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Military History/Troop convoy of 5 March 1943



Your January exchange with Mary about the March 5, 1943, Troop Transport Convoy that departed Hampton Roads, VA, and arrived at either Casablanca, Morocco or Oran, Algeria, March 18, 1943, caught my attention.

I've just started researching my uncle's service and his discharge papers show him leaving the US and arriving EAME on those dates. His military papers were destroyed in the 1973 fire and I have very little to go on. I know that he served in an antiaircraft field radar operations detachment of the 5th Army.

My question is, where can I find more about the ships in the convoy, the voyage and the arrival in Casablanca or Oran? I'd also like to know more about the troops time in Casablanca or Oran and movement to Italy.

Thanks for any help you can give.


Dear Sir,
  Thank you for your question.  It would be a pleasure to assist you, since I have a soft spot in my heart for all things Fifth Army.  My father was assigned to Fifth Army, September 1943-September 1944.
  As to the convoy in question, yes it did depart the Hampton Roads, Virginia Port of Embarkation, March 5, 1943.  From this point there are some variations, so the following are the troop ships that arrived at Casablanca, Morocco, March 18, 1943:

SS John Ericsson
SS Mexico
SS Monterey

The following are the troops ships, via the Straits of Gibraltar, that arrived at Oran, Algeria, North Africa, March 18, 1943:

SS Exiria
SS Santa Elena
SS Santa Paula
SS Santa Rosa
USAT Cristobal
USAT Evangeline
USAT George W. Goethals
USAT J.W. McAndrews
USAT Shawnee
USS Anne Arundel  AP-76
USS Dorothea L. Dix  AP-67
USS Orizaba  AP-24
USS Samuel Chase  APA-26

Last but not least, the USAT Borinquen arrived at Oran March 19, 1943.

  I am pleased to read that you have a copy of your uncle's Discharge Documents, which is the best source for FACTS to begin your research with.  May I ask, what unit is listed in Box #6 on page two of your uncle's Discharge Documents?  The unit listed is the unit your uncle was assigned to when he was discharged.  However, sometimes it is also the same unit the Veteran was assigned to prior to V-E Day.
  In your question you described your uncle's unit as a "antiaircraft field radar operations detachment".  I read over my Order of Battles for Fifth Army, January 11, 1943 through V-E Day & could not find a unit fitting that description.  That is why I ask for the unit listed in Box #6 on page two of your uncle's Discharge Documents.  You may also wish to look at page three & page four of your uncle's Discharge Documents for any unit listed.  Also, have you any of your uncle's wartime correspondence?  We do not need the letter, but the envelope.  Depending upon who send the letter, the unit appears in the address or the return address on the envelope.
  You are welcome to photocopy your uncle's Discharge Documents, then send the photocopies to me via First Class USPS.  It would be my pleasure to share with you any FACTS I am able to glean from the Discharge Documents.  Please include your e-mail address for ease of response.
  I REALLY do hope you contact me, so that I may help you.  My father's experiences with Fifth Army were good & bad, but experiences that fascinated me as I listened intently to his telling as I grew up.  Certainly a major reason I became a Historian, focusing on US Military Forces during WW 2.
  Good Luck with your quest.

   Richard V. Horrell
    WW 2 Connections
     211 Union St.   #611
      Nashville   TN   37201-1502

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Richard V. Horrell


Can answer: World War Two. Specifically, the troop transport ships that took US Military Personnel overseas & returned them to the US, 1941-47. Also, unit history of US Army QM, Signal, MP, Ordnance, Medical, Transportation & Engineer units that served during WW 2. The more obscure units are my specialty. If you have the APO that a Veteran sent letters from or received letters at, I can look up the history of that APO.


A lifelong study of WW 2, including participation as a WW 2 Re-enactor, 1980-2002. Also, interviewing over 400 WW 2 Veterans about their role in WW 2.

AASLH, Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society

Over 800 Profiles that I have written for client's about their loved one's role in WW 2.

BA, History & Political Science (19th & 20th Century European History) Webster University, Webster Groves, MO.

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Assisting the National Archives on numerous occasions during the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of WW 2, 1991-95.

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