USNS Sgt. Jonah E. Kelley

Kelley’s family on the deck of the USNS Sgt. Jonah E. Kelley during the dedication ceremony in 1947.

USNS Sgt. Jonah E. Kelley (T-APC-116)

USNS Sgt. Jonah E. Kelley (T-APC-116), was originally built as Link Splice under a United States Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 2489) and was laid down on 29 January 1945 by the Southeastern Shipbuilding Corporation in Savannah, Georgia. She was launched on 17 March 1945, sponsored by Mrs. L. W. Grothaus and delivered to the War Shipping Administration for operation by the Moore McCormack Lines on 28 August 1945.

USNS Sgt. Jonah E. Kelley
USNS Sgt. Jonah E. Kelley

Less than a year later, Link Splice was returned to the WSA and on 20 June 1946, she was transferred to the Army for use as a coastal cargo ship. Renamed USAT Sgt. Jonah E. Kelley on 31 October 1947, the ship served the Army Transportation Service as an XAKc until the spring of 1948. Conversion followed; and during her last year of Army service, she carried passengers and cargo.

In October 1949, the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) was established. Five months later, the converted C1-MK-AV1 was transferred to the US Navy for MSTS use and placed in service as USNS Sgt. Jonah E. Kelley (T-APC-116). Assigned to North Atlantic operations, for almost a decade, she carried passengers and limited cargo from east coast ports, primarily New York, to northern bases, primarily Argentia and St. John’s, Newfoundland. In November 1959, her passenger service was discontinued; and she commenced cargo runs between the same ports which, with few interruptions, she continued for another 10 years.

In November 1969, Sgt. Jonah E. Kelley was replaced by USNS Mirfak (T-AK-271); and, on the 24th, she returned to New York for the last time. She was then placed out of service and inactivation was begun. In late December, she was shifted to Norfolk; and, on the 22d, she was transferred to the Maritime Administration for berthing in the James River unit of the National Defense Reserve Fleet where she remains into the fall of 1974.

Dedication Ceremony

In 1947, the US Navy held a dedication ceremony in honor of the new ship, USNS Sgt. Jonah E. Kelley.  In attendance were Eddie’s entire family, Jonah and Rebecca Kelley, and his two sisters Beulah and Georgianna.

Letter from the Captain

Letter from the captain of the ship in 1967 to Rebecca Kelley.  Enclosed was an updated photo of the USNS Sgt. Jonah E. Kelley.

Naval History

USNS Sgt. Jonah E. Kelley (T-APC-116)

International Radio Call SignInternational Radio Call Sign:
November – Quebec – Hotel – Delta

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Nation Defense Service MedalNation Defense Service Medal

Navy Ball Cap

SGT. Jonah E. Kelley (T-APC) Class Ship Cap
Official Command Ball Cap

Sargent Jonah E. Kelly Class Coastal Transport:

  • Laid down, 29 January 1945, as MV Link Splice a Maritime Commission type (C1-M-AV1) hull, under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 2489) at Southeastern Shipbuilding Corp., Savannah, GA.
  • Launched, 17 March 1945
  • Delivered to the Maritime Commission, 28 August 1945 under contract to Moore-McCormack Line for operations
  • Returned to the Maritime Commission, 20 June 1946, and assigned to the Army Transportation Service (ATS)
  • Renamed and commissioned by the US Army Transportation Service USAT Sgt Jonah E. Kelley, 31 October 1947
  • Decommissioned by the US Army and turned over to the US Navy, 1 July 1950
  • Placed in service by the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) as USNS Sgt Jonah E. Kelley (T-APC-116)
  • Placed out of service, 24 November 1969
  • Transferred to MARAD, 22 December 1969, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River, Fort Eustis, VA.
  • Struck from the Naval Register, date unknown
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 3 October 1972, to Union Minerals and Alloys Corp., New York, N.Y.


  • Displacement: 2,382 t.(lt) 7,450 t.(fl)
  • Length: 338′ 6″
  • Beam: 50′
  • Draft: 21′ 1″
  • Speed: 11.5 kts.
  • Complement: unknown
  • Largest Boom Capacity: 30 t.
  • Cargo Capacity non refrigerated: 177,515 Cu ft., 3,945 DWT
  • Armament: one single 3″/50 cal dual purpose gun mount
  • Fuel Capacity Diesel: 6,300 Bbls
  • Propulsion: one Nordberg TSM6 Diesel engine, two Diesel-drive 250Kw 120V/240V D.C. Ship’s Service Generators, singe propeller, 1,700shp