President Adams (AP38), built under a Maritime Commission contract, was laid down as MC hull 57 on 6 June 1940, launched on 31 January 1941, and delivered to the Navy on 5 June 1941. She was converted by the Norfolk Navy Yard and commissioned on 19 November 1941.
Stripped for war service with the entry of the United States into World War II, President Adams fired her guns against the enemy (a U-boat) for the first time on Christmas Day. Following the encounter, she continued her shakedown exercises then steamed to the Pacific and trained troops off California as she readied for her first amphibious operation.
In June 1942, she embarked the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines and got underway on 1 July for the south Pacific. Between 7 and 9 August, her LCMs and LCVPs landed the marines in the Guadalcanal-Tulagi area. Retiring from the area, the converted liner carried casualties to Samoa where she began bringing in reinforcements. For six months she transported fresh troops and equipment to, and brought out wounded from, Guadalcanal.
Organized resistance on Guadalcanal ceased on 9 February but the campaign for the Solomons was not over. President Adams, redesignated APA19 (effective 1 February), continued to carry men and equipment to and from the embattled islands of the south Pacific, escaping serious damage from numerous Japanese air attacks. During March and April she trained assault troops in New Zealand then transported men and materiel from there, and from Australia, to Guadalcanal, whence she steamed with Army forces for Rendova. Landing those troops on 30 June, she took on survivors from McCawley on 1 July and sailed to Noumea. From New Caledonia, President Adams returned to New Zealand, underwent an abbreviated overhaul, then resumed transporting men and equipment to the Solomons and training assault troops for amphibious operations - this time for Bougainville. On 1 November, after bombarding the beaches at Torokina Point, she landed the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, at Empress Augusta Bay. During the next six months, President Adams returned to Bougainville three times with reinforcements; carried Army Engineers to Emirau; transported two groups of Army reinforcements to Cape Gloucester on New Britain; and then prepared for action in the Marianas.
In June, 1944, she steamed to Kwajalein then to Saipan where, as a floating reserve, she stood by to the east of the island as the Battle of the Philippine Sea raged to the west. With the postponement of the assault on Guam and her troops not needed on Saipan, she steamed to Eniwetok where she remained until 17 July. On the 21st, she stood off Guam as that operation got underway and, during the next five days, unloaded men and equipment, sent supplies and provisions, including hot food, to the beaches and took on casualties for evacuation to Pearl Harbor and the west coast. By 16 October, having undergone overhaul, President Adams embarked construction equipment at Port Hueneme and Sea Bee personnel at San Francisco and sailed for Manus. Thence she returned to New Caledonia where she took on Army infantrymen for transportation west to the assault beaches on Lingayen Gulf, Luzon.
1945 - 1946
President Adams landed “passengers” and cargo from 1112 January then retired to Leyte, discharging casualties from Lingayen, then she sailed back to Guam whence she carried Marine Corps units to Iwo Jima, landing them on 19 February. During the next ten days she stood off the beaches, unloading cargo, receiving casualties, provisioning and repairing small boats. After retiring to Saipan, President Adams continued on to Noumea whence she carried Army personnel to Leyte, and then, for the next two months, she ferried troops from New Guinea to the Philippines. On 17 July she got underway for the United States. Emerging from overhaul at Portland, OR after the cessation of hostilities, President Adams commenced moving occupation troops to the Far East and returning veterans to the United States. After the initial post-war transport assignments, she carried dependents to occupied zones and transported military personnel and equipment to ports in Japan, China and the Philippines.
On 7 March she departed the west coast for Norfolk. Arriving on the 24th, she commenced cargo and passenger runs between the east coast and the Caribbean.
Designated for inactivation in October 1949, she completed her last Caribbean run to Port au Prince, Trinidad, and Coco Solo from 19 January through 2 February 1950. On 8 February departed Norfolk for the west coast. On 2 March she arrived at San Francisco where she decommissioned on 14 June 1950 and joined the Pacific Reserve Fleet.
Remained berthed at San Francisco until struck from the Navy List on 1 October, then transferred to the Maritime Administration’s National Defense Reserve Fleet and berthed at Suisun Bay, CA through 1970.
These specifications and ship histories are adapted from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (US Naval Historical Center) and from various other sources. These summaries may not reflect the most recent information concerning the ships' status or operations. If you find an error or discrepancy, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our online crossing submission form.