The USS Warrick AKA-89 was an Andromeda-class attack cargo ship launched in May of 1944 and named in honor of Warrick County, Indiana. Originally named Black Prince, theWarrick was constructed by the Moore Dry Dock Company of Oakland, California. Sponsored by Mrs. C. Wells Marin for her launching in the spring of 1944, the Warrick was commissioned in August with Lt. Cmdr. Ernest J. Grey in command.
Service in World War II
Following a two week shakedown in the waters off San Pedro, California, the Warrick was involved in practice landings at San Clemente Island prior to undergoing additional alterations around mid-October. Stocked with cargo taken on at Wilmington, the Warrick left for the Admiralties in late October. For the next two months she was busy off loading and loading cargo and Army equipment and by the end of the month joined the Task Group 77.9. Sailing toward the island of Luzon in the Philippines, she arrived about 48 hours after the arrival of the first troops commanded by General Douglas MacArthur. Departing the Philippines on January 19th, she sailed toward the Carolines, loading cargo and embarking troops over the next several weeks before heading toward Iwo Jima in mid-February.
As part of the Joint Expeditionary Force Reserve, the Warrick participated in the attack on Iwo Jima, starting unloading operations five days after her initial arrival. Unfavorable beach conditions made unloading her cargo challenging, but the Warrick completed her task and sailed toward the Marianas and onto the Solomon Islands. Until mid-August, the Warrick continued her support duties of transporting cargo and troops to and from the Philippines, Manus and New Caledonia, eventually winding up in New Guinea in mid-August at the end of the conflict in the Pacific Theatre.
Service in the Korean Conflict
The Warrick was assigned to the Far East and western Pacific between the end of World War II and the start of the Korean War. She played a vital role in Operation Magic Carpet which helped to return discharged servicemen from all branches of the military back to the U.S. mainland. In June 1950, she received orders to report to Oakland to load cargo as fleet issue ship for the Western Pacific, sailing immediately thereafter for Far Eastern waters. She received a “well done” commendation for completing her rounds of issuing stores to various destroyers in the region. The Warrick operated the same routine in the Western Pacific for the next four years.
Placed in reserve at Astoria, Oregon in 1957, the Warrick was decommissioned in December of that year. Struck from the Register of Naval Vessels in 1961, she was reacquired by the Navy in 1971 for use as a target ship and sunk by attack submarine Trigger off Cape Flattery, Washington.
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.