Wednesday, March 24, 2010
USS Solace. Commissioned on 08/09/1941; the Solace joined the Fleet on 10/27 and was the first hospital ship to be present in a naval battle when she cared for casualties from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
She won eight engagement stars for participation in this and seven other military operations:
Gilbert Islands, 11/24-26/1943;
occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls, 02/03-04/1944; capture and occupation of Saipan, 06/18/1944-07/02/1944;
capture of Guam 07/24 to 08/15/1944;
occupation of Southern Palau Islands, 09/06 to 10/14/1944;
capture of Iwo Jima 02/23 to 03/10/1945;
and the Okinawa Gunto operation, 03/24 to 06/20/1945.
The Solace was the first hospital ship to be refueled at sea while carrying a full load of patients, near the Gilbert Islands in 11/1943, and the first to receive patients directly from the combat area (in the same campaign).
As an illustration of her activity, during 1943 she traveled 37069 miles, took part in 10 evacuations, 6 of them to transport patients from the New Hebrides area to Aukland and Wellington, New Zealand. Total admissions to the sick list that year amounted to 6465, and she spent 5 months as a station hospital.
During the Iwo Jima and Okinawa operations 1800 units of fresh whole-blood, 1200 units of plasma, 136000 sulfa tablets, and 2.5 billion units of penicillin were administered. She admitted and treated about 25000 patients altogether, 70 percent battle casualties, and steamed over 170000 miles before VJ Day. Thereafter she engaged in transporting Pacific war veterans home and was decommissioned 03/27/1946.
The SOLACE had an overall length of 410 feet, displaced 8650 tons, had a top speed of 18 knots and a cruising range of 7000 miles.
Hospital ships. Solace (AH-5) Folder 3 12/10/1916; U.S. Navy BUMED Library and Archives