USS Haven (AH-12) Howard's hand-written comments: USS Haven returning with lots of sick and wounded men. GG [Golden Gate] Bridge in the background.
USS Haven, an 11,141-ton hospital ship, was built in 1944 at Chester, Pennsylvania, as the U.S. Maritime Commission's C4-S-B2 freighter Marine Hawk. She was acquired by the Navy in June 1944 and commissioned, after conversion, in May 1945. Haven reached Pearl Harbor in July 1945 and carried patients back to San Francisco, arriving just before the Japanese surrender in August 1945. She then sailed to Nagasaki, Japan, where in September she received on board a group of Allied ex-prisoners of war, some of whom were suffering from the effects of the atomic blast there. During the rest of 1945 Haven transported patients from various Pacific locations to San Francisco. During much of 1946 she supported the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll, operating for part of this period as a transport for the evacuation of wounded personnel under the temporary designator APH-112. She resumed duties as a regular hospital ship (AH-12) in late 1946, carrying patients from the Western Pacific to California, but began inactivation in February 1947 and decommissioned at San Diego that July.
In September 1950, following the sinking in a collision of her sister, USS Benevolence (AH-13), in August, Haven recommissioned to help respond to the great need for hospital ships during the Korean War. Ten days after commissioning she sailed from the west coast for Inchon, Korea, where she remained until advancing Chinese Communist forces forced her to move south in January 1951. For the next three years she supported U.S. forces in Korea, primarily from Pusan and Inchon, with maintenance periods in the United States between October 1951 and January 1952, between September 1952 and January 1953 when a helicopter flight deck was fitted aft, and between September 1953 and January 1954. With Korea in an uneasy state of truce, Haven sailed for French Indochina in September 1954 to support the withdrawal of French troops after the partitioning of the former colony. She delivered French personnel to Oran and Marseille before returning to Long Beach, California, in November 1954.
After supporting the Pacific Fleet in California during 1955 and 1956, Haven decommissioned at Long Beach in June 1957. She remained there as a stationary floating hospital until stricken from the Navy List in March 1967, In June of that year she was transferred to the Maritime Administration reserve fleet. C4 cargo ships of her type were then in demand for commercial service because of their relatively large size and engines-aft configuration, and Haven was sold by the Maritime Administration in 1968, lengthened by 145 ft., and converted into the chemical carrier Clendenin. Renamed Alaskan upon completion of conversion, she served the Union Carbide Corpoation until scrapped in 1987.