Medusa (AR-1) was laid down at the Navy Yard, Puget Sound, Wash., 2 January 1920; launched 16 April 1923; sponsored by Mrs. Burns Poe; and commissioned 18 September 1924, Capt. R. T. Menner in command.
Medusa, designed as a fleet repair ship for major repairs beyond the fighting ships own capabilities but which must be accomplished without benefit of a Navy Yard, spent her naval career with the Pacific Fleet. Assigned to Train Squadron 2, Battle Force, after commissioning, she performed her duties out of San Pedro until World War II. To accomplish her mission she was equipped with foundry, blacksmith, electrical, pipe, carpentry, machine, and motion picture shops. Her machinery included lathes, radial drills, milling, slotting, and boring machines, as well as optical repair apparatus, armature bake ovens, and coil winding machines. To meet additional demands from the fleet, she had large laundry, bakery, and refrigeration units.
On 7 December 1941, Medusa was at Pearl Harbor. During the action there, she helped to down two Japanese planes and sink a midget submarine, in addition to rendering assistance to numerous stricken vessels. At the end of the attack Medusa undertook the task for which she was designed, getting and keeping the ships in fighting condition.
By March 1942 the first rush was beginning to be cleared away, but the pace kept up. Before each big battle she insured the ship-shape condition of the combatants; afterwards, she helped patch the damage.
On 4 April 1943, she got underway for the combat area. Arriving at Efate, New Hebrides, 20 April, she found more than enough work to keep her busy for the next year. On 27 March 1944, she departed for a series of shorter assignments. First sailing to New Guinea, she repaired ships of the 7th Fleet at Milne Bay and Buna Roads; then sailed to Guadalcanal, arriving 15 May. On 1 June she steamed to Sydney for repairs to her hull, damaged by grounding on Buna Shoal in May, before continuing on to Manus. In mid-January 1945, she departed Manus for Hollandia where she joined a convoy for San Pedro Bay. There she serviced ships engaged in the capture of Luzon and other enemyheld islands in the Philippines and the Ryukyus until 6 July, when she returned to Manus.
At the end of August, with Pacific hostilities ended, Medusa steamed to Manila. There she operated with Service Squadron 7 until heading back to the United States, 14 November. On 8 December she reported to CNOB Terminal Island for duty in connection with the layup of vessels in the 19th Fleet, after which she herself began inactivation. Decommissioned 18 November 1947 at Bremerton, she was stripped and turned over to the Maritime Commission for ultimate disposal. On 24 August 1950 her hulk was sold to Zeidell Shipwrecking Co.
Medusa received one battle star for World War II service.