Launched 1 August 1944 as Marine Walrus under a Maritime Commission contract. Acquired by the Navy on 30 August 1944 and converted to a hospital ship.
Commissioned on 22 May as USS Consolation (AH-15). Departed the east coast on 14 July and arrived at Wakayama, Honshu, on 11 September to join with Sanctuary (AH-16) in setting up a shore screening station and field hospital to receive the men of the Allied forces who had been prisoners of war in Japan. By 15 September she had embarked 1,062 men and three days later departed for Okinawa where her patients were debarked for transfer to the United States. Consolation then returned to Wakayama to act as station hospital for the 5th Fleet. During 13 to 24 October she was at Okinawa to treat the casualties of a vicious typhoon, then sailed to Nagoya where she served as station hospital for the 5th and 6th Fleets during the occupation of that area from 26 October to 3 November. Arriving in San Francisco on 23 November, Consolation underwent a brief overhaul then operated from 6 December 1945 to 3 February 1946 between Pearl Harbor and San Francisco transporting sailors and patients.
Consolation arrived at Norfolk on 3 March then operated in the Caribbean and had temporary duty with the Naval Transportation Service transferring dependents from the Canal Zone to New York from 25 March to 21 October. She then remained in commission though inactive at Hampton Roads with occasional trips during fleet exercises until the outbreak of the Korean war.
Korean War Service -
Departed Norfolk on 14 July and arrived at Pusan, Korea, on 16 August to care for the wounded, both military and civilian, of the Allied forces. She took part in the Inchon, Wonsan, and Hungnam operations and provided medical assistance for the military forces of Korea, aiding in the establishment of Korean hospitals and medical installations.
On 24 May she sailed for San Diego, arriving on 6 June. She was then overhauled and fitted with a helicopter landing platform on her aft deck. Departing San Diego on 13 September, Consolation arrived at Pusan on 6 October. On 18 December she began Operation "Helicopter," the first use of helicopters to evacuate casualties directly from a battlefield to a hospital ship.
She remained off Korea until the truce, except for periods at San Diego from 6 July to 8 September 1952 and from 23 June to 5 October 1953, then continued to care for the United Nations troops remaining in Korea and Korean civilians until 6 April 1954. Arriving in San Francisco 23 April, she remained through 10 August when she sailed to Tourane Bay, French Indo-China, to participate in the "Passage to Freedom" operation, the evacuation of North Vietnam nationals. Consolation remained in the Far East providing medical attention to United Nations troops in Korea until 12 March 1955 when she sailed from Yokosuka for San Francisco, arriving 30 March. She was placed out of commission in reserve at San Francisco 30 December 1955.
On 16 March Consolation was chartered to the People to People Health Foundation. Re-named Hope, she sailed later in 1960 on her first cruise to bring modern medical treatment and training to underdeveloped areas of the world.
These specifications and ship histories are adapted from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (US Naval Historical Center) and from various other sources. These summaries may not reflect the most recent information concerning the ships' status or operations. If you find an error or discrepancy, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our online crossing submission form.