The USS Diphda (AKA-59) was named for a star in the constellation Cetus. She was commissioned on July 7, 1944 under the command of Lieutenant Commander R. C. Wilson.
Service in World War II
The Diphda originally sailed from Norfolk on August 15, 1944 and set sail for Pearl Harbor. Upon arriving there she was loaded with cargo and left for New Guinea on September 21st. In January of 1945, she left New Guinea for Noemfoor Island to prepare for the Lingayen Gulf invasion. A few weeks later she headed back to Manus to load landing craft to replace the craft unloaded at Lingayen Gulf, and then loaded additional cargo to be transferred to Leyte where she arrived on the 10th of February.
After some time spent doing training exercises in the Philippines, the Diphda set sail in March for the invasion of Okinawa. She was able to immediately unload her cargo upon arrival in April. A little over a week later she left for Pearl Harbor for repairs and overhauling. After a short visit to San Francisco, she returned to Pearl Harbor, bringing ammunition for the base. On August 15th, she sail from San Francisco again, this time headed for Manus and Samar. This time her assignment was to transport Army cargo to Wakanoura Wan, Honshu. Her cargo was meant to support provide support to the Allied occupation of Japan. Upon delivering her shipment she transported servicemen from Okinawa home to Portland Oregon.
After World War II
The next year saw the Diphda serving primarily in the Far East. During this time, her main mission was to transport needed cargo to Guam, China, and Okinawa. Following this she worked under the direction of the Second Arctic Expedition to Point Barrow, Alaska delivering supplies and other needed material. She spent the majority of 1949 and 1950 serving as a transport vessel along the west coast.
Service in the Korean Conflict
After hostilities erupted in Korea, the Diphda was sent to work under the Service Force in the Pacific. Her duties included service as an ammunition ship. During her service there she delivered emergency ammunition to Pusan, Korea and several other ports before returning to port for overhaul.
For the majority of 1952 the Diphda served under the Military Sea Transportation Service performing shuttle runs. She was finally decommissioned on May 11, 1956. She received one battle star for her service during World War II and six battle stars for service in Korea.
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.