 to American President Lines, renamed SS President Johnson
    Sold to Waterman Steamship Corp, 17 July 1968, renamed SS La Salle
    Sold to Oceanbridge Steamship Corp., 19 January 1971
    Sold to Waterman Steamship Corp., 13 November 1974
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 27 November 1974, to Swie Hong Steel Enterprise Corp., Kaohsiung Taiwan
    Displacement 8,100 t.(lt) 16,100 t.(fl)
    Length 492'
    Beam 69' 6"
    Draft 26' 6"
    Speed 18.4 kts. (trial)
    Officers - 56
    Enlisted - 502
    Flag Accommodation
    Officers - 43
    Enlisted - 108
    Troop Accommodation
    Officers - 93
    Enlisted - 1,533
    Largest Boom Capacity 30 t.
    Cargo Capacity 4,700 DWT
    non-refrigerated 200,000 cu. ft.
    twelve LCVP
    four LCM (Mk-6)
    three LCP(L) (MK-IV)
    two single 5"/38 cal dual purpose gun mounts one fore and one aft
    two quad 1.1" gun mounts, aft port and starboard, replaced by two single 40mm AA gun mounts
    four twin 40mm AA gun mounts
    eighteen single 20mm AA gun mounts
    Fuel Capacities
    NSFO - 8,510 Bbls
    Diesel - 750 Bbls
    one General Electric geared turbine
    two Combustion Engineering D-type boilers, 465psi 765°
    three turbo-drive Ship's Service Generators - 250Kw 240V D.C.
    single propeller, 8,500shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    USS Clay (APA-39)
    Clay 34k USS Clay (APA-39) underway, date and place unknown.
    US Navy photo.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Merchant Service American President Lines Waterman Steamship Co.
    Clay 90k Ex-USS Clay (APA-39) underway, location unknown, as the American President Lines vessel SS President Johnson, circa late 1950s early 1960s. Photo originally copyrighted by American President Lines. Gerhard Mueller-Debus
    222k Waterman Steamship Corporation"s freighter SS La Salle at anchor in South African waters, circa 1960. Dirk Dijksman
    Clay 59k Ex-Clay (APA-39) underway in the Malacca Strait as the Waterman Steamship Corp. vessel SS La Salle, circa 1970. Photo originally copyrighted by Airfoto Malacca. Gerhard Mueller-Debus
    Clay 128k SS La Salle arriving at Cape Town, South Africa, just weeks before her delivery to Taiwanese shipbreakers at Kaohsiung in November 1974.
    Photo from "Merchant Ships of World War II: A Post War Album 1" by Victor Young.
    Robert Hurst

    USS Clay (APA-39)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CDR. Olsen, Hans Hans Bernard, USNR29 June 1943 - 2 August 1943
     Decommissioned22 August 1943 - 21 December 1943
    02CAPT. Abdill, Everett Woolman, USN (USNA 1924)21 December 1943 - 12 August 1944
    03CAPT. Van Bergen, Nicholas Bauer), USN (USNA 1921B)12 August 1944 - 1 June 1945
    04CAPT. Eller, Ernest McNeill, USN (USNA 1925) :RADM1 June 1945 - 31 October 1945
    05CDR. Simenstad, Archie Mann, USNR31 October 1945 - 29 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
    Navy Yard New York Bayfield Class APA Conversion Model
    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 20 October 2023