Item of the Month
U.S.S. Bayfield Flag
Item of the Month is a series of articles featuring some of the amazing treasures that can be found in the BHA archives. A rare glimpse of the technology, fashion, and everyday items of a bygone era.
This flag was used on the U.S.S. Bayfield (APA33) during World War II. The flag was manufactured in 1940 by the Valley Forge Flag Company. The Flag Heritage Foundation acquired the flag on March 26, 1975, from C.R. Rungee. The Bayfield Heritage Association purchased the flag from that foundation on June 6, 2020.
The U.S.S. Bayfield departed New York for the British Isles in February of 1944. It arrived in Glasgow, Scotland the same month. The Bayfield then began service as a supply and hospital ship in addition to continuing her duties as a flagship after the troops left.
The transport was named after Bayfield County and the City of Bayfield. The City of Bayfield has only one resident who ever sailed on the USS Bayfield, John A. Spencer, a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. He was a member of the 1st Marine Division that left San Diego, Calif., on Sept. 2, 1950. This division was composed mostly of men from northern Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. They arrived at Inchon, Korea, on Sept. 20, 1950, and were immediately placed in action.
Bayfield earned four battle stars for World War II service, four battle stars for Korean service, and two battle stars for service in Vietnam. The crew referred to her as the ‘Mighty B’.
U.S.S. Bayfield -Photographed on 6 February 1952. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command. – Catalog #: NH 99243. Click image to enlarge.
The transport continued to serve off the coast of Vietnam until May 28, 1961, ferrying troops between points as needed and transporting casualties to the hospital ship Sanctuary (AH-17).
U.S.S. Bayfield – BHA Archive #217.14.32. Click image to enlarge.
She was placed out of commission, in reserve, on June 28, 1968. Later that year, a board of inspection and survey found the transport to be unfit for further service. Her name was struck from the Navy list on October 1, 1968.
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