SUMMARY OF MILITARY SERVICE - USS WEST POINT (AP 23)
Between 15 June 1941 and 28 February 1946, the USS WEST POINT (AP 23) sailed 436,144 nautical miles, and transported 505,020 souls to their destinations all over the world. During that period of time, she never lost a single passenger to hostile action.
WEST POINT had the largest capacity of any USN troopship in service during World War II. On one voyage, she carried over 9,000 people, including the ship's company of approximately 750 sailors and marines. Affectionately called The Grey Ghost by her faithful crew, she crossed the Pacific 15 times and the Atlantic 41 times, almost always sailing alone and depending on her speed and maneuverability to avoid the enemy.
During her 56-1/2 months active duty, the crew of AP 23 often performed heavy maintenance and major repairs; tasks normally done in port. A tribute to her crew - and her builders - WEST POINT never suffered a breakdown during this entire period of strenuous service to the fleet.
The statistics, the 'sailing alone' stories and the near misses associated with the ship's naval career are both impressive and unique. She sailed more miles, mostly alone - and in harm's way - and transported more troops overseas - and back - without any loss of life in combat than any other American ship during WWII. Which, of course, means ever in the history of the United States Navy.
Like the majority of her devoted crew, she was drafted from civilian life and, at war's end, returned to a successful career as the pride of the American Merchant Marine - the famous luxury liner SS AMERICA. Even her entry into and discharge from naval service were uncommon, for both events transpired at her birthplace - a private shipyard. She may well have been the only United States naval vessel to have that distinction.