USS Wharton first found in USS Helena CL-50 War Diary for 20 July 1942,

Below Photo No. (NH 102894)

USS Wharton (AP-7) Awards

USS Wharton (AP-7) was a troop transport in the service of the United States Navy during World War II.
The ship was originally an Emergency Fleet Corporation Design 1029 type built for the
United States Shipping Board as Sea Girt and allocated to the Munson Steamship Line
as the cargo liner on the line's South American route. The ship was renamed Southern Cross
before delivery in 1921. Southern Cross operated in the South American trade from 1921 until 1939.

Southern Cross was acquired by the Navy from the Maritime Commission on 8 November 1939
and two days later renamed Wharton and designated a transport with the hull number AP-7.
She was converted to a troop transport by the Todd Shipbuilding Corp., in the Robbins Drydock
in Erie Basin at Brooklyn, New York. The transport was commissioned USS Wharton at the
New York Navy Yard on 7 December 1940, Capt. Elroy L. Vanderkloot in command.

Wharton departed Brooklyn on 7 January 1941, bound for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where
she conducted shakedown before proceeding on through the Panama Canal to her home port,
Mare Island, California. Assigned to the Naval Transportation Service, Wharton transported
service personnel and their families, as well as cargo, on triangular runs from San Francisco,
San Diego, and Pearl Harbor. She also made one trip to Midway Island.

When the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on 7 December 1941, Wharton was undergoing
overhaul at the Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, California. On 6 January 1942, the transport sailed
from the west coast for her first wartime voyage to the Hawaiian Islands. A series of runs followed in
which Wharton transported service families and dependents home to the west coast on her
eastbound passages and troops and cargo to Hawaii on her westbound trips.

From June through September, Wharton made three voyages to the Southwest Pacific theater
loading and unloading at such ports as Pago Pago, Samoa; Auckland, New Zealand; Espiritu Santo,
New Hebrides; Nouméa, New Caledonia; Canton Island, and Suva, Fiji Islands. Between
6 and 11 August 1942 the ship transported 15 officers and 465 enlisted men of the 7th Naval Construction
Battalion (7th NCB) from American Samoa to Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides with the other 7 officers
and 433 enlisted men of the battalion being aboard President Polk. Wharton returned to the west coast
for an overhaul which lasted into October. The troop transport then began a series of trips to the
Aleutians which lasted from December 1942 to February 1943, carrying troops from Seattle, Washington,
to Kodiak and Dutch Harbor and returning with civilians, troops, and patients. For the remainder of the
year, Wharton made five more trips to the Southwest Pacific, during which she revisited Pago Pago,
Nouméa, Suva, Espiritu Santo, where on 20 Nov 1943 she again embarked the 7th NCB for return
to the United States, and Wellington, while adding Apia, British Samoa; Guadalcanal, Solomons; and
Efate, New Hebrides; to her itinerary.




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