Haven (AH-12), was the lead ship of her class of hospital ships
built for the U.S. Navy during World War II. Laid down as SS Marine
Hawk, she was transferred from the Maritime Commission for
conversion to a hospital ship, and served in that capacity through
the end of the war. She was redesignated APH-112 (evacuation
transport) in June 1946 for participation in Operation Crossroads,
returning to her original AP-12 in October 1946. Haven participated
in the Korean War and eventually ending her military career acting
as a floating hospital in Long Beach, California. She was later
converted to a chemical carrier and scrapped in 1987.
World War II
Initially named SS Marine Hawk, Haven was launched under Maritime
Commission contract by Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Corp., Chester,
Pennsylvania, 24 June 1944; sponsored by Mrs. E. Lang; acquired and
placed in service 15 June to 19 June 1944 for transportation to her
conversion yard, Todd-Erie Shipyard, Brooklyn. Upon completion of
her conversion to Navy use, she commissioned 5 May 1945, Captain T.
T. Patterson in command.
Following shakedown training, the hospital ship sailed 14 June via
the Panama Canal for the Pacific Theater, where the war was reaching
its climax. Reaching Pearl Harbor 6 July the ship brought patients
on board for return to San Francisco. After returning to Hawaii 11
August, just prior to the Japanese surrender, Haven sailed to
Okinawa and Nagasaki. She arrived off the destroyed Japanese city 11
September and brought on board a group of allied ex-prisoners of
war, some of them suffering from the effects of the atomic blast.
During the remainder of 1945 the ship was engaged in transporting
patients from Guam, Saipan, and Pearl Harbor to San Francisco,
arriving after her second long voyage 31 January 1946.
At San Francisco Haven took on radiological equipment and scientific
researchers in preparation for the forthcoming atomic tests in the
Pacific, Operation Crossroads. She sailed 29 May for Pearl Harbor
and arrived Bikini Atoll 12 June 1946, temporarily re-designated
APH-112. The ship remained in the test area supervising the medical
aspects of the experiments throughout the operation, and arrived
Kwajalein 26 August to assist in the inspection of the test ships.
Haven departed 10 October for Pearl Harbor and the United States,
and upon her arrival and decontamination was assigned once again to
transport troops from the Pacific outposts to California as AH-12.
This important duty occupied her until February 1947, when she
reported to San Diego and decommissioned 1 July. Haven entered the
Pacific Reserve Fleet, San Diego group.
With the outbreak of the Korean War, hospital ships were desperately
needed. Following the sinking of sister ship USS Benevolence (AH-13)
off fog-bound San Francisco in August 1950, Haven was taken out of
reserve and commissioned 15 September 1950. She sailed 25 September
via Pearl Harbor for Inchon, Korea, site of one of the most
audacious and skillful amphibious operations in history. The
hospital ship remained off Inchon caring for casualties until 6
January 1951, when the attacking Chinese Communists forced her to
move further south. She steamed via Pusan to Sasebo, Japan.
Haven returned to Pusan- 5 February to care for battle casualties,
and after another voyage to Inchon remained at Pusan until she
sailed for the United States arriving San Francisco 30 October 1951.
Eager to get back into action, however, she began her second tour of
Korean duty 7 January 1952. She operated off Inchon and Pusan during
the months that followed, receiving many of her patients by
helicopters directly from the front lines on two floating helicopter
landing pads with one moored on each side midway down her hull.
Haven sailed again for the United States 16 September 1952, and,
after the installation of a new flight deck to facilitate helicopter
evacuation of patients, once more steamed out of San Diego 24
January 1953. She returned to her regular station in Inchon harbor
where during the next 7 months she treated almost 3,000 patients.
The veteran hospital ship sailed for the United States 20 August
1953, and, after her arrival at San Francisco 3 September, operated
off the coast of California. She began her fourth tour of duty in
Korea 4 January 1954, arriving Inchon 7 February to provide regular
medical care for troops. Haven also made occasional visits to Japan;
and on 1 September with Korea in a state of uneasy truce, she was
ordered to French Indochina, arriving Saigon 9 September. There she
brought French troops on board as Viet Nam was partitioned and the
French army withdrawn. Haven sailed to Oran and Marseille in October
to disembark the soldiers, and completing her round-the-world voyage
arrived Long Beach via the Panama Canal 1 November 1954.
Korean War campaigns
Haven won nine battle stars for its part in the Korean war,
participating in the following campaigns:
North Korean Aggression
17 October to 2 November 1950
Second Korean Winter
30 January to 20 March 1952
Communist China Aggression
3 November 1959 to 9 January 1951
Korean Defense Summer-Fall 1952
1 May to 28 June 1952
19 July to 24 August 1952
First UN Counter Offensive
5 February to 2 April 1951
Third Korean Winter
10 February to 6 April 1953
26 April to 30 April 1953
Communist China Spring Offensive
26 April to 8 July 1951
Korea Summer-Fall 1953
1 May to 17 June 1953
9 July to 27 July 1953
UN Summer-Fall Offensive
9 July to 22 August 1951
9 September to 7 October 1951
Haven took part in fleet maneuvers and provided hospital services
for sailors through 1955 and 1956 and decommissioned at Long Beach
30 June 1957. She was placed in an "In Reserve, In Service" status,
and remained moored at Long Beach acting as a floating hospital.
During this time she served as a backdrop for the CBS television
She was struck from the Navy List on 1 March 1967. Haven was
returned to the Maritime Administration Reserve Fleet on 5 June
Type C4 ships of like Haven were then in demand for commercial
service because of their relatively large size and engines-aft
configuration. Haven was sold by the Maritime Administration in
1968, lengthened by 145 feet (44.2 m), and converted into the
chemical carrier Clendenin. Renamed Alaskan upon completion of
conversion, she served with Union Carbide until sold for scrap in