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USS Benevolence

USS Benevolence (AH-13) was built as SS Marine Lion in 1944 by Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Chester, Pennsylvania, under a Maritime Commission contract. 11,141 tons. 520 x 71.6 x 24. 24 knots. Sponsored by Mrs. Daisy Unter; transferred to the United States Navy 31 July 1944; converted to a hospital ship by Todd-Erie Basin Shipyard, Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y.; and commissioned 12 May 1945. Captain C. C. Laws was in command.

World War II

With a bed capacity of 802 and a complement of 564, the Benevolence departed for the Pacific on 27 July 1945 to provide hospital services, consultation, preventive medicine, and casualty evacuation. Receiving battle casualties from the 3rd Fleet during campaigns against Japan.

Post war

Upon VJ Day, Benevolence was with the Allied fleet in Tokyo Harbor during the Surrender of Japan. She anchored off Yokosuka, Japan, 29 August to begin processing liberated Allied prisoners of war where she screened 1520 prisoners of war. She remained in Japanese waters until 27 November 1945 and then returned wounded to the United States, arriving in San Francisco on 12 December 1945. She served as a casualty evacuation ship between Pearl Harbor and San Francisco from December until February 1946 and then underwent an overhaul until 1 April 1946.

She participated in Operation Crossroads at Bikini Atoll in June 1946. She then served as a station hospital ship at Tsingtao, China from 14 October 1946 until 3 March 1947. She returned to San Francisco on 18 March 1947 and commenced inactivation and was placed out of commission in reserve 13 September 1947, attached to the San Francisco Reserve Group.

Sinking

On 25 August 1950 at 5:04 p.m. while returning from sea trials, prior to her assignment to the Military Sea Transportation Service in support of the Korean War effort, Benevolence collided with the freighter SS Mary Luckenbach in heavy fog and sank within 15 minutes off San Francisco. Five hundred and five crew members were rescued and 23 lost their lives.

The Defense Department announced on 31 July 1951 that the vessel was unsalvageable and would be dynamited as a menace to navigation.

Awards

  • Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one battle star
  • World War II Victory Medal
  • Navy Occupation Service Medal with "ASIA" clasp
  • China Service Medal