USS Cetus (AK-77)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

USS Cetus (AK-77).jpg
USS Cetus (AK-77), at anchor in San Francisco Bay, 25 August 1945.
United States
  • George B. Cortelyou
  • Cetus
Ordered: as a Type EC2-S-C1 hull, MCE hull 445[1]
Builder: Permanente Metals Corporation, Richmond, California
Cost: $1,111,002[2]
Yard number: 445[1]
Way number: 11[1]
Laid down: 21 November 1942[1]
Launched: 26 December 1942
Sponsored by: Mrs. Norman F. Potter
Acquired: 4 January 1943
Commissioned: 17 January 1943
Decommissioned: 20 November 1945
Struck: 5 December 1945
Honors and
2 × battle stars
Fate: Laid up in National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River Group, Lee Hall, Virginia, 21 November 1945[3]
Status: Sold for scrapping, 26 October 1971, delivered, 6 January 1972
General characteristics [4]
Class and type: Crater-class cargo ship
  • 4,023 long tons (4,088 t) (standard)
  • 14,550 long tons (14,780 t) (full load)
Length: 441 ft 6 in (134.57 m)
Beam: 56 ft 11 in (17.35 m)
Draft: 28 ft 4 in (8.64 m)
Installed power:
Speed: 12.5 kn (23.2 km/h; 14.4 mph)
  • 7,800 t (7,700 long tons) DWT
  • 444,206 cu ft (12,578.5 m3) (non-refrigerated)
Complement: 210

The USS Cetus (AK-77) was a Crater-class cargo ship in the service of the US Navy in World War II. Named after the equatorial constellation Cetus, it was the only ship of the Navy to bear this name.


Cetus was laid down 21 November 1942 as liberty ship SS George B. Cortelyou, MCE hull 445, by Permanente Metals Corporation, Yard No. 2, Richmond, California, under a Maritime Commission (MARCOM) contract; launched 26 December 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Norman F. Potter; acquired by the Navy 4 January 1943; and commissioned 17 January 1943, Lieutenant Commander Nicholas T. Gansa, USNR, in command.[5]

Service history[edit]

Cetus' assignment, for which she sailed from San Francisco 1 February 1943, was carrying cargo among South Pacific bases, and from ports in New Zealand. She arrived at Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, 24 February, and began her share of the buildup of Solomon and Society Islands bases from which naval forces fought north through the Bismarcks. On 12 July 1944, she sailed from Guadalcanal for Eniwetok, where she prepared for her support of the invasion of Guam. She put to sea again 23 July, and arrived off Guam 27 July, 6 days after the initial assault. With bitter fighting continuing ashore, Cetus offloaded her much needed cargo over reefs and beaches, then returned to the South Pacific.[5]

In September and October 1944, Cetus brought cargo, some of which eventually played its part in the liberation of the Philippines, from Espiritu Santo to Ulithi and Manus. Cetus lay just outside Manus Harbor 10 November when ammunition ship Mount Hood exploded, but escaped injury. She returned to Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand, to load cargo after brief overhaul, and on 18 March 1945 arrived at Guam to aid in preparations for the invasion of Okinawa, carrying cargo to Saipan, and then to Ulithi. On 26 April she herself arrived off Okinawa, with cargo to support the determined fighting ashore. Cetus unloaded under the constant hazard of enemy air and surface suicide attack, but received no injury. She then sailed for San Francisco, arriving on 12 June for a major overhaul which kept her there until after the close of the war.[5]

Decommission and final disposition[edit]

She proceeded on to Norfolk, Virginia, where she was decommissioned 20 November 1945, and returned to MARCOM the following day.[5]

She was laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River Group, Lee Hall, Virginia, 21 November 1945.[3] She was sold to Hierros Ardes, S.A., Spain, for $71,520 on 26 October 1971, for scrapping. She was removed, 6 January 1972.[3]


Cetus received two battle stars for World War II service.[5]



  • "Cetus". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved 16 December 2016. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  • "Kaiser Permanente No. 2, Richmond CA". 13 October 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  • "USS Cetus (AK-77)". 21 November 2014. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  • "GEORGE B. CORTELYOU (AK-77)". United States Department of Transportation. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  • "SS GEORGE B. CORTELYOU". Retrieved 15 December 2017.

External links[edit]