USS Vermilion (AKA-107)

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USSVermilion.jpg USS Vermilion (AKA-107)
History
Laid down: 17 October 1944
Launched: 12 December 1944
Commissioned: 23 June 1945
Decommissioned: 26 August 1949
Recommissioned: 16 October 1950
Decommissioned: 13 April 1971
Struck: 1 January 1977
Fate: Sunk 40 miles off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina as part of a barrier reef (date unknown)
General Characteristics
Hull Type: C2-S-AJ3
Displacement: 8,635 tons light, 13,910 tons loaded
Length: 459 ft 2 in (140 m)
Beam: 63 ft (19.2 m)
Draft: 26 ft 4 in (8.0 m)
Propulsion: GE geared steam turbine drive, single propeller,
6,000 shp (4.5 MW)
Speed: 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h)
Complement: 395 (62 officers, 333 men), plus embarked troops
Armament: 1 × 5"/38 caliber DP gun,
4 × twin 40 mm AA guns,
16 × 20 mm AA guns
Boats: 14 LCVP,
8 LCM
NOTES: Some sources report different displacements for ships of this type. Speed and complement may have changed as the ship or her mission were modified. Often one or two LCVPs were replaced by LCPLs. 20mm AA guns were sometimes removed.

USS Vermilion (AKA-107), was a Tolland-class attack cargo ship named after Vermilion Parish, Louisiana and Vermilion County, Illinois. She served as a commissioned ship for 24 years and 7 months.

1940s

Vermilion was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1700) on 17 October 1944 by the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company in Wilmington, North Carolina and launched on 12 December 1944, sponsored by Mrs. Rex Freeman. She was delivered to the Navy on 23 December 1944 to be completed as an attack cargo ship at the Todd Shipyard in Brooklyn, New York. She was commissioned at Brooklyn on 23 June 1945 as AKA-107, Captain F. B. Eggers commanding.

Based at Norfolk, Virginia, Vermilion was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet and spent over a year in shakedown and refresher training. In November 1946, she cruised to South American waters before assuming duty upon her return to Norfolk. For the next three years she took on standard Atlantic fleet operations, including midshipman training cruises, amphibious exercises, type training and reserve training cruises. She was decommissioned on 26 August 1949 and berthed with the Reserve Fleet Group at Orange, Texas.

1950s

The outbreak of the Korean War in the summer of 1950 meant the Vermilion was recommissioned at Orange on 16 October 1950, Captain A. Jackson in command. However, though the war had prompted her return to active duty, she never saw service in the Far East. Instead, she was used to replace other Atlantic Fleet ships released for duty.

In the summer of 1951 the Vermilion took part in Operation Bluejay, the first large-scale seaborne supply lift to the new airbase under construction at Thule, Greenland. She returned to Norfolk on 29 August 1951 and resumed operations with the Atlantic Fleet, before visiting Tule on a second supply mission during the summer of 1952. By 25 August she had once again returned to Norfolk and resumed Atlantic Fleet duty. During the winter she operated in the West Indies out of the base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba before returning to Norfolk and Atlantic Fleet duty on 2 February 1953.

For the next five years, Vermilion participated in Atlantic Fleet amphibious exercises at Onslow Beach, North Carolina and in the Caribbean. She also conducted independent ship's exercises and made cruises the length of the Atlantic seaboard. She spent the second half of 1958 deployed in the Mediterranean Sea, returning to Norfolk and Atlantic Fleet duties in December.

1960s onward

Her routine of amphibious exercises and independent ship's exercises continued until the fall of 1962 when she was deployed to the West Indies to support the American quarantine of Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis. She then returned to Norfolk and her routine operations before deployment with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean beginning May 1963.

Vermilion returned to Norfolk on 17 October and began another four-year stint of operations along the Atlantic seaboard and in the Caribbean. In January 1968 she departed Morehead City, North Carolina, accompanied by Marine Air Control Squadron 6, bound for the Ryukyus via the Panama Canal and Pearl Harbor. She arrived in Buckner Bay, Okinawa on 22 February 1969 and departed three days later with Marine Air Control Squadron 8 embarked. The air squadron disembarked at Morehead City on 30 March before the Vermilion reached Norfolk the following day. Following a six-month overhaul at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard – during which she was redesignated LKA-107Vermilion resumed Atlantic Fleet operations in November, continuing to operate out of Norfolk for over two years. She was once again decommissioned on 13 April 1971 and then transferred to the Maritime Administration on 27 July 1971 to be laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet at James River, Virginia. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 January 1977 and she was later sunk forty miles off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to form part of a barrier reef.

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