Naming Conventions of US Navy Ships, 1940-1945


Cargo Ships and Aircraft Ferries
Aircraft Carriers
Fleet Aircraft CarriersCVFamous old ships of USN, famous battles
Light Aircraft CarriersCVLFamous old ships of USN, famous battles
Escort CarriersCVEUS Sounds & bays, Naval Battles of WWII
BattleshipsBBStates of the Union
Large CruisersCBUS Territories & insular possessions
Heavy CruisersCALarge American Cities & towns
Light CruisersCLMedium American Cities & towns
DestroyersDDDistinguished officers & men of USN & USMC
Destroyer EscortsDEDistinguished officers & men of USN & USMC
SubmarinesSSFish and other marine creatures
Submarine Chasers
Submarine Chasers (Steel Hull)PC(none)
Submarine Chasers (Wooden Hull)SC(none)
Minelayers & Coastal MinelayersCMOld monitors of USN
Light MinelayersDMOld monitors of USN
Auxiliary MinelayersACMObstructions
MinesweepersAMBirds or abstract qualities, word of action, etc.
Coastal MinesweepersAMcBirds or abstract qualities, word of action, etc.
Fast MinesweepersDMSBirds or abstract qualities, word of action, etc.
Motor MinesweepersYMS(none)
Patrol Craft
GunboatsPGCities & towns
Converted YachtsPGPrecious & semiprecious stones, general words
FrigatesPFCities & towns
River GunboatsPRIslands
Smaller Converted YachtsPYPrecious & semiprecious stones, general words
Coastal YachtsPYcPrecious & semiprecious stones, general words
Escort Patrol CraftPCE(none)
Eagle BoatsPE(none)
Patrol Craft, SweepersPCS(none)
Motor GunboatsPGM(none)
Motor Torpedo Boats
Motor Torpedo BoatsPT(none)
Motor Boat Submarine ChasersPTC(none)
Oilers & Tankers
OilersAOAmerican rivers with Indian names
Gaoline TankersAOGAmerican rivers with Indian names
Cargo Ships
Cargo ShipsAKStars, or counties of the US
Attack Cargo ShipsAKACounties of the US
Net Cargo ShipsAKNStars, or counties of the US
General Stores Issue ShipsAKSStars?
AKVPlaces associated with history of aviation
TransportsAPPresidents; Signers of Declaration of Independence; distinguished generals & admirals; famous women; historic places
Attack TransportsAPACounties of the US
Self-Propelled Barracks ShipsAPB(none)
Coastal TransportsAPc(none)
High Speed TransportsAPD(Retained original DD/DE name)
Evacuation TransportsAPHSurgeons General of the USN
Barracks ShipsAPLNone; unofficially: famous hotels
Mechanized Artillery TransportAPM"Lakehurst" (only 1)
Transport SubmarineAPS"Argonaut" (only 1)
Aircraft FerriesAPVPlaces associated with history of aviation
Repair Ships
Repair ShipsARMythological figures
Battle Damage Repair ShipsARBMythological figures
Auxiliary Repair Dock (Concrete)ARDC(n/a)
Deisel Engine Repair ShipsARGIslands
Heavy Hull Repair ShipsARHMythological figures
Landing Craft Repair ShipsARLMythological figures
Salvage VesselsARSTerms associated with marine salvage
Salvage Craft TendersARS(T)?
Aircraft Repair Ships (Aircraft)ARV(A)?
Aircraft Repair Ships (Engine)ARV(E)?
Submarine Tenders
Submarine TendersASSubmarine pioneers & mythological characters
Submarine Rescue VesselsASRBirds
Seaplane Tenders & Aviation Supply Ships
Seaplane TendersAVAviation pioneers, bays, sounds & straits
Catapult LighterAVC(none)
Seaplane Tenders (Destroyers)AVD?
Small Seaplane TendersAVPBirds
Aviations Supply ShipsAVS(none)
Distilling ShipsAW(none)
Auxiliary TugsATAIndian Tribes
Fleet Ocean TugsATFIndian Tribes
Old Ocean TugsATOIndian Tribes
Rescue TugsATR(none)
Crane ShipAB"Crane Ship No. 1"
Advanced Base Section DockABSD(n/a)
Advanced Base DockABD(n/a)
Destroyer TendersADGeographical areas of the US
Ammunition ShipsAEVolcanoes, or explosive related
Provision Store ShipsAFStars
Auxiliary Floating DockAFD 
Miscellaneous AuxiliariesAG(unknown)
Amphibious Force Command ShipsAGCMountains
MTB TendersAGPMythological tenders
Surveying ShipsAGSDistinguished marine surveyors
Hospital ShipsAHPeaceful or comforting words
Net Laying ShipsANTrees or old USN monitors
Unclassified VesselsIXVarious
Landing Ships & Craft
Landing Ships, VehicleLSVOld Monitors of USN*
Landing Ships, DockLSDHomes of famous Americans, famous spots
Landing Ships, TankLST(none)
Landing Ships, MediumLSM(none)
Landing Ships, Medium (Rocket)LSM(R)(none; later, US rivers with non-Indian names)
Landing Craft, Flotilla FlagshipsLC(FF)(none)
Landing Craft, FlakLCF(none)
Landing Craft, Infantry (Gunboat)LCI(G)(none)
Landing Craft, Infantry (Large)LCI(L)(none)
Landing Craft, Infantry (Mortar)LCI(M)(none)
Landing Craft, Infantry (Rocket)LCI(R)(none)
Landing Craft, Support (Large)LCS(L)(none)
Landing Craft, TankLCT(none)
Landing Craft, ControlLCC(none)
Landing Craft, MechanizedLCM(none)
Landing Craft, Personnel (Large)LCP(L)(none)
Landing Craft, Personnel (Ramp)LCP(R)(none)
Landing Craft, Rubber (Large)LCR(L)(none)
Landing Craft, Rubber (Small)LCR(S)(none)
Landing Craft, Support (S)LSC(S)(none)
Landing Craft, VehicleLCV(none)
Landing Craft, Vehicle, PersonnelLCVP(none)
Landing Vehicle, TrackedLVT(none)
Landing Vehicle, Tracked (Armored)LVT(A)(none)
Landing Vehicle, Wheeled (Mark)LVW(none)
Amphibious TrucksDUKW(none)
Coast Guard Vessels
Cruising CuttersWPG?
Weather Patrol ShipsWIX?
Weather Patrol CuttersWPC?
Yard and District Craft **
Ash LighterYA 
District Auxiliary, MiscellaneousYAG 
Open LighterYC 
Car Float (Railroad)YCF 
Open Cargo LighterYCK 
Aircraft Transportation LighterYCV 
Floating DerrickYD 
Degaussing VesselYDG 
Diving TenderYDT 
Ammunition LighterYE 
Covered LighterYF 
Ferry Boat or LaunchYFB 
Floating Dry DockYFD 
Torpedo Transportation LighterYFT 
Garbage LighterYG 
Ambulance BoatYH 
House BoatYHB 
Heating ScowYHT 
Open Landing LighterYLA 
Motor Mine SweeperYMS 
Net TenderYN 
Gate VesselYNg 
Net Tender (tug class)YNT 
Fuel Oil BargeYO 
Gasoline BargeYOG 
Oil storage BargeYOS 
District Patrol VesselYP 
Pile Driver (floating)YPD 
Pontoon Stowage BargeYPK 
Floating WorkshopYR 
Floating Workshop-Drydock, HullYRD(H) 
Floating Workshop- Drydock, MachineryYRD(M) 
Stevedoring BargeYS 
Seaplane Wrecking DerrickYSD 
Salvage PontoonYSP 
Sludge Removal BargeYSR 
Harbour Tug-BigYTB 
Harbour Tug-LittleYTL 
Harbour Tug-MediumYTM 
Torpedo Testing BargeYTT 
Water BargeYW 

* Converted Minecraft & Net Tenders
** Yard and District Craft section contributed by Alan Chanter

Source: Hyperwar

Last Major Update: Mar 2009

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. david eldridge says:
8 Jun 2009 01:18:12 PM

After whom was USS Eldridge named, please?
2. Commenter identity confirmed C. Peter Chen says:
8 Jun 2009 03:37:11 PM

@david eldridge: USS Eldridge (DE-173) was named after Lieutenant Commander John Eldridge, Jr. of Buckingham County, Virginia, United States, who was killed in action in the Solomon Islands on 2 Nov 1942.
3. Charlie Lewis says:
15 Jul 2013 12:52:45 PM

Familiar with the USN's naming convention in WWII, I've always been perplexed by the fact that the name of the cruiser Brooklyn (CL41), the then-4th largest city in the US, should be a light, as opposed to a heavy, cruiser.
4. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
15 Jul 2013 08:38:48 PM

Mr. Lewis:

Your point about Brooklyn is well taken. I don’t know what the thinking was in 1935, but I imagine the reasoning was that Brooklyn was a lesser city to New York so the name would be better applied to a “lesser” cruiser.

There are many other cases where the Navy did not follow their own rules as well.
5. Jeanette Stanley Jean says:
11 Feb 2015 09:22:55 AM

Why does the USS Appalachian (AGC-1) not show up on WWII navy ship lists. My dad's (Floyd "Y" Stanley Jr.) muster lists clearly say Appalachian (AGC-1)
6. Mike Babcock says:
28 May 2016 09:30:10 PM

I found this site very interesting, but I was looking for the USN's naming convention for World War II. Charlie Lewis says he knows it, but I don't and would like to. For instance, I understand that LVT would stand for 'Landing Vehicle Tracked', but what does 'BB' for Battleship, 'DD' for Destroyer, and 'SS' for Submarine stand for? Please let me know where I can learn this.

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