The USS Matar AK-119 Collection
1945-1946: The U.SS Matar (AK-119) Collection of Papers, Documents, Photographs, Crew Lists, Newsletters, Ship Activities from the Frederick Humberstone Collection.
USS Matar AK-119 Ship History
Matar (AK‑119) was laid down as Napoleon R. Broward under Maritime Commission contract by St. John's River Shipbuilding Co., Jacksonville, Fla., 16 October 1943.
The ship was launched 30 November 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Napoleon B. Broward, and later acquired by the Navy under bareboat charter 10 December 1943.
The USS Matar was converted for Navy use by Merrill Stevens Drydock & Repair Co., Jacksonville, Florida. Commissioned as Matar at Jacksonville 17 May 1944., Lt. Comdr. Erwin E. Smith was installed as her first commander.
After completing the conversion, Matar steamed to Norfolk on 28 May for shakedown in the Chesapeake Bay. Thence, she loaded cargo at Davisville, R.I., and Bayonne, N.J., before departing New York for the Pacific 25 June, arriving Pearl Harbor 25 July.
Matar discharged cargo and refilled her holds with ammunition, field rations, and amphibious equipment. Operating under Service Squadron 8, she sailed with TF 31 on 20 August for the Palaus.
Steaming via the Marshalls and the Admiralties, Matar reached Kossol Passage 20 September. As the flagship for CTG 31.4, she operated at Kossol until 17 October when she departed for Angaur Island. From 19 to 24 October, the Matar discharged cargo into boats for transfer to the beaches.
Thence, she embarked marines and amphibious tanks at Peleliu and sailed for the Russell Islands on the 30th. The USS Matar debarked her troops there 7 November, arriving off Guadalcanal on the 9th; embarked 130 soldiers. Departing Lunga on 18 November, she arrived in San Francisco via Pearl Harbor on 11 December.
Altered for duty as a stores issue ship and loaded with medical supplies and ship's stores, Matar departed San Francisco on 18 January 1945 and arrived Eniwetok on 8 February.
Assigned to Service Squadron 10, she steamed to the Marianas between 10 and 14 February. For the next 3 months, she operated out of Saipan and Guam, dispensing medical and general stores to the fleet.
Matar arrived Kerama Retto, the Ryukyus, 14 May; discharged some cargo; and shifted to the anchorage off Hagushi, Okinawa, 29 May. She issued dry provisions and medical stores and also provided smoke cover during enemy airstrikes. On 27 June, she sailed for Ulithi and Pearl Harbor.
Replenishing between 2 and 14 August, she steamed to Eniwetok thence to Japan 7 September arriving Tokyo Bay 15 September to service ships on occupation duty in Japanese waters. She completed this duty early in November and between 5 November and 1 December, steamed via Pearl Harbor to San Francisco.
The USS Matar sailed 6 February 1946 for Pearl Harbor, arriving on the 15th, decommissioning 15 March 1946. The ship was then transferred to the Maritime Commission's custody on 8 October 1947 and entered the National Defense Reserve Fleet. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 31 October 1947. At present, the USS Matar is berthed in Suisun Bay, Calif.
Matar received two battle stars for World War II service.