|USS Rutilicus (AK-113)|
as SS Andrew Rowan|
EC2-S-C1 hull, MCE hull 1643
|Laid down:||2 April 1943|
|Launched:||26 April 1943|
|Acquired:||9 October 1943|
|Commissioned:||30 October 1943|
|Decommissioned:||11 December 1945|
|Struck:||8 January 1946|
|Fate:||for scrapping, 6 October 1971|
|Displacement:||4,023 t.(lt) 14,250 t.(fl)|
|Length:||441 ft 6 in (134.57 m)|
|Beam:||56 ft 11 in (17.35 m)|
|Draught:||27 ft 7 in (8.41 m)|
|Propulsion:||Joshua Hendy reciprocating steam engine, single shaft, 1,950shp|
|Armament:||one 5"/38 dual purpose gun mount; one 3"/50 dual purpose gun mount; eight 20mm AA gun mounts|
USS Rutilicus (AK-113) was an Crater-class cargo ship commissioned by the U.S. Navy for service in World War II. She was responsible for delivering troops, goods and equipment to locations in the war zone. Rutilicus, a cargo ship, was laid down as Liberty ship SS Andrew Rowan (MCE hull 1643) on 2 April 1943 under Maritime Commission contract by California Shipbuilding Corp., Wilmington, California; launched on 26 April 1943; sponsored by Mrs. A. B. Chandler; and delivered to Waterman Steamship Co. for operation on 8 May 1943. Acquired by the Navy on 9 October 1943, she was commissioned at San Diego, California, on 30 October 1943, Lt. Comdr. H. O. Matthieson in command.
World War II Pacific Theatre operations
Following a short shakedown cruise along the coast, Rutilicus took on a load of general cargo at Port Hueneme, California, and steamed in convoy for Hawaii arriving at Pearl Harbor on 21 November. Departing the Hawaiian Islands on 4 December, she continued on to the Gilbert Islands, delivering cargo at both Tarawa and Abemama before returning to Pearl Harbor on 12 January 1944.
Supporting invasion of the Marshall Islands
She got underway on 25 January for the invasion of the Marshall Islands. Arriving at Majuro on 3 February, she delivered 150 U.S. Marines and general cargo and then returned to Pearl Harbor on 21 February. Her next voyage, 29 February to 28 March, was a run to Baker Island, to pick up Army Air Force advance base equipment for return to Pearl Harbor.
Island-hopping in the South Pacific
Rutilicus' next operations involved extensive island-hopping. Standing out from Pearl Harbor on 14 April, she steamed in convoy for Kwajalein Atoll, the Marshalls, arriving on the 23d. She then touched at Makin, Tarawa, Abemama, and Makin again, before returning to Pearl Harbor on 20 May.
Tinian invasion operations
By 14 June, Rutilicus was steaming in convoy for Eniwetok Atoll, arriving there on the 25th. For the next seven weeks, she rode at anchor there, then joined up with a convoy for Tinian, the Marianas. Following offloading at Tinian, she left for Eniwetok 14 August, touching there on the 19th, and then continued on to Pearl Harbor. Then she steamed independently for San Francisco, California, arriving on 8 September. On the 12th, she moved into Amship Corp. Shipyard, Alameda, California, for repairs, alterations, and conversion from a general cargo carrier to a fleet dry provisions issue ship.
Serving the Philippine invasion forces
Rutilicus moved to the Naval Supply Depot, Oakland, California, on 13 October, took on dry provisions, clothing, small stores, ship's store stock, and medical stores for fleet issue in the forward areas. Thirteen days later, she steamed for Leyte, the Philippines, via Manus, Funafuti, and Hollandia. By 1 December, she was serving units of the fleet in Philippine waters. The next 5 months saw her issuing stores between Hollandia, Nouméa, Espiritu Santo, Manus, Ulithi, and Guam. She was back in San Francisco on 6 May 1945.
Following repairs, she steamed on 12 June via the Carolines for Okinawan waters. She commenced operations from Buckner Bay on 21 July; and, on 10 September, she steamed with Task Group 55.7 for Nagasaki, Kyūshū, Japan, arriving on the 12th. She shifted to Sasebo on the 25th.
After returning to San Francisco, she headed, via the Panama Canal, for Norfolk, Virginia. Arriving at Hampton Roads on 1 December, she reported to the Commandant, 5th Naval District for disposition.
Decommissioned on 17 December 1945, and returned to WSA the following day, she was struck from the Navy List on 8 January 1946. Rutilicus was placed in the Maritime Commission, National Defense Reserve Fleet, and remained berthed in the James River until 26 October 1971 when she was sold for scrapping to Hierros Ardes, S.A., of Bilbao, Spain.
Military awards and honors
Rutilicus received two battle stars for World War II service. Her crew was eligible for the following medals:
- American Campaign Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (2)
- World War II Victory Medal
- Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp)
- Philippines Liberation Medal
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
- Photo gallery of Rutilicus at NavSource Naval History
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