Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
History of the U.S.S. PRESIDENT JACKSON
President Jackson was laid down as MC hull 53 by the Newport
News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Va. 2 October
1939, launched 7 June 1940, sponsored by Mrs. William G. McAdoo;
and delivered to the American President Lines 25 October 1940.
After two round-the-world trips from New York, President Jackson
was acquired by the Navy 30 June 1941, and commissioned 16
January 1942, Comdr. C. W. Weitzel in command.
Following shakedown and practice amphibious assault training on
the West Coast, President Jackson sailed for the South Pacific 1
July 1942, as a unit of Transport Division 2. She landed the 1st
Battalion, 2nd Marines, on Florida Island Solomons, 7 August
1942. At mid-month she evacuated 500 survivors of the "First
Battle of Savo Island" to Noumea, then began bringing in
reinforcements and evacuating casualties of land and sea
Redesignated APA-18 on 1 February 1943, President Jackson
continued to transport reinforcement troops and cargo in support
of the consolidation of the southern Solomons. On 30 June, she
landed the 172nd U.S. Army Combat Team and two construction
battalion companies on Rendova, then transported survivors of
McCawley, torpedoed by a submarine, to Noumea.
Operating with other vessels of TF 31, President Jackson landed
elements of the 3rd Marine Division at Empress Augusta Bay,
Bougainville, 1 November. Seven days later while enroute back to
that island with reinforcements, she was hit by a 550 pound bomb
which fortunately did not explode.
On 25 March 1944 President Jackson landed Army, Navy, and
Construction Battalion units on Emirau Island and in April, with
Transport Division Two, she carried the 40th Division, U.S.A.,
to New Britain, and returned the 1st Marine Division to Russell
Island in the Solomons. With TF 53, in July, she landed elements
of the 3rd Marine Division on Guam 21 July, then evacuated
casualties to Pearl Harbor and the United States. On 23 October
the ship returned to duty with Transport Division 32 in the
south and southwest Pacific areas.
While operating with TF 77, President Jackson landed elements of
the 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army, in the reinforcement
landing at Lingayen Gulf 11 January 1945. On 21 February, while
operating with TF 51, she landed elements of the 3rd Marine
Division on Iwo Jima. Exposed to enemy counter-battery fire she
was hit once in a barrage of 37mm fire with minor damage and
casualties. On 6 March she departed Iwo Jima with 515 casualties
for Saipan and Noumea.
With Army and Navy casualties and miscellaneous passengers
aboard, the transport sailed for the United States 7 May 1945.
She got underway from San Francisco 14 June and completed two
round-trips to Manila before the cessation of hostilities which
found her in drydock at Seattle. She then entered upon "Magic
Carpet" duty. She continued to operate with the Pacific Fleet
until 1949, seeing service in both Japan and China. She was
assigned to the Military Sea Transportation Service with her
designation changed to T-AP-18, 22 October 1949.
On 7 February 1950 President Jackson, with cabin and troop
passengers on board, got underway from San Francisco for
Norfolk, arriving 23 February. She returned to San Francisco 25
March, subsequently making round trips to Manila and Pearl
With the outbreak of the Korean Conflict President Jackson
reported to the Commander, Amphibious Force, Pacific Fleet for
operational control. Loading troops and equipment of the 2nd
Battalion, 1st Marine Division at San Diego, she sailed 14
August for Japan, arriving Kobe 29 August to prepare for the
invasion at Inchon. Departing Kobe 11 September with vessels of
TG 90.2, she unloaded on the assault beaches of Inchon, served
as a casualty receiving ship, then evacuated the casualties to
Yokohama and San Francisco.
On 12 October President Jackson sailed from San Diego carrying
miscellaneous cargo for Japan. Returning to San Francisco, she
subsequently called at Seattle, Alaska, Japan and Korea. After
another run to Alaska in April 1952, President Jackson departed
San Francisco for Pago Pago to transport dependents from Pago
Pago to Pearl Harbor, returning to San Francisco in August.
During 1953 she operated between San Francisco, Alaska, and
Carrying a full load of passengers and cargo for Yokohama Japan,
President Jackson got underway from San Francisco 25 January
1954, returning 23 February. After two roundtrips to Pearl
Harbor, she departed for Alaska again 20 April with various
units of the 30th Engineers Base Topographic Battalion,
returning to San Francisco 14 May before making a second voyage
to Alaska ending at San Francisco 5 June.
On 11 June President Jackson got underway for Yokohama carrying
a full load of dependents and a small number of troop
passengers, returning to San Francisco 8 July with passengers
and cargo. On 28 December she shifted to Todd Shipyard, Alameda,
Calif. for phase one of inactivation. She was placed out of
commission, in reserve, berthed at San Francisco, 6 July 1955.
She was struck from the Navy List and transferred to the
Maritime Commission 1 October 1958.
President Jackson earned 8 battle stars for World War II service
and 3 battle stars for Korean War service.