Troop Transport Admiral W. L. Capps
By James Donahue
Launched in 1944 as a military troop transport, the 600-foot-long steamship General Hugh J. Gaffey
was first given the name Admiral W. L. Capps. The name was changed after the war ended, however because there were two naval
ships operating under the same name at the same time.
One was under the command of the Army while the other was assigned to the Navy. When the Capps was
transferred to the Army in 1946, the name had to be changed. To make things even more confusing, the ship was under the command
of Captain N. S. Haugen, of the U. S. Coast Guard from the day it was commissioned.
The Capps carried thousands of troops into battle in the Pacific Theater, steaming to Guadalcanal,
the Philippines, Leyte, Okinawa and Saipan.
After the war ended, the Capps was busy bringing troops back home and helping repatriate prisoners
of war that were being held on American soil.
As the General Gaffey, the ship served the Army Transport Service until the Korean War broke out.
At that time the ship was returned to the Navy under the same name and again used for troop transport. She continued this
service for almost two decades, carrying men and material into not only the Korean conflict, but also the Vietnam War that
was soon to follow.
In November 1968 the Gaffey went into temporary semi-retirement. It was laid up with the National
Defense Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, California. Then in 1978 the Navy reinstated the Gaffey to serve as a barracks ship for
the crews of ships undergoing overhaul at Bremerton, Washington.
In the end, the Gaffey was moored at Pearl Harbor until 2,000, then towed out to sea and sunk as a