|USS Azimech (AK-124)|
as SS Mary Patten |
EC2-S-C1 hull, MC hull 1725
|Laid down:||21 July 1943|
|Launched:||11 August 1943|
|Acquired:||7 October 1943|
|Commissioned:||29 October 1943|
|Decommissioned:||11 December 1945|
|Struck:||3 January 1946|
|Fate:||sold for scrapping in 1972|
|Displacement:||4,023 t.(lt) 11,565 t.(fl)|
|Length:||441 ft 6 in (134.57 m)|
|Beam:||56 ft 11 in (17.35 m)|
|Draught:||28 ft 4 in (8.64 m)|
|Propulsion:||reciprocating steam engine, single shaft, 1,950shp|
|Armament:||one 5"/38 dual purpose gun mount; two dual 40mm AA gun mounts; eight single 20mm AA gun mounts|
USS Azimech (AK-124) was a Crater-class cargo ship commissioned by the U.S. Navy for service in World War II, named after Azimech, the other name of Spica, the brightest star in constellation Virgo. She was responsible for delivering troops, goods and equipment to locations in the war zone.
SS Mary Patten was laid down on 21 July 1943 under a Maritime Commission contract (MCE hull 1725) by the Permanente Metals Corp., Richmond, California; launched on 11 August 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Otis A. Kent; acquired by the Navy on 7 October 1943; renamed Azimech and designated AK-124 on 11 October 1943; converted for naval service at Oakland, California, by the Moore Dry Dock Company; and commissioned on 29 October 1943, Lt. Comdr. E. P. Gaither in command.
World War II Pacific Theatre operations
After a brief shakedown, the cargo ship got underway on 11 November for Hawaii. At Pearl Harbor, she was assigned for duty to Service Squadron 8, U.S. Pacific Fleet. The ship discharged her cargo and then entered the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard for an overhaul of her main engines and boilers. Azimech was on keelblocks for 16 days, then began loading cargo. She set sail on 28 December for the Gilbert Islands.
Supporting Tarawa operations under fire
Azimech reached Tarawa on 8 January 1944 and began unloading her cargo. The process was hampered by frequent enemy air attacks and reefs in the lagoon which permitted the ship to unload only at high tide. Azimech made additional stops at Makin and Apamama Islands before heading back to Pearl Harbor. After a brief stop in Hawaii, Azimech continued on to the U.S. West Coast and moored at San Pedro, California, on 6 March. Following an availability period at Terminal Island from 10 March until 9 April, she filled her holds with cargo at Oakland, California, and began the voyage back to Hawaii on 26 April.
Providing service at Majuro and Eniwetok
On 7 May, Azimech sailed from Pearl Harbor with a convoy bound for Majuro. They reached that naval base on 18 May and reported to Service Squadron 10 for duty. The cargo ship lay at anchor in Majuro lagoon, issuing stores to forces ashore, until 3 June when she got underway for Eniwetok. After serving at that atoll until 24 August, she steamed back to Hawaii; paused for one day at Pearl Harbor; and then pushed on to the U.S. West Coast.
Servicing Ulithi and Kossol Roads
The ship reached San Francisco, California, on 13 September to begin reloading operations. While taking on cargo, she also received minor repairs and alterations before heading west again on 26 September. After stops at Pearl Harbor and Eniwetok, Azimech arrived at Ulithi on 2 November. She operated there until the 16th and then steamed in company with USS Compel (AM-162) to Kossol Roads. Two days later, the ships reached their destination, and Azimech began issuing supplies. On 5 December 1944, the vessel weighed anchor and traveled back to Pearl Harbor via Ulithi and Eniwetok.
Following the holidays, Azimech got underway for Seattle, Washington, and entered the Puget Sound Navy Yard on 16 January 1945 for repairs. On 15 February, she began steaming for Eniwetok and reached that atoll on 11 March. Following eight days at Ulithi, she set sail for the Ryūkyūs.
Supporting Okinawa and Guam
Azimech remained anchored off Kerama Retto from 18 to 29 April. On the latter day, she shifted berth to Hagushi beach, Okinawa, her base until 7 May when she sailed for Guam. The cargo ship began loading cargo there on 24 May and did not finish the task until 8 June. She then got underway for Ulithi and, on 10 June, anchored in that lagoon where she remained for the duration of the war.
On 23 August, Azimech shaped a course for the coast of southern California. Reaching San Pedro, California, on 15 September, the ship unloaded her ammunition and provisions to prepare for a yard period. She sailed again on 13 October, bound for Norfolk, Virginia. After transiting the Panama Canal on 25 October, Azimech reached Hampton Roads on 3 November.
She immediately began preparations for deactivation. The cargo ship moved to Baltimore, Maryland, on 21 November for a final yard period and was decommissioned on 11 December. Her name was struck from the Navy List on 3 January 1946. She remained in merchant service until sold in 1972 to a firm in Spain for scrapping.
Military awards and honors
Azimech won one battle star for her World War II service:
- Okinawa Gunto operation (Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto, 18 April to 7 May 1945)
Her crew was eligible for the following medals:
- American Campaign Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (1)
- World War II Victory Medal
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
- Photo gallery of Azimech at NavSource Naval History
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