The USS Mark AKL-12 was built by Avondale Shipyard, Avondale, LA. in 1943 for the U.S. Army. She saw action in WWII, rendering her services of resupply to various units engaged in the Pacific Island Campaigns. After the war, The Mark remained in the Philippine Islands area as an Army logistic support vessel until 1950 when she was turned over to the Navy and redesignated an AKL and placed in commissioned service.
During the period from 1956 to 1965, AKL-12 was placed “Out of commission in service” and was used to shuttle supplies and passengers between Subic Bay and Sangly Point, Philippines. In November 1965, Mark, the AKL in its class, was placed back in commission and shifted its area of operation from the Philippines to Vietnam.
Upon arriving in Vietnam Mark immediately demonstrated her ability to meet and carry out her commitments in providing food, spare parts, ordnance, and ammunition to the far flung field activities of the U.S. navy in Vietnam.
As a result of sounding and bottom surveys conducted in the Dinh River by Mark, a 1950 survey by the French Government was verified and the decision was made to establish a naval base on this river at Cat Lo for the maintenance of River Patrol Boats and United States Coast Guard Patrol Craft (WPB’s). Similarly Mark conducted the survey of the Dong Nia River, providing the feasibility of using anchorage at Cat Lai, near Saigon for deep draft ammunition ships.
In July 1966 Mark stood out of the mouth of the Mekong Delta’s Bassac River, thereby successfully navigating through uncharted waters previously considered so treacherous that the Mekong-Bassac pilot’s association had not piloted a ship through this area since 1951. The survey by Mark and the opening of the Bassac River to ship travel enabled considerable steaming time to be saved in the area by logistic resupply. At the same time it enabled the Navy to establish additional bases throughout the Mekong Delta. While guaranteeing the ability of Mark and similar ships to resupply them. Mark’s resupply trips were not limited to just the rivers of the Mekong Delta. In addition, Mark carried her logistic support to Naval Coastal Installations on the Gulf of Thailand side of South Vietnam. For her significant accomplishments in a multitude of area’s Mark received a Letter of Commendation from the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Vietnam in November 1966.
As part of U.S. Naval Support Activity, Saigon from March 1966 to 25 March 1971, Mark was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for her significant contribution to the overall excellence of the U.S. Naval Support Activity.
In the execution of her resupply mission, Mark frequently came under attack by fire from the Viet Cong. Mark received her Purple Heart under attack by fire from the Viet Cong on 20 February 1968 when on a resupply mission on the Mekong River, she sustained a Viet Cong rocket hit amidships, wounding twelve personnel, none critically.
From 1 January 1968 to 1 July 1970 Mark steamed through 80,000 miles of rivers and coastal waters of the Mekong River Delta while delivering over 21,230,000 pounds of vital cargo, including ammunition, to United States and Allied Naval Forces.
Awards earned during the Vietnam War: Combat Action Ribbon, (3) Navy Unit Commendations, RVN Gallantry Cross with Palm, RVN Civil Action Medal, First Class, with Palm, RVN Campaign Medal with 60’s device, and (9) Battle Stars for her Vietnam Service Medal.
USS Mark (AKL-12)
From: Commander Services Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet
Subj.: Lease of USS Mark (AKL-12) to the Chinese Navy
The Secretary of the Navy has approved the lease of USS Mark (AKL-12) to the Chinese Navy in Taiwan on 1 July, 1971. The Commanding Officer is hereby directed to decommission USS Mark (AKL-12) immediately prior to turning the ship over to the Chinese Navy on 1 July, 1971.
LT. William B. Robinson Jr., United States Navy, was commanding officer at the time of her turn-over…
More USS Mark Photos courtesy of Dick Raffl:
These Photos submitted by QM2 Dave Rinehart – USS Mark April 1970 to July 1971:
Damage from hitting a barge in April 1970