USS San Diego (AFS-6)

From SpottingWorld, the Hub for the SpottingWorld network...
USS San Diego (AFS-6)
USS San Diego (AFS-6) underway off Virginia in 1988
Career (USA) Union Navy Jack
Name: USS San Diego (1969-1993)
USNS San Diego (1993-1997)
Namesake: San Diego, California
Builder: National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, San Diego, California
Laid down: 11 March 1967
Launched: 13 April 1968
Sponsored by: Mrs. Frank Curran
Commissioned: 24 May 1969 as USS San Diego (AFS-6)
Decommissioned: 11 August 1993
In service: 11 August 1993 as USNS San Diego (T-AFS-6)
Out of service: 10 December 1997
Reclassified: USNS San Diego (T-AFS-6), 11 August 1993
Struck: 8 September 2003
Honors and
Supply Efficiency "E", 1971
Fate: Sold for scrapping 9 April 2006
General characteristics
Type: Mars-class combat stores ship
Tonnage: 9,200 tons
Displacement: 15,900 tons
Tons burthen: 18,663 tons
Length: 581'
Beam: 79'
Draft: 27' (max.)
Propulsion: three 580psi Babcock and Wilcox boilers; one De Laval Turbine; single shaft
Speed: 20 knots
Complement: As Military Sealift Command ship (1993-1997): 49 U.S. Navy personnel, 125 civilian merchant seamen
Armament: 4 × 3″/50 dual-purpose guns (2x2)[Originally equipt with 6 x 3"/50 Dp guns], Chaff Launchers, 4 × M240G 7.62×51 mm medium machine guns or M249 5.56×45 mm light MG, and 1 M2 12.7×99 mm heavy machine gun when security detachment is embarked while in USN service. None in USNS Service
Aircraft carried: two UH-46 helicopters

USS San Diego (AFS-6) was a Mars-class combat stores ship acquired by the U.S. Navy in 1968. She served the U.S. Atlantic Fleet until decommissioned in 1993. She then was redesignated as a United States Naval Ship, assigned to the Military Sealift Command, and served in a non-commissioned status with a mostly civilian crew as USNS San Diego (T-AFS-6) until 1997.

Built in California

The third ship to be so named, San Diego was laid down on 11 March 1967 by the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company at San Diego, California; launched on 13 April 1968, sponsored by Mrs. Frank Curran; and commissioned on 24 May 1969, Captain John W. Wells in command.

Operational history

After shakedown and refresher training in late 1969, San Diego began a seven-month, deployment to the Mediterranean in support of the United States Sixth Fleet. She returned to her home port, Norfolk, Virginia, and remained on the United States East Coast until February 1971, when she was selected to represent the United States Atlantic Fleet at the Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans, Louisiana.

In April 1971, she deployed again to the Sixth Fleet and stayed in the Mediterranean until October 1971. During this tour of duty, she earned the Supply Efficiency "E," rescued sailors from a burning Greek freighter, and represented the Sixth Fleet at Admiral Farragut Day at Minorca in Spain's Balearic Islands.

On 27 July 1972, following more than nine months back in the United States operating and training along U.S,. East Coast, San Diego got underway to return to the Sixth Fleet. She arrived at Rota, Spain, on 4 August 1972 and relieved USS Sylvania (AFS-2) as the on-station combat stores ship with the Sixth Fleet. At the end of another six months of service in the Mediterranean, San Diego got underway to return to Norfolk in January 1973. She arrived on 26 January and resumed normal operations with the Atlantic Fleet.

San Diego operated out of Norfolk, along the U.S. East Coast, and in the Caribbean until late October 1973. At that time, she departed Norfolk for her fourth tour of duty in the Mediterranean. She arrived at Rota, Spain, on 4 November 1973. She cruised the Mediterranean with the Sixth Fleet for the next six months, getting underway from Rota on 19 April 1974 to return to Norfolk. San Diego reached Norfolk on 27 April 1974.

Between June 1974 and June 1976 San Diego made two more deployments to the Sixth Fleet and an additional excursion to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for refresher training.

During the three Mediterranean cruises from 1973 to 1976, USS San Diego stopped in ports from Lisbon, Portugal, to the Greek Island of Corfu, just off the coast of Albania. The eastern most port San Diego visited was Athens, and the only North African port she called at was Tunis, Tunisia. Palma de Mallorca and Naples, Italy were the ports she most frequented during those years.


On 17 January 1989, San Diego was involved in a collision with the submarine USS Norfolk (SSN-714) off Cape Charles Light, Virginia, as both vessels were headed to sea. While trying to pass San Diego in a turn in the channel, Norfolk was set toward an outer buoy on the port side by the current. Overcorrecting for this, Norfolk delivered a glancing blow to San Diego on her starboard side. There were no injuries, and neither ship suffered significant structural damage.


Transfer to Military Sealift Command

On 11 August 1993 San Diego was decommissioned, transferred to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command, and placed in non-commissioned service as a United States Naval Ship with a mostly civilian crew as USNS San Diego (T-AFS-6).


San Diego continued in service until 10 December 1997 when she was laid up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


San Diego was stricken from the Navy List on 10 December 1997 and she was sold for scrapping at Philadelphia on 9 April 2006.

See also