The USNS Lt. Robert Craig (T-AK-252) was built during the final months of WWII by the California Shipbuilding Corporation of Los Angeles. By the time her proving was completed and delivery was made to J.H. Winchester, the ship’s first operator, the war was already over. She was transferred to the Army Transportation Service in July of 1946 and renamed USNS Lt. Robert Craig. When the Military Sea Transport Service was founded in 1950, it took ownership of the USNS Lt. Robert Craig (T-AK-252) and employed her for supply runs to American bases in the central and western Pacific.
Notably, she took part in the nuclear testing program on the Marshall Islands and then supplied French forces during the First Indochina War. After 1954, she was mainly deployed to the Atlantic, completing some dozen voyages between the US East Coast and Europe throughout the subsequent decade. Like with all Boulder Victory ships of the day, asbestos was used throughout her construction, and the many commercial sailors who crewed her over the years have ended up with respiratory problems because of it.