Original photo donated by the Mount Pocono VFW Post and is on display at the Mount Pocono Municipal Building.
By Amy Leiser, Executive Director
Monroe County Historical Association
Although American Naval ships have been around since the late 1700s, it wasn’t until May 3, 1819 that Congress formally assigned the task of naming ships to the secretary of the Navy. The first names were after states, but as more ships were built, the secretary needed to expand the types of names used. Navy ships came in a variety of classifications and functions, and the names were expanded to reflect the diversity of ships.
After running out of states’ names, the secretary began to use names from a number of different origins, including: cities, such as Lexington and Houston; animal and bird names, such as Porpoise and Raven; celestial bodies, such as Jupiter; individuals such as George Washington; even native American tribes, Navajo. By the 1940s the secretary of the Navy started using names of American mountain ranges to identify ships.
On December 29, 1945, the USS Pocono was commissioned by the U.S. Navy. The USS Pocono was an Amphibious Force Flagship (AGC-16) that measured 459 feet and 2 inches long, 63 feet wide, and would travel at 16 knots. Hosting 130 officers and 1200 men, the USS Pocono’s principal mission was to provide extensive communication (via radio and radar) for commanding amphibious operations.
For the first few years, the USS Pocono traveled along the Atlantic Coast from Newfoundland to the Caribbean; the ship didn’t do this for long, though, as it was decommissioned in 1949. In 1951, the USS Pocono was recommissioned and became an Amphibious Command Ship (LCC-16). The ship then became active in international affairs and traveled often between Norfolk, Virginia and other nations.
In 1956, the USS Pocono was in the Mediterranean during the Suez Canal Crisis, and in 1958, the ship assisted with the communication needs during the Beiruit Crisis. By 1962, the USS Pocono was again in the Mediterranean, practicing amphibious exercises, but was recalled to the United States with the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Through the mid to late 1960s, the USS Pocono returned to the Eastern US Coast, performing routine operations and not traveling further than the Dominican Republic to assist with a peace-keeping mission in Santo Domingo.
By 1971, the USS Pocono was decommissioned for the final time, and in 1976 the name was struck from the Naval Register. Although remembered, the USS Pocono is no longer active, having been sold for scrap metal on December 9, 1981.