Model of the C-2 Cargo Ship Challenge

Model of the C-2 Cargo Ship Challenge

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
C-2 cargo vessels were designed by the United States Maritime Commission between 1937 and 1938. They were all-purpose cargo ships with five holds. From 1940-1945, 173 were built; launched on June 20, 1939 Challenge was among the first completed. It measured 459 feet in length, 63 feet in beam, and 9,788 tons. It was built by the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock in Kearny, New Jersey and was acquired by the Navy on October 23, 1940. Six days later the ship was renamed Castor.
On March 12, 1941 Castor was commissioned and put under the command of F. Johnson. That year, the it began a series of voyages from the West Coast to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It arrived in Pearl Harbor just three days before the December 7, 1941 attack, but suffered only limited damage and no casualties. It continued making trips to Pearl Harbor until February 1942, when it started to support operations in the South Pacific with trips from San Francisco to New Caledonia, the New Hebrides, the Fijis, and New Zealand. After a brief overhaul in Seattle, the vessel began to operate from Manus and Ulithi in September 1944, replenishing the fast carrier task force at sea and helping to expedite raids pushing the Japanese westward. From December 1945 to February 1947, Castor supplied occupation forces in the Far East including Guam, Saipan, Tsingtao, Hong Kong, and Japanese ports. It was decommissioned and placed on reserve in San Francisco in 1947.
With the beginning of the Korean War Castor was recommissioned on November 24, 1950. It operated from Sasebo supplying ships in the harbors of Inchan and Pusan, Korea as well as replenishing TF 77 ships at sea. On March 18, 1952 its engines suffered severe damage and was dead in the water for 22 hours before it was towed to Japan for emergency repairs. In September 1952 the ship returned to Yokosuka. There it supported the operations of the 7th fleet which was to keep the Taiwan Patrol Force at sea.
Castor received three battle stars for World War II service and two of Korean War service.
Currently not on view
Object Name
ship model
date made
ca 1946
Boucher, Fred
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
overall: 15 in x 56 in x 8 in; 38.1 cm x 142.24 cm x 20.32 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object