USS Williamsburg was a US Navy gunboat, a former private yacht, that served as a presidential yacht from 1945 to 1953.
The steel-hulled, diesel-powered yacht Aras
was laid down on March 19, 1930 by the Bath Iron Works
; launched on December 8, 1930; and delivered to wood-pulp magnate Hugh J. Chisholm on January 15, 1931.Aras
displaced 1,805 tons fully loaded; with a length of 243 feet; 9 inches long; a beam of 36 feet; and a draft of 14 feet. Her two Winton diesels generated 1,100 bhp, with a speed of 13.5 knots
The U.S. Navy acquired Aras
on April 24, 1941, and renamed her Williamsburg
. The former pleasure craft entered the Brewer Drydock and Repair Co., of Brooklyn
, New York
, on June 23 for conversion into a gunboat
U.S. Naval Service
(PG-56) was commissioned at the New York Navy Yard
on October 7, 1941, with Lt. Commander Frederick S. Hall as her commanding officer. Williamsburg
was ordered to the Norfolk Navy Yard
to complete fitting-out, arriving on November 5.
As a gunboat, Williamsburg
was armed with two 3-inch gun mounts, six .50 caliber machine guns, two .30 caliber Lewis machine guns, two dct, one "Y" gun, 16 rifles, and 10 pistols. Her crew complement was 81.
After final alterations, the gunboat departed Norfolk
on December 2, touched briefly at Washington, D.C.
, and eventually arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia
, on December 6, the day before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor
World War II
... Read More