We went to Japan in July 1957 on the USS Breckenridge and, as teenagers, had a blast running from stem to stern, bridge to bilges, and port to starboard. Got seasick only for the first half day.

Walked our cocker spaniel on the fantail every day. Entered the domain of the golden dragon when we crossed the international dateline with suitable initiation by Poseiden and his court.

Below are two photos of the Breckinridge from naval archives ((I did not take them). Anybody else go over or back via ship?

Brett Ratcliffe

Click On Pictures to Enlarge

Japanese Dancers welcoming the Ship Yokohama Ship passing by Alatraz, San Francisco Bay, 1951

General J. C. Breckinridge (AP-176) was launched 18 March 1945 by the Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. of Kearny, N.J.; sponsored by Mrs. Dorothy T. Breckinridge; and commissioned 30 June 1945 at Bayonne, N.J., Capt. H. S. Berdine, USCG, commanding.

Operated under the Coast Guard, General J. C. Breckinridge was commissioned too late to take an active part in the fighting in Europe, but after shakedown in July and August 1945 proceeded to Marseilles. Arriving there 14 August, she loaded ove r 5,000 troops and their equipment and proceeded to Manila. Word of the surrender of Japan came next day, however, and General J. C. Breckinridge proceeded to New York, where she unloaded her troops 24 August.

During the next 4 months, the transport made four more voyages, three to Marseilles and one to Le Havre, bringing home American troops and their supplies. At Marseilles 18 November, she had the honor of embarking the 2 millionth American veteran to be taken home from Europe since VE day. Arriving at Boston 26 November, she was soon underway for California, via the Panama Canal, and duty in the Pacific.

General J. C. Breckinridge arrived at San Francisco 20 January 1946, where a Navy crew took over 10 February. She departed San Francisco 25 February on one of five trips to the western Pacific in which she carried troops and cargo to and from S aipan, Guam, Shanghai, China, and Tsingtao. Departing Taku, China, on the last of these voyages 4 September 1946, she transited the Panama Canal and arrived 3 October at Philadelphia. At the shipyard General J. C. Breckinridge underwent co nversion into a dependent transport, with modern nursery, kitchen, and medical facilities for dependents of military men.

Following completion of conversion, the ship again took up her Pacific schedule, leaving Philadelphia 11 January 1947 via the Panama Canal for San Francisco and Pacific ports. For the next 2 1/2 years, the transport was a regular visitor at Pea rl Harbor, Guam, Shanghai, Okinawa, Tsingtao, Manila, and other cities of the Pacific, transporting military and civilian passengers. In June 1947 she carried convicted Japanese war criminals from Manila to Japan, and from time to time performed missions of mercy and conducted underway training exercises. During this time General J. C. Breckinridge spent almost 80 percent of her time underway in support of America's farflung installations in the Pacific.

General J. C. Breckinridge was transferred to the Military Sea Transportation Service 1 October 1949 and sailed thereafter with a Navy captain and crew as T-AP-176. She made one more trip to the Pacific in November 1949, after which she sailed to New York to transport dependents to San Francisco. At the outbreak of the Korean war 30 June 1950 the ship returned to San Francisco 19 July, and put in at Mare Island Shipyard for conversion to a troop transport.

Ready for duty as a troop transport, General J. C. Breckinridge carried fresh troops from Seattle to Yokosuka, arriving 14 August 1950, and from there stopped at Pusan, Korea, to return a load of casualties to Yokohama. The transport started to return to San Francisco, but was called back to participate in the pivotal Inchon amphibious landing. Arriving there with troops the day after the assault, the transport helped support the landing and consolidate the gains made.

After returning to San Francisco, arriving 7 October, General J. C. Breekinridge again sailed for Japan, and arrived at Sasebo 14 November. She immediately was dispatched with other available transports to Wonsan, where she assisted in t he evacuation of troops at that port 22 November. After taking troops and casualties to Japan, "Breckinridge" returned to Korea, this time to help in the evacuation of Hungnam 15 December. The hardworking transport made two more troop voyages dur ing the actual fighting in Korea.

Subsequent to the Korean War, General J. C. Breckinridge has again been active as an MSTS transport carrying military and civilian passengers on a regular schedule of visits to Pacific ports - the already familiar Guam, Yokosuka, Okinawa, and In chon, as well as Adak, Alaska, and Midway Island. She operated out of San Francisco on this duty until returned to the Maritime Administration and placed In the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, Calif., 1 December 1966.

General J. C. Breckinridge received four battle stars for Korean conflict service.

Ship pictures are from the Naval Archives and furnished here by Brett Ratcliffe.

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This Candid Picture Page was created on 15 FEB 2006