USS Admiral E. W. Eberle (AP-123)
Admiral E. W. Eberle (AP-123) was laid down on 15 February 1943 under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 681) by the Bethlehem Steel Corp., Alameda, California; launched on 14 June 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Earl Warren, the wife of the Governor of California who later became Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court; and acquired by the Navy and commissioned on 24 January 1945, Capt. G. C. Carlstedt, USCG, in command.
The transport was operated by the Naval Transportation Service and manned largely by Coast Guard personnel. On 6 March, she departed San Francisco with troops and supplies bound for New Guinea. She made stops at Finschhafen and Hollandia before dropping anchor at Manus Island on 25 March. While there, a Navy plane crashed into the starboard side of the ship. Both occupants of the plane were killed, and casualties on board Admiral E. W. Eberle numbered one dead and five wounded.
On 26 March, the ship sailed in convoy for the Philippines. After loading troops at Leyte, Admiral E. W. Eberle proceeded to Manila. There, she embarked over 2,000 civilians for transportation to the United States. These passengers were mainly American citizens who had been interned in the Philippines since Japanese forces captured the islands in the spring of 1942. Admiral E. W. Eberle returned to Leyte on 13 April to pick up Army personnel; then sailed, via Ulithi, for the west coast of the United States and reached San Pedro, Calif., on 2 May.
The ship's next voyage took her across the Atlantic to Italy. Arriving at Naples on 4 June, she embarked Army personnel and baggage for transportation to Trinidad. The transport reached Trinidad on 18 June and soon reversed her course, bound for France. At Le Havre, Admiral E. W. Eberle embarked over 4,000 homeward-bound troops whom she put ashore upon her arrival at Norfolk on 6 July.
Admiral E. W. Eberle stood out to sea again on 14 July for another voyage to France. She touched at Marseilles and took on board troops destined for the Philippines. Admiral E. W. Eberle steamed via the Panama Canal and Ulithi, arrived at Luzon on 29 August, debarked part of her passengers, and moved on to Manila. The transport returned to the United States in September and put into Seattle, Washington, for upkeep. Between October 1945 and March 1946, Admiral E. W. Eberle made three voyages to Japan and Korea.
Admiral E. W. Eberle was decommissioned on 8 May 1946 and returned to the Maritime Commission for transfer to the Army. Her name was struck from the Navy list in June 1946. The Army acquired the transport that same month and subsequently renamed her General Simon B. Buckner.
The ship was once again transferred to the Navy on 1 March 1950 and assigned to the Military Sea Transportation Service. The transport steamed across the Pacific throughout the Korean conflict, transporting troops and equipment to Japan and other staging areas. General Simon B. Buckner continued operations in the Pacific until 15 February 1955, when she departed San Francisco, bound for New York.
Upon arrival two weeks later, she was assigned to the New York-Bremerhaven runs. During the next 10 years, General Simon B. Buckner made over 130 Atlantic voyages from New York to Bremerhaven, Southampton, and the Mediterranean.
Departing New York on 11 August 1965, she returned to the west coast, arriving at Long Beach on the 27th to assist in the movement of troops and equipment to southeast Asia. After two cruises to Vietnam, the veteran transport resumed operation in the Atlantic, arriving at New York on 3 December.
During the next eight months, she steamed across the Atlantic 10 times, making stops at Bremerhaven and Southampton. Returning to the west coast in August 1966, General Simon B. Buckner was once again pressed into service to carry war material to Vietnam. She departed San Francisco on 8 September and reached Danang 20 days later. Following her return to San Francisco on 16 October, she continued to support American operations in southeast Asia until President Nixon's Vietnamization program decreased the Navy's need for transports. She was returned to the Maritime Administration on 24 March 1970.