The USS General W.A. Mann AP-112, named for William Abram Mann, was a troop transport that served in the U.S. Navy in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. The ship was a P2-type troopship, also called a General John Pope class transport, and was built by the Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co. of Kearny, New Jersey, in 1942–1943. It was commissioned on the date of acquisition, October 13, 1943. Commander Paul S. Maguire was put in command.
Service in World War II and Korea
During the Second World War, the General W.A. Mann operated primarily out of Norfolk, Virginia, routinely transporting troops and supplies to the war front in North Africa, particularly to Casablanca and Oran. In June 1944, she delivered troops from Rio de Janeiro to Naples, followed by a trip to India. She returned to the United States on January 13, 1945, and was later sent to the Pacific, stopping at Manila and Leyte.
After the war ended, she took part in Operation Magic Carpet to return military personnel to the United States, making round trips between Nagasaki and Wakayama in Japan and Seattle. She was transferred to the Military Sea Transport Service in 1949. Soon, though, the General W.A. Mann would be charged with delivering valuable gold and silver bullion from Pusan, Korea, to San Francisco. After that, she sailed across the Atlantic once again, and then to Indochina and back to San Francisco in 1951. Over the next 10 years, she crossed the Pacific many times, occasionally venturing as far north as Alaska.
The General W.A. Mann served during the Cuban Missile Crisis also. In October 1962, the ship sailed from San Diego, California, and headed to the Caribbean with 55,000 pounds of provisions in case the supplies should be needed. When the crisis was over in the Caribbean, the ship returned to the Pacific and continued her important transportation runs from the West Coast to the Far East.
The USS General W. A. Mann was damaged on December 1, 1966, and was subsequently struck from the naval record and transferred to the Maritime Administration. She was placed in the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Hudson River, New York. She was then transferred to the James River Fleet at Fort Eustis, Virginia, in July 1969. On April 10, 1987, she was sold for scrap for the sum of $1,050,050, and scrapped in Taiwan in November of that year.
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 to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.