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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

USS Custer (APA-40)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Kilo - Echo - Yankee
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (5) - World War II Victory Medal
Bottom Row - Navy Occupation Service (with Asia clasp) - Philippines Presidential Unit Citation - Philippines Liberation Medal (2)

Bayfield Class Attack Transport:
  • Laid down as SS Sea Eagle, a Maritime Commission type (C3-S-A2) hull, under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 388) at Ingalls Shipbuilding Co., Pascagoula, MS.
  • Launched, 6 November 1942
  • Assigned to the Navy as Naval Transport (AP-85)
  • Acquired by the Navy, 23 January 1943, and placed in partial commission as USS Custer (AP-85), CDR. Charles Allen USN (Ferry Crew #4) in command
  • Reclassified Attack Transport (APA-40), 1 February 1943
  • Decommissioned, 8 February 1943
  • Re-commissioned USS Custer (APA-40), 18 July 1943, CAPT. Ralph. E. Hansen USN in command
  • During WWII USS Custer was assigned to Asiatic-Pacific Theater:
    TransRon Thirteen, COMO. M.O. Carlson USN (16);
    TransDiv Thirty-Nine (flagship), CAPT. G.E. Maynard 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 8 February 1944
    Occupation of Eniwetok Atoll, 17 to 25 February 1944
    Luzon operation
    Lingayen Gulf landings, 9 January 1945
    Marianas operation
    Capture and occupation of Saipan, 16 June to 20 July 1944
    Capture and occupation of Guam, 21 to 27 July 1944
    Okinawa Gunto operation
    Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto, 1 to 6 April 1945
    Leyte operation
    Leyte landings, 20 October and 18 November 1944
  • Following World War II USS Custer was assigned to Occupation service in the Far East from 28 October to 1 November 1945
  • Decommissioned, 24 May 1946
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 19 July 1946
  • USS Custer earned five battle stars for World War II service
  • Returned to the Maritime Commission, 11September 1946, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Hudson River Group
  • Merchant Service
    Dealt by the Maritime Commission to Moore McCormack Line, 19 April 1948, renamed SS Mormacmar
    Sold, 19 August 1966, to Grace Lines Inc, renamed SS Santa Ana
    Owner remained Prudential-Grace Lines, after merger, 18 December 1969
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 8 February 1973, to Hua Eng Copper & Iron Industrial Co., Kaohsiung, Taiwan
    Displacement 8,100 t.(lt), 16,100 t.(lim)
    Length 492'
    Beam 69' 6"

    Draft 26' 6" (lim)
    Speed 18.4 kts.
    44 Officers
    509 Enlisted
    Flag Accommodation
    43 Officers
    108 Enlisted
    Troop Accommodations
    90 Officers
    1,560 Enlisted
    Largest Boom Capacity 30 t.
    Cargo Capacity 4,700DWT
    non-refrigerated 175,000 cu. ft.,
    12 LCVP
    4 LCM (Mk-6)
    3 LCP(L) (MK-IV)
    two single 5"/38 cal dual purpose gun mounts
    four twin 40mm AA gun mounts
    eighteen single 20 mm AA gun mounts
    Fuel Oil Capacity
    Navy Standard Fuel Oil 8,510 bbls.
    Diesel 750 bbls.
    one General Electric geared turbine
    two Foster-Wheeler D-type boilers 465psi 765°
    double General Electric Main Reduction Gears
    three turbo-drive Ship Service Generators, 250Kw, 240V D.C.
    one propeller, 8,500shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    USS Custer (APA-40)
    Custer 45k USS Custer (APA-40) at anchor, 24 July 1943, location unknown.
    US Navy photo
    Stan Svec
    Custer 104k USS Custer (APA-40) at anchor, 24 July 1943, location unknown.
    US Navy photo
    Stan Svec
    Custer 101k USS Custer (APA-40) at anchor, date and location unknown.
    Photo from Lanier (APA-125) cruise book, 1944-46
    Russ Padden
    Merchant Service Moore McCormack Steamship Co. Prudential-Grace Steamship Corp.
    Custer 332k Ex-USS Custer (APA-40) in merchant service as the Moore McCormack Lines freighter SS Mormacmar pierside, circa 1948-1966, location unknown.
    Photo originally ©A. Duncan
    Gerhard Mueller-Debus
    Custer 349k Ex-USS Custer (APA-40) in merchant service as the Prudential-Grace Lines freighter SS Santa Ana underway in harbor, circa 1966- 1973, location unknown.
    Photo originally ©M. Cassar
    Gerhard Mueller-Debus

    USS Custer (APA-40)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
     CDR. Allen, Charles, USN (1919) (Ferry Crew #4)23 January 1943 - 8 February 1943
     Decommissioned8 February 1943 - 18 July 1943 1943
    01CAPT. Hansen, Ralph Edward, USN (1921a)18 July 1943 - 16 April 1944
    02CAPT. Terry, Winthrop Eugene USN (1925)16 April 1944 - 17 July 1945
    03CAPT. McDowell, Wayne Allison, USN (1921b)17 July 1945 - 24 May 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 Database
    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
    Comments, Suggestions, E-mail Webmaster.
    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 17 March 2017