Last Known Activity|
The USS American Legion and was a Commercial Cargo ship which had been designed as a troop carrier for WW1 but never used fot that. It as acquired by the Navy and classified as a transport, AP-35. She was placed in commission on the afternoon of 26 August 1941. The very day Joseph Lorbietzki, checked onboard.
Transfer to Pacific Theater
On 9 April 1942, American Legion sailed from New York for the Panama Canal Zone, bound, ultimately, for Tongatapu, in the Tonga, or Friendly Islands, which she reached on 8 May 1942. There she disembarked her passengers — Army officers, nurses, and enlisted men who were to establish a field hospital on Tongatapu — and proceeded on to Wellington, New Zealand, arriving there on 29 May. American Legion remained at Wellington through mid-July, earmarked for participation in the United States' first offensive landing operation in the Pacific War — the invasion of Guadalcanal, in the Solomons.
Invasion of Guadalcanal
Assigned to Task Group "X-ray", ten attack transports and five attack cargo ships, American Legion proceeded thence to the Solomon Islands. On the morning of 7 August 1942, she went to general quarters at 05:45 and manned "ship to shore" stations fifteen minutes later. At 06:14, attending cruisers and destroyers opened fire on the beachheads, softening up the beaches for the impending landing. American Legion and USS Fuller (AP-14) soon landed the first troops to go ashore on Guadalcanal.That afternoon, while the landings proceeded apace, American Legion joined in the antiaircraft barrage that repelled the initial Japanese air attacks on the invasion fleet, as she did the next day. Discharging cargo at "Red" Beach on the morning of 8 August.
Over the next several months, American Legion carried out a series of supply runs, including as ports of call Guadalcanal;Tulagi; Auckland, New Zealand; Nouméa; Brisbane, Australia; and Espiritu Santo, in the New Hebrides. She arrived at Brisbane on New Year's Day 1943 and sailed soon afterwards for Melbourne, Australia; thence she proceeded to Tongatapu, Pago Pago, Espiritu Santo, and Guadalcanal. Early in this period, on 1 February 1943, the ship was reclassified to an attack transport APA-17. She then carried out a series of training landings at Upolu, American Samoa, between 9 April and 10 May 1943, and then later at New Zealand, at Paekakariki, on 20 June, 1943 . While there, a landing accident claimed the lives of one Coast Gurad officer and ten US Navy enlisted men when one of American Legion's landing boats capsized in a heavy surf. He was killed during that landing exercise.