The Alshain (AKA-55) was commissioned on October 29, 1943 under the command of Commander Roland E. Krause. In May, she traversed the Panama Canal and joined the Pacific Fleet; she arrived in Pearl Harbor in June. Not much later she was ordered to the mainland again to serve as an amphibious training ship. Almost as soon as she reached the states, she was ordered to return to Pearl Harbor to receive supplies and troops for transport to Guam for the invasion.
Service in World War II
She arrived in Guam in July and rapidly unloaded her supplies and left immediately for Pearl Harbor to be supplied again for a mission in Maui. In September, she sailed with a Task Group back to Guam for the invasion of Yap. After being underway she received word that the Yap invasion was canceled and the new objective was Leyte and the Philippines. She arrived in the Philippines on schedule and was able to safely unload her cargo and troops, despite harassment from enemy planes.
In November, she was sent to New Guinea to receive personnel and supplies from the Army Air Service Command for transport, to a predetermined rendezvous area, off the coast of the Schouten Islands to form a new Task Unit there. The Task United then headed to reinforce Allied troops in the Philippines. On the 18th, she and the other vessels in her unit were fired upon by enemy planes. The Alshain returned fire and was able to leave the area with no damage. On January 8, 1945, the Alshain sailed to the South China Sea. She was suddenly attacked by a group of enemy planes. She was once again able to fight off her attackers and leave the area safely.
In April, the Japanese began to strike out against Allied shipping. One Kamikaze plane crashed into one of the Alshain’s sister ships that were anchored a short distance away. The Alshain was able to rescue one injured crewman that was blown off the ship and later retreated to safety undamaged. After the war came to an end she still continued her work as a cargo ship for a while before heading in to port for an extended stay. After the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, she served as a transport vessel there. She was not decommissioned until January 14, 1956. She received five battle stars for her service in World War II.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, some auxiliary vessels also posed 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.