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Sanctuary AH-17 - History

Sanctuary AH-17 - History



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Sanctuary

(AH-17: dp. 15,226 (f.); 1. 522'10"; b. 71'8", dr. 30's. 17.5 k. ; cpl. 568 (ship & med.); beds 786 ; cl.Haven; T. C4-S-B2)

Sanctuary (AH-17) was laid down as Marine Owl by the Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Chester Pa., launched as Sanctuary (AH-17) on 15 August 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Alda Andrus; and delivered on 30 September 1944. Subsequently converted to a hospital ship by the Todd Shipbuilding Co., at Hoboken, N.J., whose citizens matched the cost of conversion with the purchase of war bonds, she was commissioned on 20 June 1945, Comdr. John M. Paulsson USNR, in command of the ship; Capt. Oscar Davis, MC, USN, in charge of the medical department

Following the shakedown, Sanctuary departed Norfolk on 31 July for the Pacific. She arrived at Pearl Harbor four days after the Japanese acceptance of surrender terms and, on 22 August, continued on to the Far East to assist in the repatriation of former POW's.

Proceeding via Okinawa, Sanctuary arrived off Wakayama in Task Group 56.5 on 11 September, then waited as minecraft cleared the channels. On the afternoon of the 13th, she commenced taking on sick, injured, and ambulatory cases. By 0300 on the 14th, she had exceeded her rated bed capacity of 786. A call was put out to the fleet requesting cots. The request was answered; and, seven hours later, she sailed for Okinawa with 1,139 liberated POWs, primarily British Australian, and Japanese, embarked for the first leg of their journey home. Despite a typhoon encountered en route, Sanctuary delivered her charges safely to Army personnel at Naha, and, by the 21st, was underway for Nagasaki. Arriving on the 22d, she embarked more ex- POWs; then loaded military personnel rotating back to the United States and steamed for Naha. On the 25th she discharged her liberated prisoners, then shifted to Buckner Bay. A typhoon warning next sent her to sea but she returned three days later; took on 439 civilian repatriates, including some 40 children under the age of ten, and military repatriates and passengers; and set a course for Guam. There, she exchanged passengers for patients; then continued on to San Francisco, arriving on 22 October.

Between 18 November and 17 December, Sanctuary completed a run to Saipan and Guam, and back to San Francisco. During late December 1945 and January 1946, she made two round trips between California and Hawaii. On 7 February, she departed San Francisco for Philadelphia and deactivation. She arrived at League Island on 1 March and was decommissioned on 15 August. For the next 15 years she was berthed with the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. On i September 1961 however, her name was struck from the Navy list, and she was transferred to the Maritime Administration for berthing with the National Defense Reserve Fleet.

Less than five years later, on 1 March 1966, Sanctuary was reacquired by the Navy and reinstated on the Navy list. Towed to Louisiana, she was modernized at the Avondale Shipyards, Inc., Westwego; and was recommissioned at New Orleans on 15 November 1966. Modernization had given her a heliport, three x-ray units, a blood bank, an artificial kidney machine, ultrasonic diagnostic equipment, a recompression chamber and other modern equipment, medical, culinary, laundry, etc., to supplement her 20 wards and four operating rooms. Three hundred and sixteen medical personnel were assigned to staff the Naval Hospital embarked in Sanctuary. Her mission had shifted in emphasis: from that of an "ambulance" ship carrying wounded and sick to hospitals in rear areas, to that of a fully equipped hospital carrying medical facilities close to the combat area.

On 8 March 1967, Sanctuary departed San Francisco for the Far East. On 2 April, she joined the 7th Fleet at Subic Bay. On the 10th, she arrived at Danang South Vietnam; and that afternoon took on her first casualties-ten marines badly burned when their amphibious tank detonated a land mine, which, in turn had exploded the gasoline tank. By midnight, 136 patients had been received. By the end of April, she had admitted 717 patients—319 combat casualties, 72 noncombat injuries, 326 suffering from various diseases— and treated 682 outpatients. Only two of her patients died.

Assigned to duty off South Vietnam on a non-rotating basis, Sanctuary began her extended overseas tour spending a minimum of 50 days operating on the line each quarter, followed by an availability and upkeep period at Subic Bay. By April 1968, after a year on that schedule, she had admitted 5,354 patients and treated another 9,187 on an outpatient basis. Helicopters, bringing patients from the battlefield, transferring them from and to other medical facilities, or carrying passengers to and from the ship, had made more than 2,500 landings on her deck.

The following month, Sanctuary's schedule was changed to 90 day on-the-line periods. Her operating area and her itinerary on the line, however, remained the same. She continued to operate off the I Corps Tactical area, the northern provinces of South Vietnam; and, for the most part, rotated between stations such as Danang, Phu Bai, Chu Lai, and Dong Ha, every two to four days as needed by the marines fighting ashore.

Occasionally granted brief rest and recreation out of the area, Sanctuary-the only Navy hospital off Vietnam after 16 March 1970—maintained her busy schedule to that date and increased it thereafter through 1970 and into 1971. On 23 April 1971, she departed Danang for the last time. During May, she visited Hong Kong and called at Sasebo; then sailed for Pearl Harbor and San Francisco, where she arrived on 10 June.

In commission in reserve, as of 31 August 1971 Sanctuary was decommissioned on 15 December. The next 11 months were spent at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard where she was converted for use as a dependent's hospital and as a commissary/Navy exchange retail store Another change brought the assignment of two women officers and 60 enlisted women to the ship for other than medical duties, and, on recommissioning on 18 November 1972 she became the first United States Navy ship with a mixed male-female ship's company.

Sanctuary remained in Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard until late January 1973, when she put to sea for two weeks of refresher training. She returned to Hunter's Point on 22 February and remained berthed until 16 August, when she got underway for two days cruising. Returning to San Francisco on the 17th Sanctuary began a period of restricted availability during which her propulsion system was converted to Navy Distillate Fuel.

After several weeks preparation, she got underway in mid-September, for a three-month goodwill cruise to South America. On this mission, sponsored by the State Department, Sanctuary assisted the peoples of Colombia and Haiti in three distinct areas: medical aid, material aid (by delivering over $500,000 worth of non-monetary donations), and civic action projects (civil engineering projects). She visited Buena Ventura, Colombia, from 12 October to 6 November and stopped at Port-au-Prince, Haiti, from 13 November until early December. She arrived at Mayport, Fla., her new home port, on 14 December and remained there for the duration of the year.

Through the first six months of 1974, Sanctuary is operating along the eastern seaboard of the United States and in the Caribbean. Her base of operations is still Mayport, Fla.

Sanctuary earned eleven battle stars for service in the Vietnam War.


USS Sanctuary (AH-17)

USS Sanctuary (AH-17) was a Haven-class hospital ship that served in the U.S. Navy in World War II and the Vietnam War.

Sanctuary was laid down as SS Marine Owl by the Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Chester, Pa. launched as Sanctuary (AH-17) on 15 August 1944 sponsored by Mrs. Alda Andrus and delivered on 30 September 1944. Subsequently converted to a hospital ship by the Todd Shipbuilding Co., at Hoboken, N.J., whose citizens matched the cost of conversion with the purchase of war bonds, she was commissioned on 20 June 1945, Commander John M. Paulsson, USNR, in command of the ship Captain Oscar Davis, MC, USN, in charge of the medical department.


Sanctuary AH-17 - History

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Haven (AH-12) Class: Photographs

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

Near the New York Navy Yard on 29 April 1945.
Her standard World War II hospital ship markings consist of a horizontal green band with a single relatively small red cross in the middle of each side.

Photo No. 19-N-82067
Source: U.S. National Archives, RG-19-LCM

Conducting operations with a HRS-1 helicopter off the South Korean coast in August 1952.
She is using an improvised helicopter landing facility consisting of two floats, one on each side of the ship. The single small red cross on each side was replaced with three large ones circa early 1946.

Photo No. NH 98793
Source: U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command

Underway circa 1953 showing off her newly-installed helicopter deck aft.

Photo No. NH 98795
Source: U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command

Photographed on 19 January 1954.
The green band around the hull has been deleted from the hospital ship markings, leaving only the three large red crosses on each side.

Photo No. 19-N-70688
Source: U.S. National Archives, RG-19-LCM

Underway at low speed in Danang harbor, South Vietnam, on 24 April 1966.
As recommissioned in 1965, the red crosses on her hull sides were smaller than those used in the 1950s.

Photo No. K-31496
Source: Shipscribe

Underway off Oahu, Hawaii, on 22 March 1967.
When recommissioned in 1966 she was given two large and one small red crosses on each side of her hull.
The large dome on the forward goalpost mast is a TACAN air navigation beacon.

Photo No. KN-14370
Source: Shipscribe

Underway on 15 April 1974 off Mayport, Florida, conduction training qualifications and trials.
A SH-3D Sea King antisubmarine helicopter is flying over the ship. Used since her recommissioning in November 1972 as a hospital for military dependents and for foreign civilians during good-will voyages, the ship no longer wears hospital ship markings.


Sanctuary AH 17

Strictly speaking I didn’t serve on this ship, but I, as wife and mother left behind as so many others, played a great role in the history of this duty station.

Exactly and honestly, it was not a favorite time in my life. Many things were happening in our marriage before he even left on the Sanctuary. Hubby was becoming more distant. He made financial stock market decisions without talking with me. I can see now that it was a “guy” thing. He was hanging out with fellow MSC officers who weren’t married and of course he wanted to be considered one of them. Our finances were slim even though we lived on base, we didn’t have much money to spare at the end of the month.

So once settling onto the routine of the Sanctuary and making friends with other men who were now away from their families, the same type of behavior continued. Basically, he acted like he wasn’t married and so did many of his “friends”. I had not met any of them before they departed San Francisco, but I was to become acquainted when I went on a holiday in Port au Prince, Haiti.

Photos of the Sanctuary venture to Cali and Buenaventura, Colombia and Port au Prince are on a separate page.


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USS Sanctuary AH 17

Commissioned 18 November 1972

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You would be purchasing the USS Sanctuary AH 17 Commissioning Program. The pages are Hi-Resolution in Flip Book format with background Navy sounds. The pages can be magnified significantly. Designed for windows microsoft operating system. If you want a MAC version you will need to send us an immediate email after your purchase stating so. Each page has been placed on a CD for years of enjoyable computer viewing. The CD comes in a plastic sleeve with a custom label.

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A place of ‘fearsome mercy’

In medieval England, from at least the 12th to the 16th centuries, sanctuary was defined as a legal procedure within both canon law (the law of the church) and secular common law. It was a last resort for those accused of crimes, often under chase by the community.

However, once fugitives crossed the threshold into the churchyard, the community that had failed to capture them was legally required to keep them safe and even feed them for up to 40 days.

Sanctuary protection granted accused felons mercy from the king of England. When they “fled to the church,” fugitives avoided trial and either mutilation or execution. Sanctuary could also protect noblemen from political retribution – King Henry III’s right-hand man, Hubert de Burgh, kept his life by seeking sanctuary three times after losing his government post.

Sanctuary delayed legal decision, which enabled people to negotiate alternatives. Sometimes the fugitive turned out to be innocent, or as in Hubert’s case, publicly declared obedience and reconciled with his king.

Churches provided a safe sanctuary in medieval England. The Church of St John the Evangelist, Elkstone, Gloucestershire. Spencer Means, CC BY-SA

Yet the upshot of most medieval sanctuary cases was what one scholar has called “fearsome mercy.” After 40 days, fugitives usually had to confess their crimes and give up everything they owned, travel barefoot to the nearest port and live in exile for the rest of their lives.

Such sanctuary practices saved lives, both by providing time for negotiation and by allowing people to go into exile rather than stand trial. But more than that, they had a symbolic value: In providing such bare-bones safety, medieval sanctuary marked people’s vulnerability and made protecting them a sacred duty.

Although sanctuary for felons was outlawed by James I in 1623, the use of sanctuary to claim protection for vulnerable people continued into the 19th and 20th centuries.


USS Sanctuary (AH-17)

USS "Sanctuary" (AH-17) is a sclass|Haven|hospital ship that served in the U.S. Navy in World War II and the Vietnam War . As of August 2008, she is still afloat with her final fate yet to be determined.

Operation history

World War II

USS "Sanctuary" (AH-17) was laid down as SS "Marine Owl" by the Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. , Chester, Pa. launched as "Sanctuary" (AH-17) on 15 August 1944 sponsored by Mrs. Alda Andrus and delivered on 30 September 1944 . Subsequently converted to a hospital ship by the Todd Shipbuilding Co. , at Hoboken, N.J. , whose citizens matched the cost of conversion with the purchase of war bonds, she was commissioned on 20 June 1945 , Comdr. John M. Paulsson , USNR, in command of the ship Capt. Oscar Davis , MC, USN, in charge of the medical department.

Following the shakedown, "Sanctuary" departed Norfolk on 31 July for the Pacific . She arrived at Pearl Harbor four days after the Japanese acceptance of surrender terms and, on 22 August , continued on to the Far East to assist in the repatriation of former POW's.

Proceeding via Okinawa , "Sanctuary" arrived off Wakayama in Task Group 56.5 on 11 September then waited as minecraft cleared the channels. On the afternoon of the 13th, she commenced taking on sick, injured, and ambulatory cases. By 0300 on the 14th, she had exceeded her rated bed capacity of 786. A call was put out to the fleet requesting cots. The request was answered and, seven hours later, she sailed for Okinawa with 1,139 liberated POWs, primarily British, Australia n, and Javanese, embarked for the first leg of their journey home. Despite a typhoon encountered en route, "Sanctuary" delivered her charges safely to Army personnel at Naha and, by the 21st, was underway for Nagasaki. Arriving on the 22d, she embarked more ex-POWs then loaded military personnel rotating back to the United States and steamed for Naha. On the 25th, she discharged her liberated prisoners then shifted to Buckner Bay . A typhoon warning next sent her to sea but she returned three days later took on 439 civilian repatriates, including some 40 children under the age of ten, and military repatriates and passengers and set a course for Guam . There, she exchanged passengers for patients then continued on to San Francisco , arriving on 22 October .

Between 18 November and 17 December , "Sanctuary" completed a run to Saipan and Guam, and back to San Francisco. During late December 1945 and January 1946, she made two round trips between California and Hawaii . On 7 February , she departed San Francisco for Philadelphia and deactivation. She arrived at League Island on 1 March and was decommissioned on 15 August . For the next 15 years, she was berthed with the Atlantic Reserve Fleet .

Vietnam War

On 1 September 1961 , however, her name was struck from the Navy list, and she was transferred to the Maritime Administration for berthing with the National Defense Reserve Fleet. Less than five years later, on 1 March 1966 , "Sanctury" was reacquired by the Navy and reinstated on the Navy list. Towed to Louisiana , she was modernized at the Avondale Shipyards , Westwego and was re-commissioned at New Orleans on 15 November 1966 , US Navy Historical center. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships . [http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/s4/sanctuary.htm Sanctuary] .] Captain John F. Collingwood, USN, commanding and Captain Gerald J. Duffner, MC, USN, commanding Naval Hospital in USS Sanctuary. Citation |last1=Jackson |first1=Frederick (ed.)|title=USS Sanctuary AH-17 1967 Cruise Log |publisher=Walsworth |place=Kansas City |year=1967] Modernization had given her a heliport, three x-ray units, a blood bank , an artificial kidney machine, ultrasonic diagnostic equipment, a recompression chamber and other modern equipment, medical, culinary, laundry, etc., to supplement her 20 wards and four operating rooms. Three hundred and sixteen medical personnel were assigned to staff the Naval Hospital. Her mission had shifted in emphasis: from that of an "ambulance" ship carrying wounded and sick to hospitals in rear areas, to that of a fully equipped hospital carrying medical facilities close to the combat area. US Navy Historical center. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships . [http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/s4/sanctuary.htm Sanctuary] .]

On 8 March 1967 , "Sanctuary" departed San Francisco for the Far East. On 2 April , she joined the 7th Fleet at Subic Bay . On the 10th, she arrived at Da Nang , South Vietnam and that afternoon took on her first casualties—ten marines badly burned when their amphibious tank detonated a land mine, which, in turn, had exploded the gasoline tank. By midnight, 136 patients had been received. By the end of April, she had admitted 717 patients—319 combat casualties, 72 non-combat injuries, 326 suffering from various diseases— and treated 682 outpatients. Only two of her patients died.

Assigned to duty off South Vietnam on a non-rotating basis, "Sanctuary" began her extended overseas tour spending a minimum of 50 days operating on the line each quarter, followed by an availability and upkeep period at Subic Bay . By April 1968, after a year on that schedule, she had admitted 5,354 patients and treated another 9,187 on an outpatient basis. Helicopters, bringing patients from the battlefield, transferring them from and to other medical facilities, or carrying passengers to and from the ship, had made more than 2,500 landings on her deck.

The following month, "Sanctuary's" schedule was changed to 90 day on-the-line periods. Her operating area and her itinerary on the line, however, remained the same. She continued to operate off the I Corps Tactical area, the northern provinces of South Vietnam and, for the most part, rotated between stations, such as Da Nang , Phu Bai , Chu Lai , and Dong Ha , every two to four days as needed by the marines fighting ashore.

Occasionally granted brief rest and recreation out of the area, "Sanctuary" — the only Navy hospital off Vietnam after 16 March 1970 — maintained her busy schedule to that date and increased it thereafter through 1970 and into 1971. On 23 April 1971 , she departed Danang for the last time. During May, she visited Hong Kong and called at Sasebo then sailed for Pearl Harbor and San Francisco, where she arrived on 10 June .

In commission, in reserve, as of 31 August 1971 , "Sanctuary" was decommissioned on 15 December . The next 11 months were spent at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard where she was converted for use as a dependent's hospital and as a commissary/Navy exchange retail store. Another change brought the assignment of two women officers and 60 enlisted women to the ship for other than medical duties, and, on recommissioning on 18 November 1972 , she became the first United States Navy ship with a mixed male-female ship's company.

"Sanctuary" remained in Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard until late January 1973, when she put to sea for two weeks of refresher training. She returned to Hunter's Point on 22 February and remained berthed until 16 August , when she got underway for two days cruising. Returning to San Francisco on the 17th, Sanctuary began a period of restricted availability during which her propulsion system was converted to Navy Distillate Fuel.

After several weeks preparation, she got underway, in mid-September, for a three-month goodwill cruise to South America. She went through the Panama Canal where there was a brief liberty call. On this mission, sponsored by the State Department, "Sanctuary" assisted the peoples of Colombia and Haiti in three distinct areas: medical aid, material aid (by delivering over $500,000 worth of non-monetary donations), and civic action projects (civil engineering projects). She visited Buena Ventura , Colombia , from 12 October to 6 November and stopped at Port-au-Prince , Haiti , from 13 November until early December. She arrived at Mayport, Fla. , her new home port, on 14 December and remained there for the duration of the year. The USS Sanctuary was a success at having the mixed ship's company. They showed that both male and female sailors could do the job.

"Sanctuary" earned eleven battle star s for service in the Vietnam War .

Civilian Service

In 1989, the Navy sold ex-"Sanctuary" for $10.00 to a group called Life International. Four years later, Life International transferred the vessel to Project Life, Inc., which planned to convert the ship into a training center for recovering drug addicts. Unable to reach an agreement with the Maryland Port Authority (MPA) for use of a pier, in 1998, Project Life sued the MPA, accusing it of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act . The MPA lost the suit and in 2001, Project Life was awarded a five-year lease at Baltimore's North Locust Point Marine Terminal. In February 2007, eight months after Project Life's lease ended, the dilapidated ship broke its moorings and was adrift in Baltimore Harbor. The MPA sued Project Life for over $100,000 in back rents and fees incurred to secure the vessel.

PCB concerns

Ex-"Sanctuary" was sold at public auction in Baltimore for $50,000 to Potomac Navigation, Inc on 21 August 2007 . Potomac intended to tow the ship to Greece for evaluation as a hotel or storage facility, however in November 2007 ex-"Sanctuary"'s departure was blocked by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pending testing for PCB's. International Shipbreaking of Texas had considered bidding on the ship during the August auction for scrapping, but declined after its testing indicated high levels of PCBs. The original bill of sale indicated the ship also contained Asbestos in the early 1990s. Potomac Navigation's testing showed much lower PCB levels. " The Baltimore Sun " reported that the ship could be taken overseas and sold for scrap regardless of PCB content and yielding a profit of $3 million while endangering the environment. [cite news | work = The Baltimore Sun | first = Tricia | last = Bishop | url = http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bal-bz.ships30nov30,0,2976774.story | title = EPA is testing ex-Navy ship for PCBs | date = 2007-11-30 | accessdate = 2008-01-30] [cite news | work = The Baltimore Sun | first = Tricia | last = Bishop | url = http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bal-te.bz.ship13nov13,0,2306421.story?coll=bal-home-utility | title = Plan for hospital ship questioned | date = 2007-11-13 | accessdate = 2008-01-30] As of August 2008, the ship had not departed Baltimore. It is still not clear what will become of the last "Haven"-class ship still afloat.

hip's Motto (Vietnam Era)

Official: "Copiae Servamus"- We serve the troops.Unofficial:"You Find 'Em, We Bind 'Em. Open 24 Hours." This appeared on an exterior bulkhead just forward of the helo deck.

External links

* [http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=39.270828,-76.584653&spn=0.002425,0.004978&t=h&z=18&om=0 Ex-"Sanctuary"] on Google Maps

Wikimedia Foundation . 2010 .

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Stagnation and Reform

In 1946, with the Navy in the midst of its massive postwar demobilization, Hancock took over as director of the Women’s Reserve and joined the chorus of voices calling for women to remain in the regular armed services. When the Armed Services Integration Act of 1948 granted women permanent status in the regular and reserve components of all the armed services, the WAVES formally ceased to exist – though the nickname would stick to Navy women for years afterward. Hancock was promoted to captain and took on a new title: Assistant Chief of Naval Personnel for Women, or ACNP(W).

The new law established limits on how many women could be in the Navy (no more than 2 percent) how high they could rank in the service (there could be only one captain, and the percentages of commanders and lieutenant commanders were capped) and where they could serve (they were strictly forbidden from duty in combat aircraft or in any ships other than hospital ships and transports). The Secretary of the Navy would determine the extent of women’s command authority.

Lt. Joy Bright Hancock, USNR, after being presented with the World War I service ribbon by Adm. Ernest J. King, at the Navy Department, Washington, D.C., circa October 1942. Hancock had served as a yeoman first class (F) during World War I. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command photo

During the Korean War, at Hancock’s urging, the Navy loosened some restrictions on women’s service in order to meet its recruitment goals. The ban on married women’s service was dropped, and the age of enlistment was lowered to 18. The number of women reservists reached 9,466 in November 1952. Though overseas service was opened to women in 1949, no women in the regular Navy went to Korea.

Navy nurses, whose wartime service strength peaked at 3,405 in 1951, served continuously on hospital ships and transports in Korean waters at 15 civilian nursing schools and at 180 duty stations in the United States and abroad – 200 of them at the U.S. Naval Hospital, Yokosuka, Japan, where more than 5,800 casualties were treated.

Overall, professional gains for Navy women were few during the 1950s and 1960s. It wasn’t until 1962, when Cmdr. Etta-Belle Kitchen took command of U.S. Naval Training Center Bainbridge, Maryland, that the Navy appointed its first female commanding officer. About 90 percent of regular and reserve Navy women served in administrative or healthcare ratings. A few hospital corpsmen became the first Navy women other than nurses to serve afloat, aboard transport service ships in the mid-1950s, but generally this narrowing of opportunities continued well into the 1960s. In 1966, only 20 of the Navy’s enlisted ratings were open to women. The number of regular and reserve Navy women actually decreased during the Vietnam War, and their assignments remained primarily clerical, administrative, and health care related. Only nine female naval officers, and no enlisted women, served in Vietnam.

One of the 53 women in the U.S. Navy assigned to duty on the Navy hospital ship USS Sanctuary (AH 17), manning her duty station as lookout on the ship, March 1973.

The Navy Nurse Corps, on the other hand, played an active and important role in the Vietnam conflict, expanding to a peak of 2,338 serving in 1968. Navy nurses began arriving in Saigon in 1963, and by far the largest number of them served at the Naval Support Activity Hospital, Danang. The 600-bed hospital became the largest combat casualty treatment facility in the world, admitting 63,000 patients. In 1964, when the Viet Cong bombed the Brink Bachelor Officers’ Quarters in Saigon, four Navy Nurse Corps officers, wounded themselves in the blast, cared for multiple victims. These four officers were the first Navy nurses to be injured in combat support.

For both nurses and regular Navy women, a period of professional stagnation came to an end in 1967, when Public Law 90-130 eliminated caps on women’s ranks – and authorized but didn’t mandate flag rank for Navy women. The law ushered in an era of broadening horizons for Navy women, which gathered steam in the 1970s with congressional passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and the end of the military draft. On June 1, 1972, Alene B. Duerk, chief, Navy Nurse Corps, became the first Navy woman to be promoted to the rank of rear admiral (lower half).

The most significant factor in these expanding opportunities was the 1970-1974 tenure of Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt as Chief of Naval Operations (CNO). The visionary Zumwalt immediately grasped that an all-volunteer Navy, without providing opportunities for women and other disadvantaged groups, wouldn’t be able to recruit enough personnel to meet its basic needs. Zumwalt’s Programs for People, designed to break down barriers to service, was made public in a series of policy directives informally known as “Z-grams.”

In Z-gram number 116 (Z-116), issued in August 1972 and titled “Equal Rights and Opportunities for Women in the Navy,” Zumwalt authorized preliminary actions that would lead to women serving at sea. He proposed assigning a pilot group of women to serve afloat allowing women officers to exercise command ashore opening Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) college programs to women considering women for joint services colleges and assigning them to more challenging billets. In these proposals, Zumwalt proved more radical than the ACNP(W), Capt. Robin Quigley, who didn’t support women at sea or in aviation billets. Quigley left her post in March 1973 to make way for Capt. Fran McKee, who served briefly before leaving headquarters to become the first woman to head an activity of the Naval Security Group Command. In February 1976, McKee became the first woman line officer to be selected for flag rank when she was promoted to rear admiral (lower half).

Rear Adm. Fran McKee, the first female line officer in the Navy to be promoted to flag rank (rear admiral, lower half), in February 1976. U.S. Navy photo

With the backing of the CNO, obstacles for women began to fall. In the early 1970s, the Navy began sending women to more overseas duty stations. In 1973 alone, male and female recruit training was combined the first mixed class graduated from Officer Candidate School and the first female flight surgeons graduated from the training program of the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute. Navy women received limited admission to the NROTC, and now also were eligible to attend naval postgraduate schools such as the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, and the General Line School (now the Naval Postgraduate School) in Monterey, California. In July 1976, 81 women entered the U.S. Naval Academy, 55 of whom received their commissions with the class of 1980.

Beginning in 1972, the Navy began to implement Zumwalt’s pilot program of women’s sea service: By the end of 1973, 53 enlisted women had come aboard the hospital ship Sanctuary, accompanied by two female line officers and 12 Nurse Corps officers. After a year of service that took them on humanitarian assistance missions in Colombia and Haiti, their commanding officer concluded that the women had performed their shipboard duties as well as men, and that as far as he was concerned, they could serve “in perpetuity.” Meanwhile, the first female officers began their aviation training in a test program at the Naval Aviation Training Command at Pensacola in March 1973. Six women eventually completed the 18-month program and earned their naval aviators’ wings of gold. By 1978, there were 19 women aviators, and the next year, Lt. Lynn Spruill became the first female pilot to become carrier qualified.

One of the most stubborn obstacles remaining for Navy women was Title 10, Section 6015 of the 1948 Armed Services Integration Act, which barred women from duty aboard combatant ships and aircraft. This provision, after a discrimination lawsuit, congressional amendment of Section 6025, and much debate among Navy leadership about the definition of a “combatant” ship, was amended to allow women’s service on noncombatant ships other than transports and hospital ships.

In 1978, the Navy introduced its Women in Ships Program, which deployed female officers and enlisted women on a number of auxiliary and noncombatant ships. As 55 officers and 375 enlisted women became integrated into the crews of these ships, the 204-year-old tradition of male-only U.S. Navy ships came to an end.


Sanctuary AH-17 - History


"Artisit's Conception of Proposed Improvements for Hunters' Point when acquired by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp. LTD." WIKIPEDIA

First permanent dry-dock on Pacific coast - Hunters Point Dry Dock 1867

The Bay Area had two naval shipyards operation at the outbreak of World War II, Hunters Point and Mare Island . The Bay Area, a hub of the 1849 gold rush, saw a huge influx of ships bringing fortune seekers to the region. Ship repair and dismantling businesses naturally followed.

The 1867 dry dock opened at Potrero Point, later changed to Hunters Point. The Union Iron Works [later Bethlemem Shipbuilding] operated the dry dock and a pair of graving docks at the site.
From: World War II Shipyards by the Bay by Nicholas Veronico






NAVY DAY GUIDE at Hunters Point - - View Dry Dock No.4 Details


USS Iowa BB-61 in Dry Dock on July 4, 1953

The U.S.S. Iowa in drydock at Hunters Point, where the ship had been since March, 1949. Workmen removed blanks covering up
seaward passages, cleaned the bottom, repainted, sandblasted the hull, and on the topside, activated equipment such as guns,
radar, range finders, winches and capstans. The 'Mighty I' had taken President Roosevelt to Tehran, but spent most of World War II
in the Pacific. She was the first of the 45,000-ton battleships, and was commissioned in February, 1943. "


Polaris Missle Tests at Hunters Point in 1959 using their large CRANE .


Ships that have been moored in Hunters Point.
USS Paul Revere APA-248 from Nov. 1969 to Apr. 1970. USS Yorktown CV-10 on Nov. 2 1945 .

USS Sanctuary AH-17 entered in reserve 31 Aug. 1971 and was converted for use as a dependents' hospital
and as a commissary/Navy exchange retail store. On 18 Nov. 1972 she became the first
United States Navy ship with a mixed male–female ship's company.


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