The USS Grainger AK-184 was commissioned under the command of Lieutenant Henry J. Johnson on January 26, 1945, and assigned to the Naval Training Center in Miami, Florida. She served there as a school ship, including the training of personnel in ship maintenance and cargo handling. In September the ship was reassigned to the Pacific, where she operated at Saipan, Guam, and Manus Island, among other locations.
Service in the Pacific
The Grainger remained in the Pacific until February 1946, when she returned to the United States. She was decommissioned in Seattle, Washington, on July 25 and given back to the Maritime Commission. On August 15th, the ship’s name was stricken from the Navy List. However, the Grainger was returned to the Navy on May 9, 1947 and recommissioned under the command of Lieutenant Commander Ralph E. Deckwa. Her name was reinstated on the Navy List on June 23. On October 19, she began duty in Guam, supplying the forces on the Marianas and Eastern Caroline Islands. The ship remained there until 1949, returning to Pearl Harbor in April.
The rest of 1949 was spent in Alaska carrying out cargo operations. The Grainger returned to Guam on December 20 to take up supply runs to the Marshall and Marianas Islands. With the start of the Korean War, the ship was given wartime duties supplying aircraft ammunition in the Far East. The Grainger left Guam to join with Task Force 77, but bad weather forced the ship to complete the mission in Sasebo, Japan. While there, she was assigned to Logistics Support Group for the 7th Fleet.
On September 16, 1950, the Grainger supported the Inchon landings and stayed in Inchon Harbor until October 7th, when she returned to Guam to continue making supply runs in the Marianas and Caroline Islands. This continued until March 13, 1951, when the ship was assigned to logistic support to Midway Island and Kwajalein Atoll. Then the Grainger returned to supplying Sasebo and Yokosuka, with a brief voyage to Inchon. The ship earned two battle stars for its Korean War service.
After the War
Throughout1954, the Grainger again supplied Midway and Kwajalein Atoll. In late 1955 the ship went to San Diego for inactivation overhaul, and on February 7, 1956, she was decommissioned and became part of the San Diego Group of the Pacific Reserve Fleet. She remained there until she was disposed of in 1960. Her name was stricken from the Navy List again on April 1, 1960.
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.