- USS Briareus (AR-12)
USS "Briareus", originally laid down as the "Hawaiian Planter" was a cargo ship built in 1941 at
Newport News, Virginia, by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Companyfor the Matson Line. She was purchased by the Navy on 16 February 1943and renamed "Briareus", then designated a repair shipAR-12. She was converted to naval service by the Bethlehem Steel Companyat Brooklyn, New Yorkand commissioned on 15 November 1943with CommanderJohn F. Warris in command.
She conducted her shakedown cruise during the middle of December and then put into
Norfolk, Virginia, on the 20th. "Briareus" remained in Norfolk until 3 January 1944at which time she put to sea for the Panama Canal. The repair ship arrived in Cristobal, Canal Zone, on 8 Januaryand transited the canal on the 9th. She continued her voyage west that same day. The ship entered Pearl Harboron 23 January. There, she began repair work and, over the following month, made repairs on 18 ships. On 25 February, "Briareus" stood out of Pearl Harbor on her way to the southwestern Pacific. She made port at Espiritu Santoin the New Hebrideson 11 March. There, she relieved USS|Dixie|AD-14 as senior repair ship. During the six months that "Briareus" spent at Espiritu Santo, she made a variety of repairs on a wide assortment of ships ranging in size from landing craftto the battleship USS|California|BB-44.
Leaving USS|Aristaeus|ARB-1 in charge of the repair work at Espiritu Santo, "Briareus" left the New Hebrides on
22 September. The ship arrived at Manus in the Admiralty Islandson 26 Septemberand reported for duty to the Commander, Service Squadron (ServRon) 10. At Manus, the repair ship worked preparing damaged ships of all varieties for the upcoming invasion of the Philippinesat Leyte. In addition, she made temporary repairs on some more badly damaged ships that had to return to the more extensive repair facilities in the United States. Early in November while "Briareus" was still at Manus, the ammunition ship USS|Mount Hood|AE-11 exploded in the harbor. "Briareus", some seven miles distant at the time, suffered no damage, but three of her crewmen detailed to ammunition delivery, disappeared in the disaster. The repair ship spent much of the remainder of November repairing motor minesweepers (YMS) damaged by fragments in the explosion.
She resumed her normal duties in December 1944 and January 1945 but in February orders sent her to a new location. On
18 February, the ship stood out of Seeadler Harborand shaped a course for the Solomon Islands. She arrived in the harbor at Florida Island, located across Ironbottom Soundand Sealark Channelfrom Guadalcanal, on 21 February1945. At Port Purvis, she concentrated almost entirely upon the repair of tank landing ships (LST). "Briareus" remained at Purvis Bayonly about three weeks. On 15 March, she got underway for the New Hebrides. The repair ship's stay at Espiritu Santo to perform repairs on a force of transports and attack cargo ships proved even briefer than her sojourn in the Solomons. On 1 April, she headed back to Manus in the Admiralty Islands. En route, however, her destination was changed to Ulithi Atollin the Western Carolines. "Briareus" arrived in the lagoonat Ulithi later that month and began repairing ships damaged in the Okinawacampaign as well as many damaged by storms off the southern coasts of the Japanese home islands.
The repair ship remained at Ulithi until
3 Julywhen she received orders to, and got underway for, Leyte in the Philippines. She reported for duty to Commander, ServRon 10, at Leyteon 5 July. Originally, she was slated to perform repairs on ships staging for the invasion of Japan, and she spent the rest of July working on transports and amphibious craft, but the imminence of the Japanese capitulation, however, caused a shift of emphasis to the minecraft necessary to sweep in advance of the occupation forces. She also made voyage repairs on ships headed back to the United States. "Briareus" remained at Leyte until 14 Septemberwhen she got underway for Okinawa. The repair ship arrived in Buckner Bayon the 18th and resumed repair duty. The Okinawa assignment lasted until December when she headed back to the United States. By early 1946, the ship was in Norfolk, Virginia, assigned to the Service Force, Atlantic Fleet. On 20 May1946, "Briareus" reported to the Commander, Norfolk Group, 16th (Atlantic Reserve) Fleet, to begin inactivation. Decommissioned on 15 October1946, she was berthed at Norfolk.
"Briareus" was brought out of reserve and was recommissioned at Norfolk on
22 September 1951with Captain W. J. O’Brien in command. The ship conducted sea trials out of Norfolk on 23 October. Returning to port that same day, she remained at Norfolk until 13 Novemberwhen she got underway for Boston, Massachusetts. "Briareus" arrived at her destination on 15 Novemberand entered the Boston Naval Shipyardfor two months of repairs. On 24 January 1952, the repair ship headed back to Norfolk where she began an assignment of just over three years with the Service Force, Atlantic Fleet. In addition to her repair work in Norfolk, she pursued the routine of periodic fleet and single-ship exercises in the Virginia capes operating area. She also served briefly at such ports as Charleston in South Carolinaand Port Evergladesand Mayportin Florida.
26 May 1955, Briareus entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyardfor an overhaul. On 9 September 1955, she was decommissioned and berthed once more with the Norfolk Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet, which she served as an accommodation and depot ship. That occupation continued until 7 June 1972at which time she was transferred to the Maritime Administrationfor lay up in its James River Group, National Defense Reserve Fleet. She was surveyed late in 1976, and her name was struck from the Navy List on 1 January 1977. Early in December 1980, she was sold to the Jacobson Metal Companyin Chesapeake, Virginia, for scrapping.
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