The USS Admiral W.S. Sims was a Benson-class transport that was commissioned in September of 1945, right after the end of World War II. She never had her proper armament or fire equipment installed, as it was canceled because the end of World War II was approaching.
The ship had her shakedown training and made four trips while employed as a Navy Transport. Two of those trips were to Manila, one was to Okinawa, and one would lead her to Inchon before the Korean War. She was decommissioned in June of 1946 and was removed from the Naval Vessel Register in July of 1946.
The ship underwent a conversion into the Army in San Pedro and was finished in August, seeing a civilian crew take her over. She was then renamed to honor an Army General. She would become a peace time transport and continue serving the Army until 1950, when she moved to the MSTS, a branch of the Navy. She retained her name, USNS General William O. Darby, and spent most of her career at this point in transporting duties between West Germany and New York. She was then sent to the Pacific in June of 1953 to help bring back the soldiers that had been in the Korean War. In 1956 she was moved to the Mediterranean Sea as art of the Sixth Fleet. However, she was moved to the Pacific to move troops to Vietnam in 1965. She was put into reserve in 1967.
She again changed designations in 1976, being known only as AP-127. In October of 1981, the ship moved from the James River Fleet and traveled to Norfolk Navy Yard. While here, she served as a barracks ship, being renumbered the IX-510. During this time, she supported aircraft carriers crews as they completed overhauls. She then moved back to the James River Reserve Fleet in 1991. She was removed from the Naval Vessel Register in 1993 and had full Maritime Administration ownership in 1999. She was sent to Texas to be dismantled in 2005.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, auxiliary ships also pose a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common, especially on older ships, because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.