Saturday, August 12, 2006

Altair Mystery

Greetings Altair Crew. Ernie Forbes sent me an email and here is a copy; maybe a shipmate knows the answer.

"Heres a mystery maybe one of the crew can answer it: The Aberdeen Victory was delivered to Waterman Steamship Lines after launching and was transferred to the maritime commission for use by the Navy, the Navy used it as an AK, AK-257 to be exact after the war it was put in the reserve fleet till it was activated to be used as the ALTAIR. While it was an AK during the war it had a name - WHAT WAS THAT NAME ! ! When I was aboard I did DC work and I used to weigh the CO2 bottle at the fire station at the top of the stairs, ladder, in officers country, at this fire station there was a plaque commiserating USS ?

AK-257 during WW2, the person I was with said it was an Indian area, ? territory, state. I wrote the name down and many years later go tmy letters to my parents. They had saved every one, but it was not in them. I have tried to revisit that day in my dreams and see the name I had written, but I have had no success so far. Maybe one of the crew can recall that name. Ernie"

Best Regards To All.......Charles


Dick Braun SN/MA 62 - 63 said...

Per Google under US Navy History under USS Altair (AK-257) there is reference to the Aberdeen Victory built in 44. She was later transferred to the Navy in 1951; commissioned as the USS Altair (AK-257 in 1952. Have a Fine Navy Day, Billie C. Cabbage, DPCS,USN,Ret (56-76) Onboard Altair (60-63.

Dick Braun SN/MA 62 - 63 said...

Hmmmm. Memories? The only reference in several sources is that she was laid
down as ABERDEEN VICTORY in 1944, served under the Waterman banner in the
Pacific with that name until the end of WWII, then was in the Reserve Fleet.
In 1951, she was taken out and renamed USS ALTAIR (AK 257), redesignated AKS
32 in 1952 and recommissioned in December 1953.
Perhaps there were parts/equipment scavenged from other ships.

Ivan Samuels

Dick Braun SN/MA 62 - 63 said...

Hi Charles,
I have a link on the Altair blog site ( that takes you to the ships statistics. The following is the link and here is what it says.

Greenville Victory Class Cargo Ship:
Laid down (date unknown) as SS Aberdeen Victory, a Maritime Commission type (VC2-S-AP3) hull, under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 110), at Oregon Shipbuilding Corp, Portland, OR.
Launched, 30 May 1944
Completed, 22 June 1944
Contracted to Waterman Steamship Co.
Returned to the Maritime Commission, circa 1945-1946, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, Benecia, CA.
Transferred to the US Navy, 7 July 1951
Commissioned Cargo Ship USS Altair (AK-257), 31 January 1952, at Baltimore, MD.
Decommissioned, 5 January 1953, at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, VA., for conversion

Antares Class General Stores Issue Ship
Converted at Maryland Drydock Co., Baltimore, MD.
Recommissioned, USS Altair (AKS-32), 15 December, 1953, at Norfolk, VA.
Decommissioned, 2 May 1969, at Portsmouth, VA.
Custody transferred to MARAD, 1 May 1973, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet James River, Fort Eustis, VA.
Struck from the Naval Register, 1 June 1973
Title transfer to MARAD, 1 September 1971
Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 31 January 1975, to Luria Brothers & Co., Philadelphia, PA.
Displacement 4,960 t.
Length 455' 3"
Beam 62'
Draft 28' 6"
Speed 16.5 kts.
Complement 250
Armament two twin 40mm gun mounts
Propulsion steam turbine, single shaft, 8500shp

Also note that this listing "1026 110 Aberdeen Victory/AK 257 chds; AKS 32 Altair" is found on the following site chds: the ship changed designation under the same name

I hope this helps!