USS Draco (AK-79)

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USS Draco (AK-79), Puget Sound 1945.jpg
USS Draco (AK-79), Puget Sound, August 1945
United States
  • John M. Palmer
  • Draco
Ordered: as a Type EC2-S-C1 hull, MCE hull 453[1]
Builder: Permanente Metals Corporation, Richmond, California
Cost: $1,112,024[2]
Yard number: 453[1]
Way number: 9[1]
Laid down: 15 December 1942[1]
Launched: 19 January 1943
Sponsored by: Miss Gayle Marie Sanfacon
Acquired: 31 January 1943
Commissioned: 16 February 1943
Decommissioned: 28 November 1945
Struck: 19 December 1945
Honors and
2 × battle stars
Fate: Laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River Group, Lee Hall, Virginia, 28 November 1945
Status: Sold for commercial use, 9 August 1947
Union of South AfricaUnion of South Africa
Name: President Kruger
Namesake: Paul Kruger
Owner: Southern Steamship Proprietary, Ltd., Johannesburg
Acquired: 9 August 1947
Status: scrapped April 1968
General characteristics [3]
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:
  • 1 × Header-type boilers, 220psi 450°,  (manufactured by Babcock & Wilcox)
  • 2,500 shp (1,900 kW)
Speed: 12.5 kn (14.4 mph; 23.2 km/h)
  • 7,800 t (7,700 long tons) DWT
  • 444,206 cu ft (12,578.5 m3) (non-refrigerated)
Complement: 206

USS Draco (AK-79) was an Crater-class cargo ship commissioned by the US Navy for service in World War II. Named after the constellation Draco. She was responsible for delivering goods and equipment to locations in the war zone.


Draco was laid down 15 December 1942, as SS John M. Palmer, MCE hull 453, by Permanente Metals Corporation, Yard No. 2, Richmond, California, under a Maritime Commission (MARCOM) contract; launched 19 January 1943, and sponsored by Miss Gayle Marie Sanfacon. She was transferred to the Navy 31 January 1943; and commissioned 16 February 1943, Lieutenant Commander Earle L. Evey, USNR, in command.[4][2]

Service history[edit]

Draco towed YFD-21 from Seattle, Washington, by way of Pearl Harbor to Espiritu Santo, arriving 5 May 1943. She carried cargo from Auckland, New Zealand, to bases on Nouméa, Espiritu Santo, Guadalcanal, and the Fiji Islands, and acted in support of the consolidation of the Solomons, the invasions of Cape Torokina, Bougainville, and Emirau. From 27 July to 10 August 1944 she unloaded cargo at Guam in the capture and occupation of that island, then returned to cargo runs between New Zealand and the Solomons until arriving at Ulithi 26 May 1945.[4]

Draco sailed from Ulithi 20 June 1945, for Okinawa, where she discharged Army supplies from 26 June to 12 July. Sailing by way of Guadalcanal to load salvaged equipment and vehicles, Draco arrived at Tacoma, Washington, 27 August 1945.[4]

Post-war decommissioning[edit]

Draco was decommissioned 28 November 1945, and returned to MARCOM for disposal the same day.[4] She entered the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River Group, Lee Hall, Virginia, 28 November 1945.[5]

Merchant service[edit]

On 9 August 1947, she was sold to the South African company, Southern Steamship Proprietary, Ltd., and renamed President Kruger. She was again sold in 1951, and renamed Riviera. In 1953, she was sold and renamed Effie. She was renamed President Pretorius in 1958, and finally sold in April 1968, to be scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan.[3]


Draco received two battle stars for World War II service.[4]



External links[edit]