The United States Ship Chilton (APA-38), ex S.S. Sea Needle, was home to some two thousand seamen over more than thirty years of service to their country. She provided not only mess and billet to each man; but also a means of transportation to get the task done, a protecting shelter against all earthly elements and, above all, an aura of invincibility as their armor against all the perils of war and the unforgiving expanse of the sea.
Chilton was unique in her ability to adapt to the Navy's needs: a training vessel for amphibious crews and the foot soldiers and Marines capturing the beach, a general command ship replete with the latest communication gear and the communicators to utilize it under a flag commander, a beachhead sanctuary for those who were suffering and in need of medical expertise, a roving trouble-shooter that could put muscle into an unknown revolutionary situation on a few hours notice and a self-protected means of removal for endangered non-combatant Americans caught in foreign upheavals. Chilton has moreover been witness to both birth and death among her many thousands of passengers and crew, albeit rarely enough to be notable for its infrequency alone. She has also upheld the Naval traditions of "diplomats in uniform" wherever she was sent from Hong Kong to Izmir and uncounted parts in between.
The following story is by and for the men who served in her. They along, from Seaman to Admiral, know the spirit and brotherhood that has become forever a part of their lives. They alone know the love of life and a camaraderie with their shipmates that came from the very frames and spaces that, put together with their very lives, spelled "Chilton."
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
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Assembled by John H. Donald, Jr. Pharmacist's Mate 2/c USNR and John S. Carpenter, Ensign (later Lieutenant Senior Grade) from official records, personal diaries, and especially from the memories of those men who sailed in her, knew her and loved her.
This site is dedicated to all of those brave men.
1942 - 1972