History of the USS Henrico

(Courtesy USS Henrico Reunion Association)

HENRICO (APA-45), originally Sea Darter, was launched 31 March 1943 under Maritime Commission contract by Ingalls Shipbuilding Co., Pascagoula, Mississippi, sponsored by Mrs. W. D. Pelan. She was acquired by the US Navy 23 June 1943, and commissioned the next day for transfer to her conversion yard, Bethlehem Steel Co., Hoboken, New Jersey. The ship was decommissioned 8 July 1943, converted into AP-90 and recommissioned 26 November 1943, Commander J. H. Willis in command.

Ship’s statistics —

  • Class: Bayfield
  • Displacement: 8,100 tons
  • Length: 492′
  • Beam: 74′ 6″
  • Draft: 26′ 6″
  • Speed: 18 knots
  • Officers and Crew: 479
  • Armament: two 5-inch, eight 40mm and twelve 20mm gun

After a career of exemplary service, the “Happy Hank” was decommissioned 14 February 1968 and placed in reserve. She was ultimately disposed of in October 1979 by the Maritime Administration (MARAD), US Department of Transportation.

HENRICO earned a total of sixteen battle stars — three for World War II service, nine for Korean War service and four for Vietnam. She won a Navy Unit Commendation in Korea.2

Click on the links below to read about her part in writing naval history.

World War II Korean War Vietnam War
Cold War Retirement Learn More

Sources —

1, 2 Sea Classics Magazine, March 1998.

Most of the above material is sourced from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Naval History Division, Washington, DC. Other material has been obtained with the assistance of members of the USS Henrico Reunion Association.

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