USS Sara Thompson (AO-8)

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USS Sara Thompson
USS Sara Thompson at anchor
Career (US) 46px Union Navy Jack 100x35px
Namesake: named Sara Thompson at request of previous owner
Ordered: as German civilian oil tanker Gut Heil
Builder: William Armstrong, Mitchell and Co.
Launched: in 1888 as the German mercantile tanker Gut Heil
Completed: in 1888 at Newcastle, England
Acquired: 8 August 1918
Commissioned: 17 September 1918 as USS Sara Thompson (ID-3148)
Decommissioned: 21 July 1933
Reclassified: as AO-8, 17 July 1920
Struck: 12 December 1933
Honors and
World War I Victory Medal (with Atlantic Fleet clasp)
Fate: sold on 9 August 1934 in Manila
General characteristics
Displacement: 2,691 tons dockside
Tons burthen: 5,836 tons fully loaded
Length: 321 ft (98 m)
Beam: 40 ft 3 in (12.27 m)
Draft: 22 ft (6.7 m)
Propulsion: steam engine, one shaft
Speed: 9 kts
Complement: 67

USS Sara Thompson (SP-3148/AO-8) was a tanker in the United States Navy. She was purchased at the start of World War I by the U.S. Navy and served as a tanker supporting American troops in Europe. Post-war she operated in the Pacific Ocean, supporting Navy operations in the Guam, China, and the Philippines. Because of her age and deteriorating condition, she spent her final days as a receiving hulk in the Philippines.

Built in England as Gut Heil

Sara Thompson was built during 1888 by William Armstrong, Mitchell and Co., Newcastle, England, as the German merchant tanker Gut Heil, and was sold to a United States firm in 1912, retaining her original name. Accidentally lost on the Mississippi River during 1914, Gut Heil was raised during 1917 and repaired.

Acquired by the U.S. Navy

She was purchased on 8 August 1918 for United States Naval service from J. W. Thompson of New York, and renamed Sara Thompson on 7 September 1918 at the request of her former owner. Sara Thompson was commissioned on 17 September 1918 at New Orleans, Louisiana with Lt. Cmdr. Frederick S. Hayes, USNRF, in command.

World War I service

Assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS), Sara Thompson transported fuel oil from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Port Arthur, Texas, and Hoboken, New Jersey, to Boston, Massachusetts and Bermuda into February 1919.

Arriving on 4 March 1919 at Ponta Delgada, San Miguel, Azores, she was detached from NOTS on the same day and assigned to the Train, Atlantic Fleet. Sara Thompson remained at Ponta Delgada as station tanker until 7 September 1919 when she sailed for the Philippine Islands. Calling at Gibraltar, Suez, and Colombo, the tanker arrived in Manila Bay on 9 November 1919 for permanent assignment as fuel storage ship at the Cavite Navy Yard.

Post-war service

File:USS Sara Thompson deck view.jpg
1920s deck view of USS Sara Thompson.

Sara Thompson steamed to Apra Harbor, Guam, during April 1920 to refuel units of Destroyer Division 13, before returning to Cavite on 7 May 1920.

She was classified AO-8 as an oiler on 17 July 1920. She steamed northward to Chefoo, China, twice during 1920, operating with ships of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet before returning to Manila Bay on 12 October.

Sara Thompson continued local operations with Cavite-based destroyer forces into November 1921.

Inspection of her deteriorating engines led to Sara Thompson being placed in reduced commission "in ordinary" on 8 December 1921 for duty only as a floating storage vessel for fuel and diesel oil.

Service as a receiving hulk

She remained in service into the 1930s, being designated the Receiving ship at Cavite on 6 January 1930 with her commanding officer also commanding the Receiving Station ashore.

Final decommissioning

Sara Thompson was decommissioned on 21 July 1933 and struck from the Navy list on 12 December 1933. Her hulk was sold on 9 August 1934 to Alberto Barrette of Manila.