In World War II the SS Monterey served as a fast troop carrier, often operating alone so she would not be slowed by formation navigation in a convoy. The United States Maritime Commission chartered her in 1941 before the US declaration of war to carry 150 Chinese, Korean and Japanese missionaries and stranded US citizens back to San Francisco. Once home she was quickly refitted to hold 3,500 soldiers. On 16 December 1941 she steamed to Hawaii with 3,349 fresh troops, returning with 800 casualties of the attack on Pearl Harbor [Wikipedia].
This mighty ship came to my attention when I found a series of letters printed in the Mason City (Iowa) Globe Gazette. The author was Frank D. Bemis, and they were written to his parents, C. F. and Addie Bemis of Clear Lake, Iowa, AFTER the end of WWII. What was Frank doing on this ship? Maybe I thought that WWII ended, when it ended, but his letters describe the process of bringing the troops home! A huge undertaking. What’s more, Frank had served in WWI, so how could he be on a ship after WWII?
Please take a few minutes to read his account. You will gain a much better understanding of the effort, and the remarkable speed of this mighty ship.