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AS-21 Antaeus
AG-67 Antaeus
AH-18 Rescue

St. John was built in 1932 by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co. Newport News, Va.in 1932, and operated as the passenger liner Saint John by the Eastern Steam Ship Co.

The commercial passenger steamer Saint John was acquired by the Navy on 24 April 1941; renamed Antaeus (AS-21), a 5,975-ton submarine tender: and commissioned on 17 May 1941 during conversion. Following her commissioning, the submarine tender operated in the Caribbean. She took part in training exercises and made repairs to the American submarines patrolling in those waters. As a submarine tender she operated primarily in the Caribbean, participating in training exercises and supporting U.S. submarine operating there.

In September 1942 she began to perform duties as a troop transport operating along the East Coast between the Caribbean and Newfoundland, and in September 1943 her classification was changed to AG-67 to reflect these revised duties.

Antaeus entered the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N.Y., on 28 December 1944. There, she underwent conversion to a hospital ship. On 18 January 1945, the vessel was renamed Rescue and redesignated (AH-18). She completed conversion in March and arrived off Okinawa in June 1945. She embarked wounded personnel there during nearly constant Japanese air attacks and delivered them to Guam. In July she supported carrier groups conducting strikes against Japan by receiving casualties by highline transfer while underway. In August she accompanied the fleet into Tokyo Bay and began helping in the recovery of Allied prisoners of war. Rescue departed Japan in September 1945 and, after a stop at Guam, returned to San Francisco, California. She was decommissioned and transferred to the Maritime Commission in June 1946 and was stricken from the Navy Register in August.

The ship returned to mercantile service later in 1946 as S.S. Saint John and was sold for scrapping in 1958.



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Page last modified: 22-07-2011 17:34:49 ZULU