The USS FRANCIS MARION (APA-249), a Paul Revere-class attack transport, was commissioned on 6 JUL 1961. Originally built by the by New York Shipbuilding Corp. of Camden, New Jersey as the Prairie Mariner. Prairie Mariner was operated by the Maritime Administration from 25 MAY 1954 to 6 FEB 1955, then placed in reserve. The US Navy acquired her on 16 MAR 1959 and sent Prairie Mariner to the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard in Baltimore, Maryland for conversion to USS FRANCIS MARION (APA-249). After commissioning FRANCIS MARION was homeported in Norfolk, Virginia and began the life cycle of an Atlantic Fleet "Amphib"; deployments to the Caribbean, North Atlantic and the Mediterranean. USS FRANCIS MARION participated in the recovery of Apollo 8. FRANCIS MARION was designated a Reserve Training ship during the last four years of her service career. USS FRANCIS MARION served her country for 18 years, 2 months and 8 days, until decommissioned on 14 SEP 1979. In July 1980 FRANCIS MARION was sold to Spain where she served until 2000.
The USS FRANCIS MARION (APA-249) deployment history and significant events of her service career follow: