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The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

-- Sun Tzu

USS Neville (AP-16, later APA-9), 1941-1946

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USS Neville, a 7475 ton transport, was built at Alameda, California, in 1918 as the civilian steamship Independence. She briefly served as USS Independence (ID # 3676) in late 1918 and early 1919 and was modified to become the merchant ship City of Norfolk in 1930. The Navy acquired her late in 1940. After conversion to a troopship, she was commissioned in mid-May 1941 as USS Neville. During the rest of 1941 and into 1942, she operated in the Atlantic and Caribbean areas. Neville made two trans-Atlantic voyages to the British Isles in February and March 1942 and was sent through the Panama Canal a month later to help build up the defenses of the south Pacific.

Neville participated in the Tulagi landings in early August 1942. This operation represented the first serious Allied offensive of the Pacific War and set off a lengthy fight to hold Guadalcanal and Tulagi against Japanese efforts to take them back. Neville supported this campaign until December 1942, when it was approaching its conclusion, then returned to the United States.

Reclassified as an attack transport, with the new hull number APA-9, at the beginning of February 1943, Neville was soon transferred to the Atlantic theater and went on to the Mediterranean Sea in June to take part in the Sicily invasion. The ship returned to the U.S. in August and was ordered back to the Pacific, where she was employed in the amphibious assaults on Makin Island, in the Gilberts, in November 1943 and on Eniwetok, Marshall Islands, in February 1944. Her final combat assignment was the invasion of Saipan, in June 1944.

After the Saipan operation, Neville became an amphibious training ship, serving in that role until the Pacific War's end in August 1945. She spent the rest of the year transporting service personnel to and from the former war zone. Steaming back to the Atlantic in January 1946, USS Neville was decommissioned at the end of April and stricken from the Navy List in August 1946. She was scrapped in 1957.

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This Day in History
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