USS Crescent City 1941-1946
Historic Display aboard the ARTSHIP
The USS Crescent City served as a troop transport and battle vessel during the Second World War. The vessel was moored at the Port of Oakland, CA, under the name ARTSHIP.
USS Crescent City has served in the Second World War, contributing to the final US victory through troop transport, logistics functions, amphibious landings and even hosting an evacuation hospital. The ship's performance in the Asian-Pacific campaign earned her 10 battle stars, a Navy Unit Commendation, and an honored name in US history.
Highlights in the USS Crescent City's Voyage through the War
|1939||Del Orleans is built by the US government and leased to the Delta Steamship Co. of New Orleans; all the materials used to build the ship are of the best quality of the time, prior to any of the war shortages.The ship's design is among the first few to comply with the 1936 safety regulations and efficiency requirements. As such, the ship is a state of the art creation.|
|February 1940||Merchant ship SS Del Orleans, later to become USS Crescent City, is launched at Sparrows Poin, ML. The ship is contracted by the Maritime Commission, as part of President Roosevelt's attempt to revitalize the US Navy. After the advent of the Second World War, the Navy commissions the ship.|
|October 1941||US Navy transforms the ship, the process completed in October.|
|December 1941||Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Crescent City goes to the Pacific on her first mission, carrying men and equipment to Hawaii.|
|Early 1942||The ship participates in strengthening South Pacific defenses, followed by an overhaul in California.|
|August 1942||Crescent City participates in the first landing and invasion of Guadalcanal, destroying four enemy bombers in a one-day attack on August 8.|
|End of 1942-Early 1943||Crescent City participates in achieving Allied victory in the campaign to defend Guadalcanal.|
|February 1943||The ship is reclassified as an attack transport - APA 21.|
|1943||Crescent City performs logistics functions during campaigns at the Solomon Islands chain and into the Bismarcks.|
|March 1944||Crescent City takes part in an amphibious landing at Emirau.|
|July, September, October 1944||Crescent City lands troops in Guam, Peleliu and Leyte.|
|End of 1944||Crescent City sails back to the US for overhaul.|
|1945||The ship if refitted for evacuating battle casualties, becoming a temporary hospital evacuation ship and receiving the wounded from Okinawa and other ships.|
|April-June 1945||Crescent City takes part in the Okinawa campaign|
|September-November 1945||The ship transports US and Chinese troops from the Pacific to the Chinese coast, in support of occupation efforts.|
|End of 1945||Crescent City's final task is to bring veterans home.|
|Early 1946||Crescent City is transferred to the Atlantic to operate on training duty.|
|April 1948||The ship is decommissioned at the Pacific coast and carefully preserved in the Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, Sacramento River Estuary, San Francisco Bay area.|
For those who served on the USS Crescent City, the ship is as much a journey through history as it is a journey through life; from 1940-1945, the ship helped to conclude an essential episode in human history, the end of the Second World War, but it also shaped the lives of those serving on her, turning boys into men.
Crescent City Reunion
An aerial photo of USS Crescent City during World War II
Mr. Bill Vormbrock, president of the USS Crescent City Association and Reunion Group, held a speech on behalf of the veterans at ARTSHIP's inauguration arrival on August 7, 1999. “We are here to celebrate the victory of bringing our baby back to life,” he said.
USS Crescent City veterans have reunited a few times in the past, but the largest reunion was in 2000, when well over 200 hundred people attended the 12th Annual Unholy 4 Reunion. During World War II, Crescent City had been part of a group of four ships that greatly contributed to the Allies victory in the Paficic. Veterans from the other three ships, USS President Jackson, USS President Adams, and USS President Hayes, were present at the 2000 reunion, which took place in Oakland CA. The date ARTSHIP was brought back from the Reserve Fleet corresponds to the date of the Guadalcanal attach, which had taken place 57 years before. USS Crescent City had played an important part in ensuring Allied victory then. To find out more about Crescent City and the people who served on it, contact Mr. Vormbrock at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harlan Dupuis: A Creator of the Crescent City Memorial Display
Harlan Dupuis had served on the USS Crescent City from 1944 to 1946, during the Second World War. He finds himself now on the same ship that has given him so many experiences half a century ago.
Mr. Dupuis, 83, is now working with a group of other veterans to create a set of Crescent City displays on the ship. Mr. Dupuis, who now remembers a lot of the good things about being on the Crescent City, says the war brought out the best in him and his companions.
“Every time I go on board, I see the cabins where I stayed, or where other people that I knew stayed, and then I think of them,” Dupuis says.
At the Crescent City reunion 10 years ago, over a 100 people came to share the war time stories, Mr. Dupuis remembers. The most recent reunion took place two years ago on the dock in front of the ARTSHIP, with over 200 veterans from Crescent City and three other ships: the USS President Jackson, USS President Hayes and USS President Adams. The four ships had been known in the war as the "Un-holy Four," a group of amphibious troop transport and combat vessels that greatly contributed to the final war victory. Crescent City and the other ships received Navy Unit Commendations for their outstanding role.
The first in the series of Crescent City displays to take place on the ship itself, Mr. Dupuis explains, will illustrate what the ship was, through a large image of the ship, factual information and a welcoming message from the president of the ship's Association and Reunion Group, Bill Vormbrock.
Mr. Dupuis has been the convener and a main initiator of the display project. He has been actively working on the ship, and has single-handedly painted and repaired the ceiling of the exhibit space. Together with ARTSHIP Board member TheArthur Wright, Mr. Dupuis has set up lights for the exhibit.
“I am enjoying working on the ship,” Mr. Dupuis says, “having been associated with ships for so long and having so many memories of this one.”
Mr. Dupuis started off as division officer on the Crescent City in 1994, and then became a beach master, in charge of coordinating the unloading of troops and equipment from landing craft on beaches in the Pacific. After that, Mr. Dupuis was first lieutenant, navigator and then got as far as becoming executive officer, the number two man on the ship, in 1945.
During the time Mr. Dupuis served on the Crescent City, the ship participated in battle campaigns at Guam, Peleliu, Leyte and Okinawa, receiving ten battle stars for participating in the Asiatic-Pacific.
The second Crescent City display on the ARTSHIP will feature a map of all the ship's journeys, what she did and how it influenced the war. Other Crescent City displays will follow, presenting facets of the ship's history.
Photos below by Heath Winer