Location: at sea
USS Passumpsic (AO-107) was an Ashtabula class fleet replenishment oiler that served in the U.S. Navy from 1946 to 1973, then transferred to the Military Sealift Command to continue service as United States Naval Ship USNS Passumpsic (T-AO-107). She was the only U.S. Navy ship to bear the name Passumpsic, after the Passumpsic River in Vermont.
USS Passumpsic (AO-107) was laid down on 8 March 1945 as Maritime Commission Hull 2703 by Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Chester, Pennsylvania. She was launched on 31 October 1945, sponsored by Mrs. M. F. Draemel, wife of Rear Admiral Milo F. Draemel, then Commandant of the 4th Naval District, and commissioned on 1 April 1946, Captain C.M. Ryan in command. Because of beginning as a "Maritime" Hull, Passumpsic has the distinction of being one of only six naval ships to have her Frame numbers running from Aft - Forward, instead of Forward to Aft.
She served during the Korean War and Vietnam Wars. She was decommissioned 24 Jul 1973 She transferred to the Military Sealift Command on the same day, becoming United States Naval Ship USNS Passumpsic (T-AO-107). Under this new designation, she continued in service in support of the U.S. Navy with a civilian crew from 1975 until 1991. Those who sailed on her during Operation Desert Storm were eligible for the Combat Action Ribbon.
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
An Indian word meaning “clear running water,” designating a river in Vermont.
(AO–107: dp. 7,423; l. 553’; b. 75’; dr. 32’; s. 18.3 k.; cpl. 304; a. 1 5”, 4 3”, 8 40mm. ; cl. Mispillion; T. T3–S2–A3)
Passumpsic (AO–107) was laid down 8 March 1945 as M.C. Hull 2703 by Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Chester, Pa.; launched 31 October; sponsored by Mrs. M.F. Draemel, wife of Rear Admiral Milo F. Draemel, then Commandant of the 4th Naval District; and commissioned 1 April 1946, Capt. C.M. Ryan in command.
After a Caribbean shakedown, Passumpsic operated out of Long Beach, Calif. under the control of Commander, Service Force Pacific servicing Pacific Fleet units while attached to Service Squadrons 1 and 3.
Passumpsic has called at Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, North Borneo, the Fiji Islands, Australia, Arabia, and Ceylon. She has also visited the Philippines, Midway, Oahu, and islands in the Marshall and Mariana groups.
From June 1950 through February 1954, Passumpsic spent 34 of 44 months outside of the U. S. Though not subjected to hostile fire during the Korean War, she received 9 of 10 battle stars awarded to U.S. ships during that conflict.
Passumpsic’s assignments since Korea have entailed annual WestPac deployments. Upon return from deployment in April 1964, Passumpsic underwent an INSURV Board Inspection at Long Beach Naval Shipyard in preparation for “Jumboization,” a project of modernization and renovation for AO–22 class fleet oilers. She steamed 12 October for the American Shipbuilding Co. yard at Lorain, Ohio, where the conversion was to take place. At Boston Naval Shipyard a Supply Overhaul Assistance Program (SOAP) was set up to sort, identify, and repackage the ship’s stock of repair parts and to receive, sort, and stow the repair parts supplied by the contractor and the Navy in conjunction with the conversion programs. After passage through the St. Lawrence Seaway, Passumpsic was placed “in commission, in reserve” 26 November and most of her crew detached, leaving a nucleus party of 28 men and 4 officers. The ship was then turned over to the American Shipbuilding Co.
The conversion involved transferring her existing midships superstructure to a newly constructed tank section. The original hull was cut and the bow and stern sections were added to the new tank section. Conversion modifidations increased Passumpsic’s length by 91 feet, her full load displacement from 25,500 to 34,350 tons, and her maximum draft from 32 to 36 feet.
Passumpsic departed Lorain 22 November 1965 with a merchant marine master and civilian crew. She arrived at the Boston Army Base piers, South Boston, 1 December.
Accepted by the Navy at Boston 10 January 1966, Passumpsic fitted out at Boston Naval Shipyard throughout February and into March, departing 5 March for Norfolk, Va. for POL loading and degaussing inspection.
Passumpsic steamed 11 March for her homeport of Long Beach, Calif., arriving 6 April. Final Navy acceptance came 24 August and designation as ready unit under CTG 13.1 on 1 September.
She steamed 22 September and arrived Subic Bay, P.I. 15 October. From Subic the oiler steamed on replenishment operations off the coasts of North and South Vietnam. She continued to service WestPac units until May 1967, when she returned to her homeport.
November of both 1967 and 1968 witnessed Passumpsic’s departure for WestPac. Both deployments covered a time span of seven months, and during both the oiler operated from Subic Bay to the Vietnam combat zone, making the traditional port visits between unrep assignments. She returned to Long Beach 27 June 1969 for yard availability, local training operations, and preparations for her next WestPac deployment.
Passumpsic received nine battle stars for Korean War service.
Sources • USS Passumpsic, Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Naval History & Heritage Command, US Navy. Accessed 28 Apr 2014.
• USS Passumpsic, Wikipedia.com; accessed 28 Apr 2014.
• USNS Passumpsic, Wikipedia.com, accessed 28 Apr 2014.
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