S.S. AMERICA, S.S. UNITED STATES sailing on the 'All American' team to Europe

U.S.S WEST POINT

 “It was a great ship; there was just something about it. Everybody loved it. The crew loved it, and the troops and passengers seemed to love it too. It was the kind of ship you could say that you were glad you were aboard that one. That’s the kind of ship it was.”   John Daniel, Carpenter’s Mate

THE S.S.AMERICA GOES TO WAR.

West Point

On May 28, 1942 the America received her “draft notice.” and ordered to the shipyard at Newport News for conversion to a troopship. There was no time to gently remove the interior furnishing. Barges were brought alongside and the fine furnishings were tossed overboard.  The color scheme was changed to Navy gray which quickly led to a new nickname, “The Grey Ghost.”

The luxury liner designed for 1,049 passengers would at times sail with over 8,000 GI’s. Comfortable suites for 2 now slept 36. The ballroom was fitted with bunks for 545 men. It was a tight fit. Narrow canvas-covered pipe-framed bunks stacked up to five high, provided a bare sixteen inches from the bunk above. Horizontally, they were so close there was hardly room to walk between them. From 1941 to 1946 the West Point completed 151 sailings totaling 436,144 nautical miles. During the fifty-six months of war service she transported 505,020 passengers, never loosing one, a record for an American transport ship.

 

THE SHIP

 

The USS WEST POINT

The USS WEST POINT (HR-706) is shown in stream moving toward Pier 8, HRPE. This vessel came from Naples, Italy, and transported 7,728 troops (732 officers, 6,992 enlisted men, and 4 civilians)….The Library of Virginia

 

 
From America to West Point

U.S.S. West Point, the Navy's largest transport

 

THE CREW

Photo from the Ken Johnson collection

Henry T. Wildman, motor machinist 2nd class

Read the ship's paper......THE POINTER

Ken Johnson...Remembering the West Point
Where are they now ?
THE PASSENGERS
Two

Photo, the LIBRARY OF VIRGINIA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leonard Smith sails to Casablanca - GI class

Sailing- Prisoner class

Red Skelton entertains the troops and crew

You Tube Remembering the West Point

Click on pic to enlarge

 

 

 

Enlisted mens mess on HR236
Enlisted mens mess on HR236
Chow time in the former First Class Dining room.Not quite the same dining experience as on the America. Moving down the chow line, each man loaded his mess kit then moved one of the long narrow tables. The meal was consumed standing up on a deck that was often slippery from spilled or ‘lost’ meals. No one lingered; shoved down the table and out the door as on a crowded bus. The final step, washing the mess kit, took place in the former first class foyer where large garbage cans filled with boiling soapy water served as mess kits washtubs. The smell of spilled food, combined with the stench of the boiling soapy brine was nauseating.
Officers Mess on USS WEST POINT

Officers Mess on USS WEST POINT Library of Virginia collection

Officers eating in Officers Mess Library of Virginia

Officers eating in Officers Mess Library of Virginia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1st Lt. Chetlain Sigman
1st Lt. Chetlain Sigman
The West Point’s capacity went from a prewar count of 1,202 passengers to a troop ship capacity of 8,765. Packed into this tight space each man had an interval between bunks of 16 inches, however, the cloth frequently sagged so that turning or sleeping on one’s side was out of the question. Into each of these tight spaces each GI had to make room for himself, his equipment and life jacket. Horizontally, the rows of bunks were so close that there was hardly room to walk between them.1st Lt. Chetlain Sigman, photo Library of Virginia.

Troops, Tank Destroyer Casuals, in quarters after debarkation on USS WEST POINT, AP-23, HR-236, on day before ship sailed from Pier 5, Newport News. Fourth from left, Private Sampson Two Shields, 37545262 (Sioux Indian), home: Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Library of Virginia

west point2 log
OVERALL VIEW OF THE GANGPLANK DURING DEBARKATION OF THE USS WEST POINT (HR-997), S/S, PIER 8, HRPE. THIS VESSEL LEFT LE HAVRE, FRANCE, 16 OCT 45, TRANSPORTING 689 OFFICERS, 7,033 ENLISTED MEN, AND 1 CIVILIAN, TOTALLING 7,723.

OVERALL VIEW OF THE GANGPLANK DURING DEBARKATION OF THE USS WEST POINT (HR-997), S/S, PIER 8, HRPE. THIS VESSEL LEFT LE HAVRE, FRANCE, 16 OCT 45, TRANSPORTING 689 OFFICERS, 7,033 ENLISTED MEN, AND 1 CIVILIAN, TOTALLING 7,723.

Men of the 85th Division get first glimpse of homeland from deck of the USS WEST POINT (HR-706) at Pier 8, HRPE, Newport News, Virginia. Library of Virginia

Men of the 85th Division get first glimpse of homeland from deck of the USS WEST POINT (HR-706) at Pier 8, HRPE, Newport News, Virginia.
Library of Virginia

Troops are shown aboard the USS WEST POINT HR706 Library of Virginia

Troops are shown aboard the USS WEST POINT HR706
Library of Virginia

 

WEST-POINT-DANCE-3.13

WHERE TO NEXT ?

]