USS Chicot (AK-170)
The USS Chicot was an Alamosa-class cargo ship that served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and the Korean War. The ship was named for Chicot County and was part of the same class as the USS Craighead, USS Poinsett, and USS Sebastian, all named for Arkansas counties.
The Chicot was launched on July 16, 1944, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The ship was constructed by Froemming Brothers, Incorporated, and was acquired by the navy on March 13, 1945. It was commissioned as the Chicot on April 4, 1945, and the first captain of the ship was Lieutenant Commander Lawrence Marshall.
The Alamosa class consisted of cargo ships designed to deliver troops, equipment, and goods to combat zones. The Chicot was more than 388 feet long and fifty feet wide. With a shallow draft and a top speed of 11.5 knots, these ships were designed to be used close to shore in the Pacific Campaign. The vessel was not heavily armed, brandishing one three-inch dual-mounted gun and six twenty-millimeter guns for antiaircraft protection. The ship’s complement included fifteen officers and seventy enlisted men.
The Chicot departed Gulfport, Mississippi, on May 10, 1945, in route to Honolulu, Hawaii, with a load of cargo. Upon arrival, the Chicot returned to the mainland United States, picking up another load at San Francisco, California. The ship arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on July 24 before departing on July 30 for Eniwetok.
The Chicot spent the remainder of the war in the western Pacific, transporting materials between Eniwetok, Guam, Tacloban, Saipan, Manus, Okinawa, Samar, Ulithi, and Subic Bay. With the conclusion of hostilities, the Chicot continued to operate in the western Pacific until it returned to the United States. On July 18, 1946, the Chicot was decommissioned at Seattle, Washington, and transferred to the Maritime Commission on July 19.
The ship was not idle for long. Reacquired by the navy on May 14, 1947, the Chicot was officially recommissioned on June 23. Leaving Seattle on July 18, the ship arrived in Pearl Harbor and once again began to transport supplies around the Pacific. During this tour of duty, the ship visited Ponape, Manus, Saipan, Truk, and Kusaie. The Chicot returned to San Francisco on March 15, 1949. The ship returned to the Pacific on April 27 and was based at Guam. During this period of service, the Chicot carried cargo between Guam, Pearl Harbor, and Japan. The Korean War began while the Chicot was fulfilling these missions.
Decommissioned again on July 24, 1951, the Chicot was transferred to the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees the administration of Guam. The ship was officially struck from the naval register on January 18, 1952. After its service with the Department of the Interior, the Chicot was sold on September 19, 1960, to the James and Guerrero Company, Incorporated. Registered as a Panamanian ship, the Chicot was renamed San Luis. It was scrapped in 1972 in Panama.
For additional information:
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Vol. 1. Washington DC: Navy Department, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Naval History Division, 1959.
Henderson State University
My father was in the U.S. Navy and was assigned to the Chicot, plying the Marshall Islands, Federation of Micronesia, etc., just like you recorded. He was a Chief HMC. He provided medical care not only to the ship’s personnel but also to the natives who would ride on top deck between islands. Once the king and queen of an island were being transported above deck. He gave them his bunk, and as a thank you he was given fans from the queen. Unfortunately, they were misplaced over the years. I have a postcard my father gave me with a photo of the USS Chicot and Merry Christmas on the bottom.
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