For the seventh time in less than six months, a retired ship considered a high priority for scrapping is scheduled to leave the U.S. Maritime Administration’s James River Reserve Fleet on Tuesday, January 4th. The General Nelson M. Walker, the latest in a wave of ships to leave the James River, will be towed to the Esco Marine facility
in Brownsville, Texas, to be dismantled.
“Each ship towed from the fleet demonstrates the Administration's commitment to the citizens of this region,” said Maritime Administrator Captain William G. Schubert. “We're getting the job done. We promised to remove these ships and we continue to deliver on that promise.”
The General Nelson M. Walker was first commissioned as the Admiral H.T. Mayo (AP-125). The vessel transported troops between Marseilles and the U.S. and between Okinawa and the U.S. between June and September 1945. In October 1945, the Admiral Mayo participated in the first of four "Magic Carpet" voyages to Tokyo and Manila carrying replacements for battle-weary veterans whom the vessel was to bring back home. The final voyages were completed in March 1946. The vessel proceeded to New York where it was decommissioned in May 1946. The General Walker was transferred to the Military Sea Transportation Service in August 1965. From December 1965 to August 1966, it made five cruises from San Francisco to Japan, Okinawa, and Vietnam. Following decommissioning and storage, the vessel was transferred to MARAD in 1970.
The departure schedule is subject to weather and safety clearances. Preparations for towing must be approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. Towing can take place only after the ship is deemed safe and seaworthy and if weather permits.