HISTORY OF THE USS ERNEST J. HINDS
Previously SS Santa Teresa and SS Kent
The USS Ernest J. Hinds was built in 1918 by William Cramp & Sons & Engine Building Company, Philadelphia, Pa.. However her name was not Hinds at the time. She began her career as the SS Santa Teresa and was later renamed the Kent. She was operated prior to World War II by the Merchants & Miners Transportation Company.
This vessel was purchased by the Army in April 1941. It was then tht her name was changed to Ernest Hinds in honor of Major General Ernest Hinds, who was Chief of Artillery, AEF, in World War I.
The Hinds was converted to a troopship by the Bethlehem Steel Company, at Boston and left at once for maneuvers near Cape Cod. Following this she was taken by the Navy at New York in July 1941 and made several trips or diversions to Panama, Guatemala, New Orleans, Charleston and Bermuda before being returned to the Army at New York in March 1942.
The Hinds then went to Bermuda and from there to San Francisco, via New Orleans, Panama, Galapagos Islands, and Central American ports. She arrived in May 1942 and made one trip to Alaska before going to Honolulu, Vila, New Hebrides and Noumea. After return to San Francisco two trips were made to Honolulu, and from that port she left in November for Noumea, Guadalcanal, and Espiritu Santo. En route to the latter on 17 December 1942, she was pursued by a submarine and grounded on a coral reef in Lengo Channel off Guadalcanal. There were no casualties and only slight damage to the ship.
After touching at Suva, the Hinds returned to Honolulu in January 1943 and made several trips to San Francisco before leaving in June for Australia and Bora Bora. Upon return to San Francisco in September 1943 she was selected for conversion to a hospital ship, by Moore Drydock Co., the work being completed in early June 1944. The vessel left San Francisco and sailed for Charleston, S.C. via the Panama Canal. From Charleston she operated to Gibraltar, Naples, and Oran until March 1945.
For the next several months the Hinds continued in regular hospital service between Charleston and Europe, but the overseas ports of call were changed to Oran, Marseilles. Leghorn and Naples. On her last homeward bound trips as a hospital ship, the Hinds wa diverted to New York, arriving in September 1945. At New York she was decommissioned as a mercy ship and underwent minor alterations for use as a troopship for return to the Pacific.
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