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