Mel Query’s answer is spot-on; thanks, Mel. As Mel says, you should obtain your father’s official military service record which should answer your questions about his World War II service. At the web page Mel notes, http://armed-guard.com/searchmil.html, read through section A.1. Records of Individuals - U.S. Military, which has instructions and links for requesting your father’s service record. You will have to supply as much identifying information as possible: name, date of birth, date of death, Social Security number, etc. I have found one piece of information that will be very useful in contacting the National Personnel Records Center; more about that later.
I can confirm that your father, Marvin Richard Jones, seaman first class (S 1/c), was assigned to SS ABNER NASH as part of its Armed Guard unit of 24 men in 1942-1943. He may have had other assignments as well although this is the only one I can find.
His service aboard ABNER NASH included an epic, around-the-world voyage. Although the details are somewhat sketchy, this is what I have been able to put together.
ABNER NASH was constructed by the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, North Carolina, in 54 days between October 4 and November 27, 1942. She survived the war and was scrapped in Philadelphia in 1964. See http://shipbuildinghistory.com/shipyards/emergencylarge/northcarolina.htm and scroll to hull number 41. Also see http://www.mariners-l.co.uk/LibshipsA.html and scroll to the name of the ship.
It is quite possible that your father was assigned to ABNER NASH immediately upon completion of construction, so what I am about to describe would have been ABNER NASH’s maiden voyage.
From Wilmington, North Carolina, the ship proceeded to Philadelphia (departing there December 17, 1942) and then to New York. She departed New York on or about December 30, 1942, in convoy NG-332, destination Guantanamo, Cuba, where she arrived January 2, 1943. The next day she left Guantanamo in convoy GZ-18, destination Cristobal, Canal Zone, arriving there January 7, 1943.
Cristobal is at the Caribbean Sea entrance to the Panama Canal. Any ship reaching Cristobal, it is reasonable to presume that the ship would transit the Canal and into the Pacific Ocean to some destination. Indeed, while the details for much of the rest of her voyage are lacking, this is what seems to have been the case with ABNER NASH. I next note that she was in Perth, Australia, in late February 1943, a distance of more than 9000 nautical miles from the Canal Zone. There is nothing in the record I found to indicate whether ABNER NASH was in convoy or sailed independently, nor whether she made other port calls. However it would have taken her about 40 days to make a voyage of that distance.
I next find the ship in Bandar Abbas, Iran (then known as Persia) in early May 1943. The distance from Perth to Bandar Abbas is a little less than 5000 nautical miles and would have taken ABNER NASH perhaps 20 days to sail that distance. But February to May 1943 is much more than 20 days so it is possible ABNER NASH made other port calls. The ship departed Bandar Abbas on May 9, 1943, in convoy PA-38, destination Aden, Yemen, arriving May 16, 1943.
From here it is clear that the ship then transited the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean Sea, since I find the ship in Beirut, Lebanon, as of June 16, 1943, and then in Alexandria, Egypt, in early July. She departed Alexandria in convoy MWS-37, destination Augusta, Sicily, arriving there on an unspecified date.
By August 5, 1943, ABNER NASH was in Oran, Algeria, from which she departed on that date in convoy GUS-11, bound for the United States. She arrived in New York on August 25, 1943, nearly eight months after having departed from New York.
Whether your father remained on ABNER NASH for her next voyage I cannot say.
One useful bit of information from the above record is that Marvin Jones had a serial number (military identification number) of 552-65-14. This number will be very useful in providing identifying information to the National Personnel Records Center if you seek his military service record.
Most of the above information comes from a search of Ancestry.com ((www.ancestry.com), a subscription website more commonly used for genealogical research. However, I have found that Ancestry.com contains databases of the names of crew members and passengers of ships arriving at certain U.S. ports of entry following a foreign voyage. The records for the port of New York are particularly extensive. Convoy information comes from a search of the ConvoyWeb website at http://convoyweb.org.uk/hague/index.html.
The ship was named after Abner Nash (1716-1786), a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses 1761-1762, member of the North Carolina House of Commons 1764-65, 1770-1771, and 1778-1779, member of the North Carolina Senate 1779-1780, second Governor of North Carolina 1780-1781, and member of the Continental Congress 1782-1786.
I hope this information is useful to you.
Ron Carlson, Webmaster
Armed Guard / Merchant Marine website