"The Army was operating about this time some fifteen ocean-going vessels -- eight combination troop transports, which carried some cargo, and seven freighters, some of the latter under long-term charter. Two of its transports were over thirty years old, former German internees from World War I; all were more or less makeshift converts to military use; some were so nearly unseaworthy that the Department of Commerce had raised objections to their continued operation. The small and shoddy fleet was fully occupied in late 1940 in supporting the existing overseas garrisons." Yet some were pleasent passenger liners for moving dependents to and from the far east. - edThere wasn't enough transport (among other problems) to support an invasion of Vichy French Martinique that appeared to be building as an Axis base in our own belly! Shipping worldwide was in critical short supply. One critical need bled shipping from another and some efforts had to simply wait. Meanwhile the U-boats were taking their toll.
Accepting the awareness that it is all virtually gone should make the Army no less proud of the fact that the vessel fleet existed on the scale it did. But the Army does not seem proud; indeed it does not care. Research efforts in behalf of this book were repeatedly greeted with disinterest by the higher echelons of Army history and public affairs offices
Let us hope that military historians eventually will rediscover the reality that the largest armada of World War II vessels belonged to the United States Army. While the surviving vessels and crew members are still with us, much more needs to be done to preserve the outstanding record of that fleet of vessels and the men who sailed in them.
|S.S.||Steam Ship, civilian|
|U.S.S.||Ship commissioned into the US Navy|
|U.S.A.T.||Ship commissioned into the US Army|
|U.S.N.S.||Ship controled by Military Sea Transport Service (MSTS)|
|Now, Military Sealift Command|