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  USS George F. Elliott AP-13
USN
Heywood Class Transport

7,630 Tons
507' x 56' x 29' 9"
1 x 5"/38 DP gun
4 x 3"/50 dual gun
8 x .50 cal machine guns
Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
USN August 8, 1942

Ship History
Built by Bethlehem Steel Corporation in Alameda, CA. Laid down during 1918 as "SS War Haven" for the United States Shipping Board (USSB). Completed and acquired by the United States Navy (USN) on October 19, 1918. Commissioned as USS Victorious (ID-3514) on October 21, 1918.

Decommissioned and struck from the Naval Register, February 24 1919 at New York. Afterwards, returned to the United States Shipping Board for disposal. In 1931, acquired by the Baltimore Mail S.S. Co. and renamed SS City of Havre, lengthened and passenger accommodations added. In 1938 acquired by Panama Pacific Lines and renamed SS City of Los Angeles.

On October 30, 1940 acquired by the U. S. Navy and converted into a transport capable of accommodating 1,278 personnel. On January 10, 1941 commissioned USS George F. Elliott (AP-13) with Captain Harry G. Patrick in command.

Naming Honors
Named in honor of George F. Elliott, a Marine Corps officer who fought in the Spanish-American War in an action at near Cuzco Valley and appointed Major General and Commandant of the Marine Corps until his retirement in 1910. He died on November 4, 1931.

Wartime History
During 1941, transported the 1st Marine Brigade to the Caribbean for training exercises, operating out of Norfolk.

On February 19, 1942 departed from New York with 1,100 personnel from the 107th Combat Engineer Battalion and joined a convoy off Halifax before arriving at Belfast on March 3, 1942, then returned to New York on March 25, 1942.

On April 9, 1942 departed with another convoy with 1,229 personnel for Tongatapu arriving in May 1942. Departed Tongatapu on May 19, 1942 and steamed for San Francisco arriving on June 5, 1942 for repairs.

On June 22, 1942 departed San Francisco with 1,300 personnel of the 2d Battalion, 1st Marines as part of a convoy bound for Wellington arriving on July 11, 1942 and additional cargo was loaded. On July 22, 1942 departed Wellington as part of Task Force 62 (TF-62) and conducted landing maneuvers in Fiji then proceeded to Guadalcanal.

On August 7, 1942 participated in the initial landing on Guadalcanal, sending her boats ashore at 7:33am to land at Red Beach and landing cargo into the night. As the landing beach had become congested, Elliott anchored off Lunga Point in the Lunga Point Anchorage overnight.

Sinking History
On August 8, 1942 while awaiting orders to resume landing her remaining cargo, an air raid alert was sounded, the ship weighed anchor and began raising steam to getting underway by 11:00am at a speed of 10.5 knots and moved the center of Iron Bottom Sound.

Just before noon, the formation of twenty-three G4M1 Betty bombers attacked from minimum altitude and eight were shot down due to anti-aircraft fire and others were intercepted by F4F WIldcats only a few managed to release their torpedoes.

During the attack, G4M1 Betty piloted by Reserve Lt(jg) Sasaki was damaged by F4F Wildcats from USS Enterprise. At 12:02 his damaged bomber approached USS George F. Elliott from the starboard side and was fired on and hit by her gunners before impacting the starboard boat deck aft of the stack.

Burning fuel and wreckage damaged the rear fire main and causing a massive fire from below decks fueled by supplies aboard and topside. Due to the fire, the engine room was abandoned and the ship stopped in the center of Iron Bottom Sound. The crew vainly attempted to use a bucket brigade to fight the fires. Other vessels were unable to render support due to the air raid. The rear bulkhead failed, releasing fuel into the rear hold. The crew abandoned ship shortly after 1:00pm and the ship sank.

Officially struck from the Naval Register on October 2, 1942. USS George F. Elliott earned one battle star for World War II service.

References
Navy Source - USS George F. Elliott (AP-13)
Mitsubishi Type 1 Rikko Betty Units of World War 2 page 45-46
The First Team and the Guadalcanal Campaign page 76, 78, 621
A Helmet For My Pillow author Robert Leckie was aboard USS George F. Elliott for the landing on Guadalcanal
You'll Be Sor-ree! author Sidney "Sid" Phillips was aboard USS George F. Elliott to New Zealand
Bill Coggin HQ Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines was aboard USS George F. Elliott

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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