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Liberty ship John W Brown

Liberty ship John W Brown


A typical Liberty ship built by the Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard at Baltimore, Maryland and launched on 27 September 1942. This was America’s Labor Day and she was named after a Labor Leader from Maine who had died in 1941. In all, six Liberty ships were launched that day from various shipyards and all of them were named after famous Labor Leaders.
John W Brown made a total of 13 wartime voyages, most to the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. She also was part of the invasion force of southern France during operation Dragoon in August 1944 and took part during the Anzio landings.
During her wartime service she was usually crewed by 45 merchant seamen and her defensive guns were manned by 41 naval personnel. The gunners, or US Naval Armed Guards to give them their correct name, were in action several times during convoy duty and invasion action and, in fact, shot down at least one enemy plane during August 1944.
In 1946 the WSA assigned her to the City of New York for use as a floating maritime high school. She served in that capacity from 1946 until 1982, graduating thousands of students into the merchant marine service. During this period she was cared for by the students and instructors and maybe because of the high standard of preservation she was acquired by the Project Liberty Ship Inc., to serve as a museum ship and memorial in 1988. She is only one of two Liberty ships now preserved, the Jeremiah O’Brien on the West Coast and John W Brown on the East Coast.
She is maintained and operated solely by a volunteer crew.

Photograph belongs to Stuart Smith.
Photographer unknown.

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My father graduated from her in 1971, it's what got me interested in the maritime industry and attending New York Maritime College. Looked like a great program, and from the looks of his old notebook from his engineering/shop classes the curriculum really allowed their graduates to hit the ground running in either of the departments they chose to work in.

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