Finding the SS Maryville Victory

There are benefits to having a blog.

Last Veteran’s Day, I posted a blog in honor of my grandpa Charles Mickelsen and his experiences while serving in World War II and Korea. I mentioned he served in the Navy aboard the SS Maryville Victory, a cargo ship, but I had not been able to find a photo of the ship.

Imagine my pleasant surprise when a man named Nathan Weinbaum saw my blog and posted a comment that I could find two photos of the ship on the Blount County, Tenn., Veteran Affairs Facebook page. I went there and found them. Knowing Grandpa once stood aboard this ship, it gave me goose bumps to see these photos.

My grandpa Charles Mickelsen served aboard the SS Maryville Victory, a cargo ship, during World War II.

My grandpa Charles Mickelsen served aboard the SS Maryville Victory, a cargo ship, during World War II.

The following article accompanied the photos.


The Victory ship was a type of cargo ship produced in large numbers by North American shipyards during World War II to replace losses caused by German submarines. The Victory Ships were built by the California Shipbuilding Corporation during WWII for the United States Maritime Commission and are named Universities and Colleges in the United States.

The Maryville Victory Ship was launched on Feb. 22, 1945 and honors Maryville College located in Maryville, Tenn. Like all Victory Ships, it has a 10,500 D.W. tonnage and speed suitable for both war and peacetime service. The Keel was laid on Dec. 28, 1944.

The California Shipbuilding Corporation delivered to the U. S. Maritime Commission an average of one ship every 72 hours since Sept. 27, 1941 to the date of the S.S. Maryville Victory.

In January 1945, President Lloyd of Maryville College received a letter from the United States Maritime Commission, Washington, which read in part as follows:

“It is a pleasure to advise you that the Maritime Commission is naming one of the new Victory ships in honor of Maryville College. This vessel is one of a series going into service during 1945, which will be named after American colleges and universities. The S. S. MARYVILLE VICTORY is under construction by the California Shipbuilding Corporation, Wilmington, California.”

The launching was set for Feb. 22, 1945 and the College was invited to be represented. Obviously it was not practicable for anyone at Maryville to make the long journey necessary to be present. President Lloyd therefore appointed as his representative Lamar S. Wilson, ’21, of Los Angeles, youngest son of the late President Emeritus Samuel Tyndale Wilson, and the names of Maryville alumni known to be in southern California were given to the California Shipbuilding Corporation to receive invitation.

Another view of the SS Maryville Victory.

Another view of the SS Maryville Victory.



Feb. 22, 1945

The S. S. MARYVILLE VICTORY is one of the Maritime Commission’s new wartime and postwar cargo Victory ships, of which the first were launched in February and March 1944. It is a three-deck vessel 455 feet long with a beam of 62 feet; its deadweight tonnage is 10,800 and its cargo tonnage capacity 9,146; it is driven by 6,000 horsepower steam turbine-gear engines with over twice the horsepower of the Liberty ship, and has a speed of 15 knots.

The S. S. MARYVILLE VICTORY has been assigned to the McCormick Steamship Division of Pope and Talbot, Inc., San Francisco, for operation. Maryville College has furnished the ship’s library of about 130 volumes for use of the crew. This was done through the American Merchant Marine Library Association at a cost to the College of $350. The name of the College as donor of the library is being placed on the front cover of the April 1945 issue of the Maryville College Alumni Magazine is a picture of the S. S. MARYVILLE VICTORY as she slid down the long greased ways a few seconds after the christening. The picture on the back cover shows the Victory ship at sea.

I’m grateful to Mr. Weinbaum and the Blount County (Tenn.) Veteran Affairs for these photos. They mean a great deal to me.


Trent Toone

My name is Trent Toone and I’m a journalist for the Deseret News, where I write for a variety of feature sections. I was raised in Northern Utah and graduated from the University of Utah in 2003. Since then I have worked for several newspapers and received various awards over my journalism career. I am the author of “No Excuses, No Regrets: The Eric Weddle Story,” the sports biography of San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle. I served an LDS mission to Santiago, Chile, and spent a year teaching seminary. Like my father before me, I am a proud Eagle Scout. My wife Lisa and I have four children and live in Northern Utah. Feel free to contact me by emailing to trent.b.toone (at) gmail (dot) com.

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3 Responses

  1. kris says:

    My dad was transported on the Maryville Victory. He served in Hawaii, Guam and then occupied Korea returning in March of 1946 via Seattle. I have 2 photos of men on the ship. They were returning I assume. I can’t find my dad for sure, but do see several that could be him. I often wonder how all of those men got along in such cramped quarters. Dad never said much. He did say he was on the water 37 days and they sailed into Tokyo Harbor at the same time the peace treaty was being signed there on the Missouri. I don’t know if he was on the Maryville the whole time, but that was the only ship he mentioned .

  2. rob says:

    I believe “Kris” who commented above is my sister. I have a picture of the Maryville Victory somewhere that dad had. as well. Rob B.

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