Laid down by the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company under a Maritime Commission contract on September 22, 1942, the Andromeda was launched on December 22, 1942. Mrs. Janet Roper sponsored the ship. On February 1, 1943, the she ship was reclassified and re-designated the Andromeda as an attack cargo ship, AKA-15. Delivered to the Navy on March 30, 1943, the USS Andromeda AKA-15 received commissioning on April 2, 1943.
Action in World War II
Her late April maiden voyage brought her from New York to Norfolk, Virginia. From there, she took part in shakedown training in the Chesapeake Bay until June, when she cruised for the Mediterranean. She assisted in training off Algeria until July 5, 1943 when she headed to Sicily with Task Force (TF) 85. Troops came ashore Sicily during the night of July 10, which the Andromeda spent the following two days supporting by unloading her cargo. She departed on July 12 with Ancon (AGC-4), an escort of nine destroyers and ten other ships.
She stayed in service transporting equipment and troops from Oran, Algeria, to points around the Mediterranean from July 1943 to the end of November 1943. She then set out with a convoy for the United Kingdom. By December 18, she was headed to Norfolk, Virginia for an overhaul. Freshly loaded in New York and sent across the Atlantic, she docked in Newport, Wales on March 9, 1944.
She continued missions shuttling reinforcements and supplies back and forth across the Mediterranean from Oran, Algeria, until October 25, 1944 when she headed to the United States. After a month of repairs, she headed for the Pacific Ocean and arrived in Pearl Harbor on January 15, 1945. When loaded, she began the voyage to the Solomon Islands.
The Andromeda spent five weeks in the Solomons and then transported cargo to other islands in the region. On L-day, she was in the transport zone off Okinawa, taking part as one of the support ships. She did her part defending general headquarters and then, on April 24, 1944, she was back in Pearl Harbor reloading. She continued these cargo and personnel ferrying in the Pacific Ocean from the end of World War II and on to the Korean War.
After the war
Finally, on 1 May 1956, she received her decommissioning at San Diego. The Navy removed her from commission on July 1, 1960. She was then sold to the Marine Power & Equipment Co., of Seattle, Washington, on March 12, 1971.The USS Andromeda AKA-15 earned five battle stars for her service in World War II and five more battle stars for the Korean War.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, cargo 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.