President Jackson was laid down as MC hull 53 on 2 October 1939, launched on 7 June 1940 and delivered to the American President Lines on 25 October 1940. After two round-the-world trips from New York, President Jackson was acquired by the Navy on 30 June 1941 and commissioned on 16 January 1942.
Following shakedown and practice amphibious assault training on the West Coast, President Jackson sailed for the South Pacific on 1 July as a unit of Transport Division 2. She landed the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, on Florida Island, Solomons on 7 August. At mid-month she evacuated 500 survivors of the “First Battle of Savo Island” to Noumea then began bringing in reinforcements and evacuating casualties of land and sea actions.
Redesignated APA18 on 1 February, President Jackson continued to transport reinforcement troops and cargo in support of the consolidation of the southern Solomons. On 30 June, she landed the 172nd US Army Combat Team and two construction battalion companies on Rendova, then transported survivors of the McCawley (torpedoed by a submarine) to Noumea. Operating with other vessels of TF-31, President Jackson landed elements of the 3rd Marine Division at Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville on 1 November. Seven days later, while enroute back to that island with reinforcements, she was hit by a 550 pound bomb which fortunately did not explode.
On 25 March, President Jackson landed Army, Navy, and Construction Battalion units on Emirau Island and in April, with Transport Division Two, she carried the 40th Division, USA, to New Britain and returned the 1st Marine Division to Russell Island in the Solomons. With TF-53 in July, she landed elements of the 3rd Marine Division on Guam, 21 July, then evacuated casualties to Pearl Harbor and the United States. On 23 October the ship returned to duty with Transport Division 32 in the south and southwest Pacific areas.
1945 - 1949
While operating with TF-77, President Jackson landed elements of the 25th Infantry Division, US Army, in the reinforcement landing at Lingayen Gulf on 11 January. On 21 February, while operating with TF-51, she landed elements of the 3rd Marine Division on Iwo Jima. Exposed to enemy counter-battery fire she was hit once in a barrage of 37mm fire suffering minor damage and casualties. On 6 March she departed Iwo Jima with 515 casualties for Saipan and Noumea. With Army and Navy casualties and miscellaneous passengers aboard, the transport sailed for the United States on 7 May. She got underway from San Francisco on 14 June and completed two round-trips to Manila before the cessation of hostilies which found her in drydock at Seattle. She then entered upon “Magic Carpet” duty. She continued to operate with the Pacific Fleet until 1949 seeing service in both Japan and China.
Post WWII Service -
She was assigned to the Military Sea Transportation Service with her designation changed to T-AP-18 on 22 October 1949.
On 7 February, President Jackson with cabin and troop passengers on board, got underway from San Francisco for Norfolk, arriving on 23 February. She returned to San Francisco on 25 March thereafter making round trips to Manila and Pearl Harbor. With the outbreak of the Korean Conflict, President Jackson reported to the Commander, Amphibious Force, Pacific Fleet for operational control. Loading troops and equipment of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Division at San Diego, she sailed on 14 August for Japan arriving at Kobe on 29 August to prepare for the invasion at Inchon. Departing Kobe on 11 September with vessels of TG-90.2, she unloaded on the assault beaches of Inchon, served as a casualty receiving ship, then evacuated the casualties to Yokohama and San Francisco. On 12 October, President Jackson sailed from San Diego carrying miscellaneous cargo for Japan. Returning to San Francisco, she subsequently called at Seattle, Alaska, Japan, and Korea.
After another run to Alaska in April 1952, President Jackson departed San Francisco for Pago Pago to transport dependents from Pago Pago to Pearl Harbor, returning to San Francisco in August.
During 1953 she operated between San Francisco, Alaska, and Pearl Harbor.
Carrying a full load of passengers and cargo for Yokohama, Japan, President Jackson got underway from San Francisco on 25 January returning on 23 February. After two roundtrips to Pearl Harbor, she departed for Alaska again on 20 April with various units of the 30th Engineers Base Topographic Battalion, returning to San Francisco on 14 May before making a second voyage to Alaska ending at San Francisco on 5 June. On 11 June, President Jackson got underway for Yokohama carrying a full load of dependents and a small number of troop passengers, returning to San Francisco on 8 July with passengers and cargo. On 28 December, she shifted to Todd Shipyard, Alameda, CA for phase one of inactivation.
She was placed out of commission and in reserve, berthed at San Francisco, on 6 July 1955.
She was struck from the Navy List and transferred to the Maritime Commission on 1 October 1958.
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.