USS Tamalpais (AO-96)

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Name: USS Tamalpais
Builder: Marinship, Sausalito, California
Laid down: 18 September 1944
Launched: 29 October 1944
Commissioned: 20 May 1945
Decommissioned: 21 June 1946
Struck: 8 July 1946
Acquired: 10 March 1948
In service: 28 April 1950, as USNS Tamalpais (T-AO-96)
Out of service: 1958
Struck: 18 December 1967
Fate: Acquired by the US Army, 1966
General characteristics
Type: Escambia-class oiler
Displacement: 5,782 long tons (5,875 t) light
21,880 long tons (22,231 t) full
Length: 523 ft 6 in (159.56 m)
Beam: 68 ft (21 m)
Draft: 30 ft 10 in (9.40 m)
Propulsion: Turbo-electric, single screw, 8,000 shp (5,966 kW)
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Capacity: 140,000 barrels
Complement: 267
Armament: • 1 × 5"/38 caliber dual purpose gun
• 4 × 3"/50 caliber guns
• 4 × twin 40 mm guns
• 4 × twin 20 mm guns

USS Tamalpais (AO-96) was a Escambia-class oiler acquired by the United States Navy for use during World War II. She had the dangerous but necessary task of providing fuel to vessels in combat and non-combat areas. She served in the Pacific Ocean Theatre of operations late in the war.

Tamalpais was laid down at Sausalito, California, on 18 September 1944 under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1831) by the Marinship Corp.; launched on 29 October 1944, sponsored by Mrs. H. B. Anderson, acquired by the Navy on 20 May 1945, and commissioned that same day, Lt. Cmdr. A. J. Church, USNR, in command.

World War II Pacific Theatre operations

The fleet oiler departed San Francisco, California, on 7 June for shakedown training out of San Diego, California. On the 16th, she was ordered to San Pedro, California, to load potable water and, eight days later, she headed for the Marshall Islands. On 8 July, Tamalpais reached Eniwetok and discharged her cargo. The following day, she continued on to Manus, in the Admiralty Islands, where she loaded another cargo of water which she delivered to Ulithi on 22 July. She returned to Manus on the 26th. She put to sea again on 8 August, headed for the Philippines with a fresh water cargo, and arrived at Leyte on 10 August.

End-of-war activity

Four days later, as hostilities in the Pacific were ending, she stood out of Leyte Gulf to rendezvous with Task Group 30.8 off the coast of Japan. The ship entered Sagami Bay on the 28th and anchored in Tokyo Bay on the 30th. There, she issued water to hospital ships and small craft. She remained in Japan (either at Tokyo, Yokosuka, or Sasebo) until March 1946.

On 4 March, Tamalpais departed Sasebo for Hong Kong, where she stayed almost two months. On 26 April, she sailed from Hong Kong to return to the United States. She transited the Panama Canal between 22 and 24 May and arrived in Mobile, Alabama, on the 28th. On 21 June 1946, she was decommissioned and returned to the War Shipping Administration for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet. Her name was struck from the Navy List on 8 July 1946.

Assigned to duty with MSTS

On 10 March 1948, Tamalpais was reacquired by the Navy, and she was operated by a civilian contractor for the Navy until 1 October 1949, when she was transferred to the Military Sea Transportation Service for duty as a non-commissioned naval vessel manned by civilian personnel. On 28 April 1950, her name was reinstated on the Navy list. For the next eight years, she plied the oceans of the world as USNS Tamalpais (T-AO-96), visiting major ports the world over and carrying petroleum for the Navy. On 18 December 1967, her name was again struck from the Navy list; and she was transferred to the Maritime Commission's James River Group, National Defense Reserve Fleet.

Transferred to the U.S. Army

Sometime between 31 December 1965 and 30 June 1966, Tamalpais was turned over to the Department of the Army. Together [1] with the Kennebago (AO-81), the ship served as a floating power station anchored near Nha Trang, Vietnam until at least May 1971.


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

External links

  • Photo gallery of USS Tamalpais (AO-96) at NavSource Naval History