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USNS Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton (T-AKV-5)
Career (USA)
Name: Jack J. Pendleton
Namesake: Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sergeant Jack J. Pendleton
Ordered: as type (VC2-S-AP3) hull, MCV hull 109
Builder: Oregon Shipbuilding Corp., Portland, Oregon
Laid down: 15 April 1944, as SS Mandan Victory
Sponsored by: Mrs. George C. Carter
Commissioned: 23 April 1948, by the U.S. Army as USAT Sgt. Jack J. Pendelton
Decommissioned: 1 March 1950 by the U.S. Army
by the U.S Navy, 1 March 1950
In service: 1 March 1950 as the U.S. Navy’s USNS Sgt Jack J. Pendelton (T-AKV-5)
Out of service: 1973
Reclassified: Cargo Ship (T-AK-276), 7 May 1956
Struck: date not known
Homeport: San Francisco, California
Oakland, California
Fate: struck a reef on Triton Island in 1973 and lost
General characteristics
Type: Lt. James E. Robinson-class cargo ship
Tons burthen: 16,199 tons
Length: 455' 3"
Beam: 62'
Draft: 28' 7"
Propulsion: steam turbine, single propeller, 8,500shp
Speed: 16 knots
Crew: 55
Armament: none

USNS Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton (T-AKV-5 /T-AK-276) was a Lt. James E. Robinson-class cargo ship constructed during World War II and placed into service under cognizance of the U.S. Maritime Commission.

Post-war she was acquired by the U.S. Army and placed into service as USAT Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton. In 1950 she was reacquired by the Navy and placed into service as the USNS Sgt Jack J. Pendleton (T-AKV-5). Pendleton continued to serve her country throughout the Korean War and Vietnam War.

In 1973, while sailing in the Paracel Islands, Pendleton struck a reef off Triton Island. Attempts to remove her from the reef failed, and she was abandoned.

Victory ship built in Oregon[edit | edit source]

Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton was laid down under Maritime Commission contract as Mandan Victory (MCV hull 109) on 15 April 1944 by the Oregon Shipbuilding Corp., Portland, Oregon; launched on 26 May 1944; sponsored by Mrs. George C. Carter; and delivered to the Maritime Commission's War Shipping Administration on 19 June 1944.

World War II service[edit | edit source]

Operated under a general agency agreement by the Isthmian Steamship Co. for the remainder of World War II and during the postwar period, Mandan Victory was subsequently operated by the Waterman Steamship Corporation and by A. L. Burbank and Co. In December 1947, she was laid up with the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Wilmington, Delaware.

Transferred to the U.S. Army[edit | edit source]

On 23 April 1948, she was transferred to the Army. Renamed Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton, the Victory ship received miscellaneous alterations, including the addition of radar and the enlargement of her hatches, during the summer; and, in the fall, she commenced 18 months of operations under the Army Transportation Service.

Acquired by MSTS[edit | edit source]

On 1 March 1950, the ship was transferred to the Navy for operation by the newly established Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS), now the Military Sealift Command.

Designated as a cargo ship and aircraft ferry, the former Army ship was given a civil service crew; placed in service as USNS Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton (T-AKV-5); and assigned to transpacific operations from her home port, San Francisco, California.

Korean War service[edit | edit source]

In late June, as the war in Korea broke out, she completed her second round trip to Japan as an MSTS ship and, for the next two years, was employed in moving combat cargoes westward. In the summer of 1952, however, she was shifted to runs to the Marshall Islands and the Mariana Islands; and, in March 1953, she resumed a Far East Schedule which she maintained until after the s:Korean Armistice Agreement.

Post-Korean War service[edit | edit source]

From 1954 to 1956, her destinations ranged from islands in the Central Pacific Ocean, to Japan, Korea, Okinawa, Taiwan, the Philippine Islands, and Thailand. During the summer of 1956, she conducted arctic operations. On board was poet and yeoman Allen Ginsberg, who used the ship's mimeograph to print 52 copies of "Siesta in Xbalba", his first publication, while the ship was anchored off Icy Cape, Alaska.[1]

With the fall, resumed her schedule in the more temperate and tropical zones of the Pacific.

Rescuing a Japanese crew at sea[edit | edit source]

In 1958, she was commended for rescuing the entire crew of a large Japanese fishing vessel which had gone down in the Pacific; and, in the same year, she again added northern ports in the Aleutians to her delivery points.

Temporary service in the Atlantic[edit | edit source]

In 1959, after calls at ports on the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, and the Gulf of Aden, the ship transited the Suez Canal to take on and deliver cargo in the Mediterranean. From there, she moved into the Atlantic Ocean and, in late March, arrived at New York City. She then continued on to Norfolk, Virginia, whence, for the next two months, she conducted transatlantic runs.

Redesignated AK-276 (7 May 1956), Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton carried supplies to northern bases in Greenland in July and in August; and, in September, she sailed for northern Europe, whence she made her way back to the Pacific via the Suez Canal.

During October and November, she put into ports on the Indian subcontinent, in southeast Asia, on the island of Taiwan, and on the Korean peninsula. In early December, she was in Japan; and, on the 29th, she arrived at Seattle, Washington, whence, with the new year 1960, she returned to San Francisco to resume transpacific operations.

Later in that year, the Victory ship interrupted her more routine schedule to bring the Navy's bathyscaph, Trieste, back to San Diego, California, after the research vessel had set a record dive of 35,800 feet in the Mariana Trench.

Vietnam War service[edit | edit source]

Later in the 1960s, as the war in Vietnam necessitated a speed-up in the supply line, she was employed in shuttling cargo from Subic Bay to South Vietnam.

Since that time until, September 23, 1973 when it went aground. Sgt. Jack J.Pendleton, had been home ported in Oakland, California. it continued operations in the Pacific and Vietnam for the Military Sealift Command until the date of the grounding.

Grounding[edit | edit source]

While sailing from Vietnam and returning to the United States on September 23, 1973 transiting the Paracel Islands, a group of small islands and reefs in the South China Sea Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton ran aground on a reef at Triton Island at 17 1/2 knots. Various attempts were made to salvage her, however, attempts failed, cargo removed, and she was abandoned.

The salvage operation was conducted by the USS Mount Vernon (LSD 39) and USS Duluth (LPD 6). The major items of interest aboard the Sgt Jack Pendleton to the US Government were two large generators. There were cases of old rifles and cases of ammunition on board as well. After many attempts, including an unsuccessful attempt by the embarked UDT/Seals (Underwater Demolition Team)to blow a hole in the reef surrounding Triton Island to facilitate the salvage operation using LCU-8s instead of the CH 53 and CH 46 helicopters from Mount Vernon, members of the Mt. Vernon crew were sent aboard the Pendleton to salvage whatever was felt could be used by Mount Vernon for the rest of her deployment. Many pallets of large caliber shells were lifted by helicopter from the Pendleton and were set down on the flight deck of the Mt. Vernon, whose deck crewmen then moved them via pallet jack to a point where they could be reached by the Mt. Vernon's cranes and lowered into the mezzanine and well deck, a very hazardous operation given the nature of the live ammo and the pitching of the ship in the open ocean.

Honors and awards[edit | edit source]

Qualified vessel personnel were qualified for the following:

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Beaufort_(ATS-2)

She (USS Beaufort) put to sea again on 25 September to help to refloat the grounded USNS Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton and returned to Subic Bay from that mission on 9 October. The crew of the Pendelton ran-a-ground on the coral shoal of Triton Island in the Parcel Island out to sea off of the DMZ of North Vietnam and South Vietnam; the Pendelton was 10 degrees off course during the storm. It was hauling ammunition to South Vietnam. The seas were heavy, with high waves being pushed by high winds. As the storm subsided, the 'Beaufort' hooked its steel cables to the aft section of the 'Pedleton' and attempted to tow her off of the snow white coral reef; there was no moving the ship. A barge was called from South Vietnam to unload the ammunition, and get it to U.S. Forces in South Vietnam, the unloading was completed by the sailors of the 'Pendleton'. While the unloading was being completed, the crew of the 'Beaufort' put its Navy Divers, Scuba, and Hard Hat Divers into the water to recon the bottom hull of the 'Pendleton'. The Beaufort Hull Technician Divers, and the Explosive Ordnance Demolition E.O.D. Divers noticed a crack in the hull; it was a gap between four inches to twelve inches, and compartments on flooded, which added additional weight. The bow of the 'Pendelton' was protruding approximately twenty feet up toward the sky. Additional ships were dispatched to the scene to assist in pulling the ship off the reef. During the same time, China sent a message stating it owned the island and to stop all procedures and depart the island; North Vietnam also stated it owned the coral reef and to make haste out of the area or it would send a warship to engage the Navy ships, both dispatches were taken seriously, however, no county was taking an operational naval vessel. All towing attempts failed, and a typhoon was closing in on the area. The 'Beaufort' made on final attempt. Another ship rammed the starboard, nearly crushing a sailor, as the I-Beam of the other ship crushed-in the side of the 'Beaufort'. The ship was hit so hard, the mast began to shake violently, and the men on the ship's bridge were on the deck waiting for it to crash. The 'Beaufort' removed all men from the 'Pendelton', and loaded Divers into a Mike Boat, Landing Craft. The Divers took dive equipment, and demolitions to the 'Pendleton', and set charges to the hull. After retreating approximately 1,000 yards, the charges exploded, and the ship was there "for the duration". It was used as a Radar Beacon for aircraft. The 'Beaufort' Hull Technicians shored its bulkhead with wood and steel, until it could get back to port for major repairs. During repairs, a U.S. Naval Destroyer was docked starboard side to 'Beaufort'.

Note[edit | edit source]

Some accounts of this vessel give her name as “Pendelton” instead of the correct name “Pendleton” which is the spelling of the person for which she was named by the Navy.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Morgan, Bill (2011). Beat Atlas: A State by State Guide to the Beat Generation in America. City Lights. pp. 238–39. 

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