Stuff You Should Know
USS Murzim was a cargo ship belonging to the Crater class, built during World War II to be used by the US Navy for war operations. The ship was named after Murzim, a star in the constellation Canis Major. As a cargo ship, USS Murzim was responsible for transporting cargo and troops in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater.
Built under a MARCOM contract, the ship was laid down in July 1942 as the Liberty class ship SS Brigham Young at the California Shipbuilding Corporation’s shipyards in Terminal Island. It was transferred to the US Navy in April 1943 and underwent conversion to a naval cargo ship at Los Angeles Shipbuilding & Drydock Company’s shipyards. It was commissioned in May that year under Lieutenant J.E. King’s command.
USS Murzim’s crew bears the fame of being the only US Navy crew that were ordered to abandon the ship while at docks because of a fire accident on the ship when it was fully stocked with ammunition. The fire was extinguished, avoiding the catastrophe.
Throughout the year 1943, the ship provided ammunition among American bases in the South Pacific and then, starting with next year, provided support in New Zealand, New Caledonia, New Hebrides, Fijis, and the Solomons as well as supporting the invasion operations in the Philippines where, under heavy enemy fire and constant danger, its crew managed to supply the other ships with ammunition needed for the attacks. In late November 1944, the vessel managed to shoot down a Japanese reconnaissance aircraft that nearly crashed into it, but the ship’s guns were able to hit it one more time and change its course at the last moment.
After a short trip back to Manus for a resupply, the ship returned to the Philippine Islands and resumed its mission as an ammunition station.
After the Japanese surrender, the ship was planned to be used in atomic tests in the Marshall Islands but the mission was canceled and it was sent to Pearl Harbor for decommissioning. It was placed in the reserve fleet at Suisun Bay in August 1947 where it remained until March 1973 when it was sold to Nicolay Joffe Co. for scrapping.