Neosho in 1985
|Builder:||Fore River Shipyard, Quincy, Massachusetts|
|Laid down:||2 September 1952|
|Launched:||10 November 1953|
|Sponsored by:||Mrs. Philipps|
|Commissioned:||24 September 1954|
|Decommissioned:||25 May 1978|
|In service:||25 May 1978|
|Out of service:||1992|
|Struck:||16 February 1994|
|Identification:||IMO number: 7737042|
|Motto:||"Lifeblood of the Fleet"|
|Fate:||Sold for scrapping, 2 February 2005|
|Class and type:||Neosho-class oiler|
|Length:||655 ft (200 m)|
|Beam:||86 ft (26 m)|
|Draft:||35 ft (11 m)|
|Speed:||20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)|
|Capacity:||180,000 bbl (29,000 m3)|
The fourth Neosho was laid down 15 August 1952 by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation's Fore River Shipyard at Quincy, Massachusetts, and named Neosho on 29 September 1953. She was launched on 10 November 1953, sponsored by Mrs. Phillips, wife of Rear Admiral John S. Phillips, the last commanding officer of the USS Neosho (AO-23), which survived the Attack on Pearl Harbor and was sunk during the Battle of the Coral Sea. AO-143 was commissioned on 24 September 1954, Captain Norman E. Smith in command.
Neosho was the first of a class of U.S. Navy fleet oilers designed to combine speed and large cargo capacity for underway replenishment. She entered service at Norfolk, Virginia, in the Atlantic Fleet on 8 December 1954. A unit of Service Forces, Atlantic Fleet, she operated along the U.S. East Coast and in the Caribbean until 7 September 1955, when she got underway for her first Mediterranean deployment.
After that initial deployment, Neosho rotated regularly between the United States Sixth Fleet and the United States Second Fleet. During her second 6th Fleet deployment in autumn 1956, she supported units of the Sixth Fleet as they stood by in case they were called on to intervene in the Suez Crisis and the tense period which followed.
In August–September 1958 she joined Task Force 88 for Operation Argus, making three nuclear weapons tests in the South Atlantic. Her commanding officer served as Commander Task Group 88.3, the Mobile Logistics Group, consisted of: Neosho, equipped with USAF MSQ-1 radar and communication vans, USS Salamonie (AO-26), and assigned destroyers.
In the fall of 1962 she provided logistical support to the ships during the Cuban Missile Crisis enforcing the Naval Quarantine of Cuba. From Apr until July 1964 she had a complete overhaul in Baltimore MD dry dock. Less than three years later, in 1965, she serviced Atlantic Fleet ships during the political turmoil in the Dominican Republic, which later led to the United States 1965 Occupation of the Dominican Republic. By 1967 she had taken part in over 2,500 replenishments to transfer more than 640 million US gallons (2,400,000 m3) of petroleum products under both normal and crisis operational conditions.
In January 1968, Neosho emerged from overhaul at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard at Portsmouth, Virginia, to commence another three year employment cycle beginning with refresher training and local operations, followed by two seven month Mediterranean tours sandwiching duty with the 2nd Fleet, and ending, in late 1970, with another overhaul.
Military Sealift Command, 1978–1992
Neosho was decommissioned on 25 May 1978, and placed in service with the Military Sealift Command as USNS Neosho (T-AO-143), continuing her service with a civilian crew. She was placed out of service in 1992, and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 16 February 1994.
Neosho was transferred to the United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) on 1 May 1999 for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River, Fort Eustis, Virginia. The ship was returned to U.S. Navy custody six years later and sold for scrapping on 2 February 2005. The scrapping was completed at International Shipbreaking of Brownsville, Texas on 8 November 2005.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to USS Neosho (AO-143).|
- Photo gallery of USS Neosho (AO-143) at NavSource Naval History
- USS Neosho (AO-143) Veteran's website
- Wildenberg, Thomas (1996). Gray Steel and Black Oil: Fast Tankers and Replenishment at Sea in the U.S. Navy, 1912-1995. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. Retrieved 2009-04-28.