USS ALUDRA (AF-55)
refrigerated cargo ship Matchless was laid down for the War Shipping Administration under a Maritime
Commission contract (MC hull 1202) on 23
August 1944 at Oakland, Calif., by the Moore Shipbuilding and Dry Dock
Co.; launched on 14 October 1944; sponsored
by Mrs. Harry E. Kennedy; and was delivered to the United States Lines under a bare boat charter on 23 March
1945. That firm operated the ship in the Pacific during the final months of the war and during the first four
years following Japan's capitulation.
On 11 August 1949, the ship was returned to the Maritime Commission at
Mobile, Ala., and she was laid up in the
National Defense Reserve Fleet berthing area at Bay Minette, Ala.
November 1950, the Navy selected Matchless for reactivation as it was expanding
the Fleet to meet its greatly increased responsibilities resulting from United Nations decision to oppose communist aggression in Korea. The vessel was towed
to Camden, N.J., where she was
overhauled and converted to a store
ship by the New York Shipbuilding Corp. During this work, she received the best and most modern
equipment to enable her to carry out her primary mission, underway replenishment. Renamed Aludra on 16 January 1951,
the ship was placed in commission by the Navy on 19 June 1952, Comdr. Ralph H.
Moureau in command.
to Service Squadron 3, Service Force, Pacific Fleet Aludra arrived at Sasebo, Japan,
on 28 October 1952 and took up the tasks of supporting Task Force (TF) 77 in
strikes along the east coast of Korea and TF 72 in patrols in the East China
Sea and off Formosa. Ending her first deployment to the western Pacific, she
returned to San Francisco on 4 May 1953.
for more than 16 years, she alternated operations on the west coast of the
United States with tours in the Far East resupplying ships serving in the Orient. Among the
highlights of her
service was her participation in Operation "Passage to Freedom," the
evacuation of thousands of Vietnamese refugees from communist-controlled areas
of Vietnam after that country had been partitioned in 1954. During the early years of
her career, she
was considered to be a pioneer in the development of improved and faster
methods of fleet replenishment. To help her achieve this end, she received many alterations and
tried out a great
deal of experimental logistical equipment. The ship again visited Vietnamese waters
in March 1965 and, for a bit over three
and one-half years thereafter, devoted most of her efforts to supporting American warships fighting aggression
there. She left that war-torn country
for the last time on 19 April 1969 and headed-via Sasebo, Japan-for home.
Aludra arrived at Oakland on 11 May and, a month later, began preparations for
inactivation. Decommissioned on 12 September 1969, she was returned to the Maritime
Administration and berthed with the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, California. She was withdrawn from the reserve
fleet on 19 January 1977 for stripping by
the Navy prior to sale. She was sold in November of 1977.
Aludra received one battle star for Korean service and eight engagement stars for her
operations in Vietnam.
[Note: The above USS ALUDRA (AF-55) history may, or may not, contain text provided by crew members of the USS ALUDRA (AF-55), or by other non-crew members, and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]