Military Wiki
USS Ailanthus (AN-38)
Name: USS Ailanthus
Namesake: Ailanthus
Builder: Everett-Pacific Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Everett, Washington
Laid down: 17 November 1942 as YN-57
Launched: 20 May 1943
Sponsored by: Miss Billie Jean McNatt
Commissioned: 2 December 1943 as USS Ailanthus (YN-57)
Reclassified: AN-38, 20 January 1944
Struck: 9 June 1944
Fate: Ran aground in Alaskan waters, 26 February 1944, declared a total loss
General characteristics
Class & type: Ailanthus-class net laying ship
Displacement: 1,190 long tons (1,209 t)
Length: 194 ft 7 in (59.31 m)
Beam: 34 ft 7 in (10.54 m)
Draft: 11 ft 8 in (3.56 m)
Propulsion: Diesel-electric, 2,500 hp (1,864 kW), single propeller
Speed: 17 knots (20 mph; 31 km/h)
Complement: 56 officers and enlisted
Armament: • 1 × 3"/50 caliber gun
• 4 × twin 20 mm guns

USS Ailanthus (AN-38/YN-57) was an Ailanthus-class net laying ship which served with the U.S. Navy in the western Pacific Ocean theatre of operations during World War II. She was assigned to serve the U.S. Pacific Fleet with her protective anti-submarine nets. Unfortunately, while performing this service, she ran aground in Alaskan waters and was declared a total loss.

Built in Washington

Ailanthus (YN-57) was laid down on 17 November 1942 at Everett, Washington, by the Everett Pacific Co.; launched on 20 May 1943; sponsored by Miss Billie Jean McNatt; and placed in commission at Seattle, Washington, on 2 December 1943, Lt. Donald B. Howard, USNR, in command.

World War II service

The net tender completed fitting out and, during the second half of December, conducted shakedown training. On the last day of 1943, she reported for duty in the 13th Naval District. On 20 January 1944, she was reclassified a net laying ship and redesignated AN-38.

Early in February, Ailanthus moved north to Pleasant Island, Alaska, where she arrived on 4 February. Reassigned that same day to Service Squadron 6, U.S. Pacific Fleet, she began to carry out net laying duties.

Ran aground and sunk

However, her career proved very brief. On 26 February 1944, she ran hard aground and suffered extensive damage. While still stranded, Ailanthus was reassigned to the newly constituted 17th Naval District (the Alaskan portion of the old 13th Naval District to which she had originally been assigned). Finally, she was declared a total loss, and her name was struck from the Navy List on 9 June 1944. Ailanthus specific duty in the Aleutian Islands was to deliver perforated steel plating (Marsden matting) to a Navy Seabee contingent building an airfield on the westernmost island of Attu. After having offloaded her cargo the ship was caught in a violent winter storm, slipped her anchorage and was driven aground.


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