Ships and Vessels

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Entry Category: Ships and Vessels

USNS Gilliland (T-AKR-298)

The USNS Gilliland is a Gordon-class large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off (LMSR) ship originally built as a Danish cargo ship before being modified to join the U.S. Military Sealift Command. The vessel is named for Charles Gilliland of Yellville (Marion County), who earned a posthumous Medal of Honor for valor during the Korean War. Charles Leon Gilliland joined the U.S. Army on his seventeenth birthday in 1950, just two months before the Korean War began. He was serving with Company I of the Seventh Infantry Regiment when his company position was attacked near Tongmang-ni, Korea, on April 25, 1951. Gilliland held the main attack at bay with his automatic rifle and, though wounded, volunteered to stay behind and cover his fellow soldiers’ …

USNS Private William H. Thomas (T-AP-185)

aka: SS Alcoa Cruiser
aka: USS Rixey (AHP-3)
The USNS Private William H. Thomas was a Tryon-class evacuation transport built in 1941 that was renamed in 1946 for a Wynne (Cross County) native who received a Medal of Honor during World War II. William H. Thomas was born in Wynne on January 13, 1923. He was serving as a Browning Automatic Rifle gunner on Luzon in the Philippine Islands on April 22, 1945, when a Japanese satchel charge blew off both of his legs beneath the knee. Refusing medical attention, Thomas continued fighting until his weapon was disabled and he ran out of grenades. Thomas died of his wounds, and he received a posthumous Medal of Honor for his valor. The Private William H. Thomas originated as the …

USNS Sisler (T-AKR 311)

The USNS Sisler is a Watson-class large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ship (LMSR) launched in 1998 and named for George Kenton Sisler, a graduate of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro (Craighead County) who earned a posthumous Medal of Honor for valor during the Vietnam War. Dexter, Missouri, native George Kenton Sisler was born in 1937 and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1964 shortly after his graduation from what is now Arkansas State University with an education degree. On February 7, 1967, while operating with a Special Forces unit and South Vietnamese troops deep behind enemy lines, Sisler and his comrades were attacked. Sisler carried wounded comrades into a defensive perimeter and fought off repeated enemy attacks before being mortally wounded while …

USNS Watkins (T-AKR-315)

The USNS Watkins is a Watson-class large, medium-speed roll-on/roll-off (LMSR) ship launched in 2000 and named for Travis E. Watkins, an Arkansas native who received a Medal of Honor for heroic actions during the Korean War. Travis E. Watkins was born in Waldo (Columbia County) on September 5, 1920, but moved to Texas with his mother and brothers after his parents divorced. He joined the U.S. Army in 1939 and earned a Bronze Star at Guadalcanal during World War II. Remaining in the army, he had risen to the rank of master sergeant by the time the Korean War began. On August 31, 1950, he and a group of thirty soldiers were cut off from the rest of their regiment …

USS Admiral E. W. Eberle (AP-123)

aka: USNS General Simon B. Buckner
The USS Admiral E. W. Eberle was one of two ships named for Edward Walter Eberle, an admiral who served in the U.S. Navy from 1881 until 1928. Born in Denton, Texas, Eberle grew up in Fort Smith (Sebastian County). The ship saw service in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The USS Admiral E. W. Eberle was an Admiral W. S. Benson–class transport ship. Designed to carry large numbers of troops, these ships were also armed with four five-inch guns, eight forty-millimeter guns, and sixteen twenty-millimeter guns. With its keel laid down on February 15, 1943, the ship was constructed by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in Alameda, California. Ordered as a Maritime Commission Contract, the …

USS Antrim (FFG-20)

The USS Antrim is an Oliver Hazard Perry–class guided missile frigate launched in 1979 and named after Richard Nott Antrim, a U.S. Navy officer awarded a Medal of Honor for heroism during World War II. The vessel later began serving the Turkish navy as TGC Giresun (F-491). Richard Nott Antrim was a career navy officer who was serving as executive officer on the USS Pope when it was sunk by Japanese dive bombers on March 1, 1942. He was at the Makassar prisoner-of-war camp in the Celebes when he saw a Japanese guard brutally beating a fellow prisoner. After asking what the man’s offense was, Antrim offered to take the remainder of his beating, shocking his captors and eliciting cheers …

USS Arkansas (BB-33)

The battleship USS Arkansas (BB-33) was the third ship of the U.S. Navy to bear the state’s name, the prior vessels being a wooden-hulled steamer during the American Civil War, and an 1890s single-turret monitor that was renamed Ozark in 1909 and used as an instruction ship. The battleship Arkansas participated in both world wars and received four battle stars for service in World War II. The Arkansas’s keel was laid on January 25, 1910, in Camden, New Jersey. The USS Arkansas was launched on January 14, 1911, and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on September 17, 1912. Measuring 562 feet by ninety-three feet, the Arkansas was designed for a crew of 1,594. It was armed with twelve twelve-inch …

USS Arkansas (CGN-41)

The USS Arkansas (CGN-41) was the fourth and last ship in the Virginia class of Nuclear Powered Guided Missile Cruisers. The cruiser was also the fourth ship in the U.S. Navy to be named after the state of Arkansas. The keel of the USS Arkansas was laid on January 17, 1977, at Newport News, Virginia, by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. It was launched on October 21, 1978, and was commissioned on October 18, 1980, with Captain Dennis S. Read in command. The guided-missile cruiser spent the four months following its commissioning in the vicinity of Hampton Roads, Virginia. In March 1981, it completed contract trials and conducted a public relations call at Port Everglades, Florida. Until …

USS Arkansas (Civil War)

Not to be confused with the like-named Confederate ship the CSS Arkansas, the USS Arkansas served the U.S. Navy during the Civil War as a supply and tender vessel, helping to maintain communications and supply with the blockade fleet along the Texas gulf coast. Constructed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1863 as a commercial barkentine-rigged, wooden-hulled, screw steamer originally named Tonawanda, this vessel measured 191 feet in length and thirty feet at the beam. It weighed 752 tons and drafted nineteen feet of water. It carried a crew of eighty-eight enlisted sailors and officers. Propelled by one vertical condensing engine capable of operation at high or low pressure, with a cylinder diameter of forty inches and a thirty-inch stroke, it averaged …

USS Arkansas (M-7)

aka: USS Ozark (BM-7)
The USS Arkansas (M-7), also known as the USS Ozark (BM-7), was one of four monitor-class naval vessels built for the U.S. Navy in the late 1800s. Although designed as surface warships, these vessels were primarily relegated to support operations because they were obsolete by the time they were finished. In 1898, the navy approved designs to introduce four new monitor vessels. These vessels were known as the USS Arkansas (M-7), USS Connecticut (M-8), USS Florida (M-9), and USS Wyoming (M-10). Because the navy designates the first ship of a class series the class name of the ship, M-7 through M-10 were known as Arkansas-class monitors. The USS Arkansas was built by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company …

USS Baron De Kalb

aka: USS St. Louis
Named for Baron Johann De Kalb, a Bavarian nobleman who served as a major general in the Continental army during the American Revolution, the sternwheel casemate gunboat Baron De Kalb saw extensive service with the Union’s Western Gunboat Fleet during the Civil War, including operations on the White River during the ongoing battle for control of significant interior rivers in the Trans-Mississippi Department. Built in 1861 in Carondelet, Missouri, by the innovative ship designer James B. Eads under orders from U.S. Army Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs and originally christened the St. Louis, the 175-foot Cairo-class vessel displaced 512 tons and drew six feet of water. Its armaments consisted of two eight-inch smoothbore cannon, four forty-two-pound rifled cannon, and seven thirty-two-pound …

USS Baxter (APA-94)

The USS Baxter was a Sumter-class attack transport ship that saw action during World War II. It is named in honor of Baxter County. The Baxter was the fourth and final ship in the Sumter class to be constructed, with work beginning on March 18, 1943, in Chickasaw, Alabama; the other three ships of the class were constructed in 1942. The ship was launched on September 19, 1943, and was acquired by the U.S. Navy on November 30, receiving a reduced commission. The Baxter sailed to Brooklyn, New York, where it arrived on December 14. Work to convert it to an attack transport began the same day. The ship was fully commissioned on May 15, 1944, under the command of …

USS Benton County (LST-263)

The USS Benton County, originally USS LST-263, was a tank landing ship that served the U.S. Navy in the European Theater during World War II. It was renamed the USS Benton County on July 1, 1955, in honor of counties of that name in nine states, including Arkansas. LST-263 was one of a class of vessels created to carry tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment, and supplies during military operations along coastal areas. Called “Large Slow Targets” by their crews, they were designed as shallow-draft vessels; when loaded with a 500-ton cargo, LST-263 drew just under four feet at the bow and just under ten feet at the stern. They carried pontoons amidships that could be used to …

USS Boone County (LST-389)

The USS Boone County, originally LST-389, was a tank landing ship that served the U.S. Navy in the European Theater during World War II. It was renamed the USS Boone County on July 1, 1955, in honor of counties of that name in eight states, including Arkansas. LST-389 was one of a class of vessels—called Landing Ship, Tank—created to carry tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment, and supplies during military operations along coastal areas. Called “Large Slow Targets” by their crews, they were designed as shallow-draft vessels; when loaded with a 500-ton cargo, LST-389 drew just under four feet at the bow and just under ten feet at the stern. These ships carried pontoons amidships that could be …

USS Bradley County (LST-400)

The USS Bradley County, originally USS LST-400, was a tank landing ship that served the U.S. Navy in the European Theater during World War II. It was renamed the USS Bradley County on July 1, 1955, in honor of counties in Arkansas and Tennessee. LST-400 was one of a class of vessels—called Landing Ship, Tank—created to carry tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment, and supplies during military operations along coastal areas. Called “Large Slow Targets” by their crews, they were designed as shallow-draft vessels; when loaded with a 500-ton cargo, LST-400 drew just under four feet at the bow and just under ten feet at the stern. They carried pontoons amidships that could be used to create causeways …

USS Calhoun County (LST-519)

The USS Calhoun County, originally USS LST-519, was a tank landing ship that served the U.S. Navy in the European Theater during World War II and was later used to dump radioactive material into the Atlantic Ocean. It was renamed the USS Calhoun County on July 1, 1955, in honor of counties of that name in eleven states, including Arkansas. LST-519 was one of a class of vessels created to carry tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment, and supplies during military operations along coastal areas. Called “Large Slow Targets” by their crews, they were designed as shallow-draft vessels; when loaded with a 500-ton cargo, LST-519 drew just under four feet at the bow and just under ten feet …

USS Charles J. Finger

The USS Charles J. Finger, named for Fayetteville (Washington County) writer and editor Charles Joseph Finger, was a World War II Liberty Ship that saw wartime service in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Pacific. After the war, the vessel sailed under the flags of four foreign nations prior to being scrapped in 1970. In the early days of World War II, German U-boat attacks devastated British shipping, and American industry responded to the heavy losses of cargo ships by developing what became known as Liberty Ships. These mass-produced vessels contained 250,000 parts that were created in factories across the United States, then sent to several American shipyards for assembly into two sections, each about 220 feet long, that were then welded …

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 …

USS Cincinnati

The sternwheel casemate gunboat Cincinnati saw extensive service with the Union’s Western Gunboat Fleet during the Civil War, including the expedition up Steele’s Bayou and operations on the White River during the ongoing battle for control of significant interior rivers in the Trans-Mississippi Department. Built in 1861 in Mound City, Illinois, by the innovative ship designer James B. Eads under orders from U.S. Army Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs, the 175-foot Cairo-class vessel displaced 512 tons and drew six feet of water. Its armaments consisted of six thirty-two-pound and three eight-inch smoothbore cannon, four forty-two-pound rifled cannon, and one twelve-pound howitzer. Under operational control of the army and piloted by permanently assigned civilians, the Cincinnati joined the Western Gunboat Fleet in …

USS Clara Dolsen

The USS Clara Dolsen was a massive sidewheel paddleboat built in 1861 and used by Confederate forces until its capture by the U.S. Navy during the 1862 St. Charles Expedition. The Clara Dolsen was a 939-ton sidewheel paddleboat built at Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1861 for Captain William T. Dunning, A. P. Stewart, and S. B. Edwards of New Orleans, Louisiana. Its hull was constructed at the Leatherbury yard, and its machinery was manufactured by C. T. G. Dumont. The Clara Dolsen was 273 feet long and forty-two feet wide, and it was powered by five boilers and twenty-eight-inch cylinder engines. Its paddlewheels were thirty-six feet in diameter with fourteen-foot buckets. The ship was acknowledged as “one of the largest, handsomest, …

USS Cleburne (APA-73)

The USS Cleburne was a Gilliam-class attack transport that served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. It was named for Cleburne County, Arkansas, and Cleburne County, Alabama, both of which were named in honor of Confederate major general Patrick Cleburne. The Gilliam class was designed to transport troops and materials close to shore during invasions. Small boats carried by the larger ship were used to land troops on shore. The ships of the class were 426 feet long and fifty-eight feet wide. With a top speed of seventeen knots, the ship utilized a crew of twenty-seven officers and 295 enlisted men. The ship could carry forty-seven officers and 802 enlisted men. Armed with a single five-inch dual-purposed mounted …

USS Conestoga

The first of two vessels named Conestoga, this converted sidewheel steamer saw extensive service with the Union’s Western Gunboat Fleet during the Civil War, including operations on the Arkansas, White, Black, Tensas, and Ouachita rivers during the ongoing battle for control of significant interior rivers in the Trans-Mississippi Department. Originally built in 1859 in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, as a sidewheel steamer displacing between 297 and 572 tons, the Conestoga was purchased by the U.S. Army Quartermaster on June 3, 1861, and converted into a wood-clad gunboat for service with the Western Gunboat Fleet on the Mississippi River and various tributaries. Although under the army’s operational control, the vessel was commanded by Lieutenant S. Ledyard Phelps of the U.S. Navy. Initial duties …

USS Cooper (DD-695)

The USS Cooper was a U.S. Navy destroyer in World War II named for Monticello (Drew County) native Elmer Glenn Cooper. The Cooper sank on December 3, 1944, after being struck by a torpedo during a surface engagement at Ormoc Bay. Elmer Glenn Cooper was born on May 9, 1905, in Monticello, to the farming family of James O. Cooper and Anna B. Cooper. He married Francis Vivian Lewis Sigmon in 1928. Cooper attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, graduating 476th in a class of 579 in 1927, and was retained for aviation instruction that summer. Cooper became a U.S. Navy pilot and was serving on the aircraft Carrier USS Langley when, during fleet maneuvers off southern California, …

USS Cossatot (AO-77)

aka: USNS Cossatot
The USS Cossatot was a tanker in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Named for the Cossatot River in southwestern Arkansas, the USS Cossatot served in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters of war. The Cossatot, which was a Type 2-SE-A1 tanker, served as a fleet oiler, supplying fuel and other necessities to ships at sea. It was constructed in Chester, Pennsylvania, by the Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company. Originally laid down as the Fort Necessity, the ship was launched on February 28, 1943, and then transferred to the navy on March 17, 1943. Commander P. G. Beck served as the first captain of the ship when it was commissioned on April 20, 1943, in Norfolk, Virginia. Upon …

USS Craighead (AK-175)

The USS Craighead 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 Craighead County and was part of the same class as the USS Chicot, USS Poinsett, and USS Sebastian, all named for Arkansas counties. Construction on the ship began in 1944, and it was launched on February 28, 1945. Constructed by Froemming Brothers, Incorporated, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Craighead was acquired by the navy on July 31, 1945. It was commissioned on September 5, 1945, under the command of Lieutenant Commander George Walker, who commanded the ship for its entire service in the navy. The ship was crewed by members of the U.S. Coast …

USS Cricket

The USS Cricket was a sternwheel steamboat built in 1860 and purchased by the U.S. Navy in 1862 for Civil War service in western waters, including extensive activity in Arkansas rivers. Cricket No. 2, as the boat was originally named, was constructed in 1860 at California, Pennsylvania, for R. Hamilton of Hanging Rock, Ohio, and John Kyle of Cincinnati, Ohio. The vessel was 151 feet long and 27.7 feet wide. It ran between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Cincinnati, Ohio, and, during the summer, between Cincinnati and Louisville, Kentucky, under the command of Captain S. B. Hempstead. The Union navy bought the ship on November 18, 1862, at Cairo, Illinois, and converted it to a tinclad gunboat with the addition of one-and-one-quarter-inch …

USS Crittenden (APA-77)

The USS Crittenden (APA-77) was a Gilliam-class attack transport named for counties in Arkansas and Kentucky. The vessel served late in World War II and during the occupation of Japan before being used as a test vessel for atomic bomb tests on the Bikini Atoll. The USS Crittenden was built by the Consolidated Steel Corporation of Wilmington, California, under a contract from the U.S. Maritime Commission. It was launched on November 6, 1944, and christened by Mrs. W. R. Boyd. The Crittenden was transferred to the U.S. Navy on January 16, 1945, and commissioned a day later under command of Commander P. C. Crosley. The USS Crittenden weighed 4,247 tons and was 426 feet long and fifty-eight feet wide, traveling …

USS Drew (APA-162)

The USS Drew (APA-162) was a 6,873-ton Haskell-class attack transport built in 1944 and named for Drew County, Arkansas. The Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation in Portland, Oregon, laid down the hull for the USS Drew on June 30, 1944. The vessel was launched on September 14, then commissioned on October 22, 1944, under Commander D. H. Swinson. The ship was 455 feet long and sixty-two feet wide and could reach speeds of seventeen knots. It had a crew of fifty-six officers and 490 sailors and could carry up to eighty-six officers and 1,440 enlisted men. The Drew was armed with one five-inch gun, one quad-40mm antiaircraft mount, four twin 40mm guns, and ten single-mount 20-mm AA guns. The Drew left San …

USS Eberle (DD-430)

The USS Eberle was a Gleaves-class destroyer that saw service in World War II and in the Greek navy. It is one of two ships named after Admiral Edward Eberle, a resident of Fort Smith (Sebastian County), that saw service in World War II. The keel of the ship was laid down by the Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, on April 12, 1939. Launched on September 14, 1940, it was commissioned on December 4 of the same year. The ship was sponsored by Mildred Eberle, the granddaughter of Admiral Eberle. The first commander of the Eberle was Lieutenant Commander Edward Randolph Jr. The Eberle was armed with four single-mount five-inch guns. (Some members of the Gleaves class had five …

USS Fort Hindman

The USS Fort Hindman was a Union paddle-wheel steamer that operated along rivers in the Trans-Mississippi during the Civil War. Named for the Confederate fort captured at Arkansas Post in January 1863, the Fort Hindman participated in numerous actions during the war. The ship that became known as the Fort Hindman was purchased by the Federal government on March 14, 1863. Known as the James Thompson when it entered service, the ship was renamed the USS Manitou the same month. Lightly armored, the ship also carried a total of six eight-inch guns. In April 1863, the ship joined the Mississippi River Squadron and was commanded by Lieutenant Thomas O. Selfridge, the first graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. In July …