USS White Plains (AFS-4)

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USNS Niagara Falls off the coast of Badang, 2005
Name: USS White Plains
Namesake: White Plains, New York
Builder: National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, San Diego, California
Laid down: 2 October 1965
Launched: 26 July 1966
Sponsored by: Mrs. Bob Wilson
Commissioned: 23 November 1968
Decommissioned: 17 April 1995
Struck: 24 August 1995
Fate: Sunk as target 2002
General characteristics
Class and type: Mars-class combat stores ship
Displacement: 17,500 long tons (17,781 t) full load
Length: 581 ft (177.1 m)
Beam: 79 ft (24.1 m)
Draft: 25 ft (7.6 m)
Propulsion: 3 × Babcock and Wilcox boilers, 580 psi (3.7 MPa), 8250 °F (4400 °C)
1 × De Laval turbine, 1 shaft
Speed: 21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph)
Complement: 42 Commissioned officers and 445 enlisted personnel
Armament: • 4 × 3"/50 caliber guns (2×2) (originally 6)
Chaff launchers
• 4 × M240G 7.62×51 mm medium machine guns or M249 5.56×45 mm light MG
• 1 × M2 12.7×99 mm heavy machine gun when security detachment is embarked
• 2 × Vulcan Phalanx CIWS
Aircraft carried: 2 × CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters

USS White Plains (AFS-4) was the fourth Mars-class combat stores ship of the United States Navy. The ship was named after the city of White Plains, New York, scene of the Battle of White Plains during the American Revolutionary War.

Construction and commissioning

White Plains was laid down on 2 October 1965 by the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company in San Diego, California. She was launched on 26 July 1966, sponsored by Mrs. Bob Wilson, and commissioned at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard at Long Beach, California, on 23 November 1968, with Captain Thomas B. Brenner in command.

White Plains was used as the trial vessel for the class to mount the two Vulcan Phalanx CIWS. The ship retained the Phalanx systems after decision was made not to mount them on the rest of the class.

Service history

On May 9, 1989 while underway in the South China Sea enroute to Guam the White Plains experienced a major Class Bravo fire in the main engine room while conducting underway fuel replenishment with the combat replenishment ship USS Sacramento (AOE-1). The fire resulted from the ejection of a valve stem on the fuel transfer system which sent a high pressure spray of fuel over the boiler and consequently ignited into a fireball. There were 6 fatalities and 161 injuries reported as a result of the fire.[1]

In January 1991 the White Plains was relieved from its deployment in Persian Gulf by sister ship Niagara Falls.

In early August 1992 the ship received an extensive refit, including her main steam plant. Later that same month, as the ship was unable to be leave on its own power, its mooring lines were reinforced with anchor chain to keep it moored to the pier as Typhoon Omar approached the island of Guam.

On 27 August, 1992 White Plains was torn from her moorings. The ship with its skeleton crew rode out Omar's 150 mph winds in Apra Harbor. The ship ultimately ran aground on the coral beach. The extent of the damage precipitated the ship's decommissioning in 1995.


This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

External links