Named after the American University of Washington DC this Victory class transport will have a long and illustrious career serving American troops in all 20th century wars fought by the US in East Asia. In the final weeks of WWII she will take the dangerous job of transporting munitions and after the ending of hostilities she will get soldiers back home. Post WWII, she is chartered by the American Export Lines to help with reconstruction efforts in Europe under the Marshall Plan as well as transport supplies to the Soviet Union. During one of these trips she is used as an ice breaker by Capt. A. D. Cushman, which serves as a testament to the quality of its construction. She will return to the Pacific at the outbreak of the Korean War and later between 1966 and 1969 for Vietnam. Deactivated in October of that year, she is placed on the James River, where she will remain until 1985 when she enjoys a $2.5 million renovation as part of a study to determine the costs of rehabilitating Victory ships.
This was very fortunate, as most of the asbestos used in her construction would have been removed, so that the many tourists who will visit her after being turned into a museum in 1999 won’t be exposed to the same risk of contamination as her crews.