Crescent City (AP-40) was launched 17 February 1940 as Del Orleans under a Maritime Commission contract and acquired by the Navy on 9 June 1941. She was converted at Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co., Mobile, and commissioned on 10 October 1941. She was reclassified APA-21 on 1 February 1943.
1941 - 1942
Departing Norfolk on 15 December 1941 loaded with troops and equipment. Crescent City debarked her passengers in the Canal Zone then sailed to San Diego to load Navy and Marine passengers for Pearl Harbor. She carried civilian evacuees back to San Diego, returning immediately with workers and equipment to rush repairs of the damaged naval base at Pearl Harbor. Assigned to transport men and equipment to set up the advanced base at Efate, New Hebrides, she voyaged on this mission until arriving at San Diego on 22 April 1942 for a brief overhaul. On 1 July, Crescent City sailed from San Diego hound for the initial assault landings on Guadalcanal. Landing her troops on 7 August under heavy air attack, she splashed at least four of the enemy planes. For two days she remained at anchor unloading the necessary Rupnlies to hold the beachhead then returned to Espiritu Santo to unload material to set up a new forward base to supply the Guadalcanal operations. Sailing from Brisbane, Australia, and Wellington, New Zealand, to the advanced bases at Noumea and Espiritu Santo, then dodging enemy forces to deliver men and equipment to sway the balance toward victory on Guadalcanal was Crescent City's mission through the next few months.
When the offensive began to swing north through the Solomons in early 1943, she continued her transport duty to the base established on hard-won Guadalcanal. On 13 August, while unloading, she aided in repelling an air attack in which John Penn (AP-23) was sunk. On 28 October Crescent City sortied for the invasion of Bougainville, landing troops at Empress Augusta Bay under air attack on 1 November. On the 13th after helping repel a torpedo bomber attack, she landed support troops brought from Tulagi and Port Purvis.
Continuing her inter-Solomons transport and resupply duty, she took part in the assault landings on Emirau Island on 11 April 1944 and reported to Guadalcanal on 30 April to prepare for the Marianas operation. Crescent City was held in reserve during the assaults on Kwajalein and Eniwetok, then landed her troops and embarked casualties at Guam from 21 to 25 July. She returned to Guadalcanal on 16 August for the staging of the Palau operation, taking part in the landings on Peleliu on 15 September. Ten days later she arrived at Humboldt Bay, New Guinea and sailed on 16 October for the invasion of Leyte. After landing troops of the 6th Army at San Pedro Bay on 22 October, she sailed before the outbreak of the Battle for Leyte Gulf. The transport brought reinforcements to Leyte from Hollandia and arrived at Manus on 20 November to embark passengers for the United States.
After an overahul, Crescent City departed San Francisco on 25 February 1945 and arrived at Pearl Harbor on 4 March. Here she was converted to a temporary hospital evacuation ship and two weeks later was underway for Kerama Retto arriving on 6 April. Receiving casualties from the beaches of Okinawa and from other ships, she transferred them to Hope (AH-7) for evacuation. Crescent City remained at Okinawa receiving casualties and transients until the end of the war. Aiding in the redeployment of troops for the occupation of China, Crescent City lifted the 1st Marines to Taku between 30 September and 6 October, and carried Chinese troops from Hong Kong to Chinwangtao and Tsingtao in November. Returning to Okinawa on 1 December, she embarked men eligible for discharge and sailed for Seattle arriving on 20 December.
1946 - 1948
Departing Seattle on 23 January 1946 Crescent City arrived at Norfolk on 14 February. She operated from New York and Norfolk on training duty in the Caribbean until 10 October 1947 when she sailed for the west coast. Arriving at San Francisco on 1 November, Crescent City was placed out of commission and in reserve on 30 April 1948 and transferred to the Maritime Commission on 3 September.
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.