CSSN Gerald Scandrett Navy

CSSN Gerald Scandrett Navy

USS Henderson (AP-1)

    The first USS Henderson (AP-1) was a transport in the United States Navy during World War I and World War II. In 1943, she was converted to a hospital ship and commissioned as USS Bountiful (AH-9).

    Named for Marine General Archibald Henderson, she was launched by Philadelphia Navy Yard on 17 June 1916; sponsored by Miss Genevieve W. Taylor, great-granddaughter of General Henderson; and commissioned at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 24 May 1917, Lt. C. W. Steel in command.

    World War II, 1941–1943

    Henderson had left Pearl Harbor to transport troops to California not long before the Japanese attack on 7 December 1941. On hearing of the attack, the captain feared that the Japanese flotilla would continue on to California, having eliminated any opposition from Hawaii. Henderson would be a slow, conspicuous, and solitary target in their path. He set course for Alaska to avoid being overcome, maintaining strict radio silence even in the face of repeated attempts by the Navy to contact the ship and verify its survival. Henderson then hugged the Pacific Northwest coast down to San Francisco Bay, arriving several days after it had been presumed missing in action. During the Pacific War, Henderson continued its service as a transport between California and Hawaii, making over 20 such voyages with fighting men, civilian passengers, and cargo. On her last voyage she departed Port Hueneme on 18 July 1943 and arrived Nouméa with 71 much-needed nurses. The transport then sailed to the Solomon Islands with SeaBees before returning to San Francisco on 24 September 1943.

    Henderson decommissioned on 13 October 1943 for conversion to a hospital ship at General Engineering & Dry Dock Company, Oakland, California.

    Hospital ship, 1944–1946

    The ship was recommissioned as USS Bountiful (AH-9) on 23 March 1944, Comdr. G. L. Burns in command.

    Bountiful departed San Francisco on 1 April 1944 for Honolulu, returned later that month, and sailed once more on 1 May for the western Pacific. After brief service at Honolulu and Eniwetok the ship arrived on 18 June at the Saipan invasion beaches. She made three passages to the hospitals on Kwajalein with casualties of the Marianas invasions. About this time Bountiful established one of the few blood banks in a Naval ship.

    The floating hospital remained at Manus until 17 September when she sailed for the Palaus to bring casualties of the Peleliu landing to hospitals in the Solomons. After November Bountiful operated between Leyte and the rear bases carrying veterans of the Philippines campaign. She departed Manus on 24 February 1945 for Ulithi and Saipan to receive casualties of the bitter Iwo Jima assault, and in the next months sailed to rendezvous with the fleet to take on wounded from Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and the fleet units themselves. Returning to Leyte Gulf on 15 June, she remained until 21 July, and then got underway for California. Bountiful arrived after war's end, sailing into San Francisco Bay on 21 August 1945.

    Bountiful was then assigned as hospital ship at Yokosuka, Japan, departing San Francisco 1 November 1945. She arrived on 24 November to support the occupation forces, and remained until 27 March 1946 when she sailed for San Francisco. After delivering her patients, the ship sailed on 26 May for the atomic tests at Bikini Atoll, and after providing medical services during the series of nuclear blasts during "Operation Crossroads", she returned to Seattle on 15 August 1946.

    Decommissioning and sale

    Bountiful decommissioned on 13 September 1946, and was sold for scrap by the Maritime Commission on 28 January 1948 to Consolidated Builders, Inc., Seattle.