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.

USS Bayfield Flag

U.S.S. Bayfield Flag. Click image to enlarge.

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.

USS Bayfield Flag long view

U.S.S. Bayfield Flag. Click image to enlarge.

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.

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).

USS Bayfield BHA archive # 2017.14.32

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.

USS Bayfield Flag showing the vessel name on the flag edge.

Vessel name on the flag border. Click image to enlarge.

USS Bayfield Flag showing manufacturer Valley Forge Flag Co.

Manufacturer name on the flag border. Click image to enlarge.

A view of the stacks in the Pike Research Center

A view of the stacks in the Pike Research Center. Click image to enlarge.


Curious what else lies within the BHA archives? Find out for yourself, as a Pike Research Center volunteer!

There are many fascinating documents, photographs, and objects entrusted to BHA’s archive which need to be entered into our database, to ensure future researchers can access these resources.

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