USS Aludra (AF-55)
(formally the "Matchless" hull 1202)

USS Aludra

An Alstede-class stores ship acquired by the U.S. Navy.

Her task was to carry stores, refrigerated items, and equipment to ships in the fleet, and to remote stations and staging areas.

Design and Construction

The refrigerated cargo ship "Matchless" was laid down for the War Shipping Administration under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1202) on 23 August 1944 at Oakland, California, by the Moore Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co.

Launched on 14 October 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Harry E. Kennedy; and was delivered to the United States Lines under a bare boat charter on 23 March 1945. That firm operated the ship in the Pacific Ocean during the final months of the war and during the first four years following Japan's capitulation. On 11 August 1949, the ship was returned to the Maritime Commission at Mobile, Alabama, and she was laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet berthing area at Bay Minette, Alabama.

Ordered: as SS Matchless
R2-S-BV1 hull, MC 1202
Laid down: 23 August 1944
Launched: 14 October 1944
Acquired: 30 November 1950
Commissioned: 19 June 1952

General characteristics

Displacement: 7,050 t.(lt), 15,500 tons(fl)
Length: 459 ft 2 in (139.95 m)
Beam: 63 ft (19 m)
Draught: 28 ft (8.5 m)
Propulsion: cross-compound turbines, single propeller
Speed: 16 kts.
Complement: 292 Officers and Enlisted
Armament: twelve 3"/50 guns

AF-55 Deployments - Major Events

Month Year to Month Year Deployment / Event

AUG 1944 Keel Date: 23 AUG 1944
OCT 1944 Launch Date: 14 OCT 1944
JUN 1952 Commissioned: 19 JUN 1952
APR 1958 - SEP 1958 West Pac
JUN 1958 - SEP 1958 West Pac
OCT 1960 - JAN 1961 West Pac
MAY 1961 - SEP 1961 West Pac
JAN 1962 - MAY 1962 West Pac
JUN 1962 - AUG 1962 Dry Dock
SEP 1964 - OCT 1968 West Pac
JAN 1965 - JAN 1968 West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN 1965 - JAN 1968 West Pac-Viet Nam
NOV 1965 - MAR 1966 Dry Dock
JUN 1966 - OCT 1966 West Pac
AUG 1966 - Shellback Initiation - 20 AUG 1966 - Pacific Ocean
AUG 1966 - Shellback Initiation - 26 AUG 1966 - Pacific Ocean
MAR 1967 - JUL 1967 West Pac-Viet Nam
OCT 1967 - MAR 1968 West Pac-Viet Nam
AUG 1968 - DEC 1968 West Pac-Viet Nam
OCT 1968 - Shellback Initiation - 4 OCT 1968 - Pacific Ocean
SEP 1969 Decommissioned: 2 SEP 1969


1950 – 1953

In November 1950, the Navy selected "Matchless" for reactivation as it was expanding the Fleet to meet its greatly increased responsibilities resulting from United Nations decision to oppose communist aggression in Korea.

The vessel was towed to Camden, New Jersey, where she was overhauled and converted to a store ship by the New York Shipbuilding Corp.

During this work, she received the best and most modern equipment to enable her to carry out her primary mission, underway replenishment.

Renamed Aludra on 16 January 1951, the ship was placed in commission by the Navy on 19 June 1952, Comdr. Ralph H. Moureau in command.

Assigned to Service Squadron 3, Service Force, Pacific Fleet Aludra arrived at Sasebo, Japan, on 28 October 1952 and took up the tasks of supporting Task Force (TF) 77 in strikes along the east coast of Korea and TF 72 in patrols in the East China Sea and off Formosa.

Ending her first deployment to the western Pacific, she returned to San Francisco, California, on 4 May 1953.

1954 – 1969

Thereafter, for more than 16 years, she alternated operations on the west coast of the United States with tours in the Far East resupplying ships serving in the Orient.

Among the highlights of her service was her participation in Operation Passage to Freedom, the evacuation of thousands of Vietnamese refugees from communist-controlled areas of Vietnam after that country had been partitioned in 1954.

During the early years of her career, she was considered to be a pioneer in the development of improved and faster methods of fleet replenishment.

To help her achieve this end, she received many alterations and tried out a great deal of experimental logistical equipment.

The ship again visited Vietnamese waters in March 1965 and, for a bit over three and one-half years thereafter, devoted most of her efforts to supporting American warships fighting aggression there.

She left that war-torn country for the last time on 19 April 1969 and headed—via Sasebo, Japan—for home.

Aludra arrived at Oakland on 11 May 1969 and, a month later, began preparations for inactivation.

Decommissioned on 12 September 1969, she was returned to the Maritime Administration and berthed with the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, California.

She was withdrawn from the reserve fleet on 19 January 1977 for stripping by the Navy prior to sale. She was sold in November of 1977.

Battle Stars

Aludra received one battle star for Korean service and eight engagement stars for her operations in Vietnam.


VA Benefits

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs now recognizes mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases as service-related medical conditions.  This means that veterans with mesothelioma are able to apply for Veteran Affairs (VA) benefits to pay for their treatment. 

The application process for VA benefits is arduous, and some veterans who have mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease you may have a claim.  A veterans' Service Officer can help you with the VA benefits claims process and can guide you through the process of compensation for your military occupational exposure to asbestos.

Contact a Veterans' Service Officer

Because of the long latency period of mesothelioma, many veterans whose tours of duty ended decades ago may just now be facing a mesothelioma diagnosis.  We at the DAV have a deep respect and gratitude for the men and women who have served our country in times of war and in times of peace.  It is our honor as veterans to help veterans pursue justice after asbestos exposure.  If you have been affected by military asbestos exposure, you may be eligible for compensation.  Please contact a Veterans' Service Officer to schedule a FREE consultation.

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