American Victory

 American Valor

American Victory was built in 1942, is 730 feet long and flies a U.S. flag

Anna Marie Altman
Previous names:
Marquette: 1942-1942
Neshanic: 1942-1947
Gulfoil: 1947-1961
Pioneer Challenger: 1961-1962
Middletown: 1962-2006
American Victory: 2006-

The American Victory has been in long term layup since November of 2008, in Superior, WI
Click here for other pages featuring the American Victory

2008Aug26_0931PRODThe American Victory, formerly the Middletown, is one of the oldest and most historic boats on the Great Lakes. She was built as the Marquette in 1942 at Sparrows Point, Maryland. Later that same year, she became the Neshanic. During the Second World War the ship saw duty on both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean as a tanker. She is credited with shooting down an enemy aircraft and was also hit by a Japanese bomber while refueling a destroyer in the Pacific.
In 1947, she was renamed the Gulfoil when she was purchased by the Gulf Oil Company. In 1958, she was in a collision with another tanker and lost many of her crew members. Although heavily damaged, she was repaired, and converted to a Great Lakes bulk carrier called the Pioneer Challenger. In 1962, her name was changed to the hometown of the Armco Steel Company, Middletown, Ohio. In 2006, she was sold by Oglebay Norton to American Steamship and became the American Victory. Picture above taken Tuesday, August 26, 2008.
For an extended story when she was the Middletown, with many pictures and a video, go here
Above on February 13, 2012 and below on February 16, 2010, in long term layup at Fraser Shipyards in Superior, Wisconsin.
Picture above taken Wednesday, April 23, 2008; below on August 26, 2008
Picture above taken August 14, 2007; pictures below taken Sunday, December 9, 2007
Picture above  taken June 10, 2006; the three below taken Thursday, June 22, 2006


  1. Christian B says:

    Why is the American Victory in long term layup

    • It has been in layup for a few years now. I hope it can be put to good use as a museum ship someday, it has incredible history. I would argue that it is the most interesting freighter ever to be on the Great Lakes. What other ship served in WWII and made it home to serve it country for many years to come? Interesting stuff. It’s in Superior docked next to an elevator. I stop and stare whenever I’m up there. It has the war badges still on the pilothouse. INCREDIBLE stuff!

  2. Tom from SE Ohio says:

    I worked on the SS Middletown in the summer of 1970. Sailed from Toledo, Ohio to Silver Bay, Minnesota several times to get a load of taconite. Sister ships were the SS Armco, SS Reserve and the SS Edmund Fitzgerald. Captains used to salute each other when passing each other in the rivers and lakes o the trip. The Middletown was the longest ship on the Great Lakes in 1970 and could only pass through one of the Soo Locks at Saulte Ste. Marie. A small mail boat would pull up alongside the ship as we passed beneath the Ambassador Bridge at Detroit and we would haul the mail up in large buckets with a rope. When loaded it sat real low in the water. Could almost reach over the railing and drag your feet. When empty, the deck seemed to be about 25 feet above the water. Once, on a really rough Lake Superior, while waiting to get into the dock at Silver Bay to load we had drifted too far toward the shore so had to turn around and head back out a ways. I was below decks in the tunnels running alongside the cargo hold carrying a bucket and a mop after doing a bit of swabbing. I started getting pitched against the bulkhead as the ship rocked back and forth. When I go up on deck to see what was happening I saw waves washing over the entire 75 foot width of the deck. The lake was tossing that tanker around like a cork while we were parallel to the waves. It was very impressive. We used to pass the Edmund Fitzgerald a couple of times each week in one of the rivers or lakes. We passed through Whitefish Bay twice on every trip.
    In Lake Huron we used to pass a number of sunken ships that had towers or other parts still reaching up above the surface.
    One morning, passing through the St. Mary’s River, heading down from Lake Superior to Lake Huron, we found the entire boat covered with Canadian Soldiers, a type of Mayfly. They were wing to wing on the walls of the cabins, the railings and every exposed surface. We spent the day with fire hoses, hosing them into piles and shoveling them overboard. The St. Mary’s River is beautiful. Deep forests lining the shore on both sides – back then. Looked like pure wilderness. Another trip through the St. Mary’s River in the fog we passed several other tankers headed upstream. Couldn’t even see a silhouette of those big boats when they passed but we could hear the men talking on board. Fog was thick up there. On Memorial Day weekend in 1970 the fog was so thick that as we were approaching the St. Mary’s River after crossing Lake Huron, passage into the river was halted until the fog lifted. We had to drop anchor and wait. We waited the entire holiday weekend. We could hear other ships drop anchor nearby. We could hear men talking on board. But we couldn’t see a thing. When the fog lifted two and a half days later there were so many ships scattered around it looked like the invasion of Normandy. What a sight! They fed us good on the ship. An amazing menu of choices three times a day and plenty of things prepared and kept on the stove or in the fridge back in the galley. Snacks anytime. Fresh made donuts and hot coffee every morning at coffee break. Quite an experience for an 18 year old. Too bad that option doesn’t exist anymore. It was an adventure. Hope they don’t scrap this ship like they have so many of the others. It should be a museum or a classroom or a restaurant or all of the above.

    • Tom, thank you for sharing memories of your time aboard the Middletown. what great stories these sailors have! Hope to hear some more!

    • Russ Manzatt says:

      Thanks for a great story about your days aboard the Middletown. I worked in the galley from May to December 1964 with similar experiences, including some horrendous storms on Lake Superios. Our captain was Peter Pulcer, who had a reputation as kind of mean-spirited and a martinet. He and the chief engineer, whose name was Watson (can’t remember his first name) were polar opposites in almost every way, and never got along.. My boss was Carl Ostrom, the steward. One of the engineers, George Holly, and a deckwatch named Ray Cundy went down with the Fitz a decade later.

  3. I Love the ship. Hope she is not scrapped. I want to buy it and be the captain!

  4. brad jamison says:

    sitting at elevator m in east end superior.
    my daughter has some great shots of it.
    does it still have a steam plant?

  5. Leave her right next to that elevator and turn it into a museum. Leave me enough room for us truck drivers to go see. She is amazing to see from highway 53

  6. Wm, Jacobi, Cooper says:

    Saw the American Victory layed up next to a grain elevator in Superior, With 8/26/2014

  7. Heard a rumor that she is loading up with grain. Going to Kenya, and then on to Bangladesh to be scrapped!

    I hope this is not true!

  8. My friend been on it

  9. Joan Hogan says:

    She’s had a great history. Can view her daily from my home. Wondering what’s in store for her future??

    • joan, wouldn’t it be sooooo cool if someone bought her and turned her into a B&B or a restaurant…better yet a museum!

  10. Tristin (loves ships) says:

    I am learning that she is in long term layup.

  11. I saw her this week ok 5-14-2012. just sitting there, could not tell what is being done to her. Hope it is not destroyed.

  12. Gerald Stauss says:

    Not sure if she is retired. Been around a long time and I remember sailing the Middletown in 1972. I suppose it’s more cost effective shipping with the super carriers.

  13. Love ships

  14. Jim Berry says:

    Always my favorite

  15. @ Tristan: I know she has been there for sometime and it is an impossible long shot for her to run anytime in the near future. I don’t know what the Fraser boys had going on over there but they were doing something.

  16. Last week around midweek there were about 8 different trucks parked by it and a crane had moved beside it where it had not been before. Lights were on at the stern section as it was about 16:30. Can easily be seen from HWY 53 in Superior.

    No idea why or if it means anything, just reporting what I see.

  17. Tristin (loves ships) says:

    Anders, I think she is retired.

  18. Currently in Layup in Superior WI. Moved the other day. Crane extended beside it. No other news.

  19. Jill from Alabama says:

    My favorite boat!! Great, great “southern boy” Captain!

Leave a Comment