Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Routine repairs to USS Patapsco

For several days starting on today's date in 1943, Dad's ship, Vestal, performed miscellaneous repairs to the gasoline tanker, USS Patapsco, which she had also worked on in June (Vestal will again work on her in November). Service ships like Patapsco were essential in the dangerous task of transporting gasoline to warships in the fleet and remote naval stations.

Launched in August 1942, the tanker was designated AOG-1, the first ship in her class. The Patapsco was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater, operating out of New Caledonia, the Solomons, and New Hebrides until the end of 1944. She next worked out of New Zealand, then back to the Solomons until mid-1945. She then shifted with most of the fleet to Ulithi in the Caroline Islands until the end of the war. Patapsco continued her Pacific service until heading to the states in February 1946, where she was decommissioned the same year.

USS Patapsco
Source: NavSource Online

Unlike most Navy ships that helped to win WWII, Patapsco saw war action for a second time. She was brought back into service in 1950 when the hostilities broke out in Korea. She fueled vessels off the coast of the Korean Peninsula, serving there through the end of 1952. She continued service in the Navy until decommissioning in 1955.

Patapsco was recommissioned yet a third time in June 1966, for service in the Vietnam War. The ship completed 3 tours of duty during that conflict.

The veteran tanker was decommissioned for the final time and struck from the Naval Vessel Register in 1974. But even then, that was not the end of her life. She was sold in 1979, and converted to a fishing trawler, renamed Arctic Storm. The ship still serves in that capacity today, 70 years after receiving war-time repairs from Vestal at Espiritu Santo.

Arctic Storm
Source: Arctic Storm Management Group, LLC

USS Patapsco received 1 battle star for her World War II service, 1 for her Korean service, and 7 Campaign Stars for her service in the Vietnam War.

Sources: USS Vestal War Diary, June, August, & November 1943; NavSource OnlineWikipedia

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