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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski

Contributed by Al Grazevich

USS Prairie (AD-15)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Echo - Delta - Whiskey
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation - Navy Battle "E" Ribbon (4)
Second Row - China Service Medal (extended) - American Defense Service Medal (with "A" device) - American Campaign Medal
Third Row - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal - World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Medal (with Asia clasp)
Fourth Row - National Defense Service Medal (3) - Korea Service Medal - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (2-Persian Gulf)
Fifth Row - Vietnam Service Medal - Southwest Asia Service Medal - Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
Sixth Row - United Nations Service Medal - Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait) - Republic of Korean War Service Medal (retroactive)

Dixie Class Destroyer Tender:
  • Laid down, 7 December 1938, at New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J.
  • Launched, 9 December 1939
  • Commissioned USS Prairie (AD-15), 5 August 1940, CAPT. John B. W. Waller in command
  • During World War II Prairie was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater
  • Decommissioned and struck from the Naval Register, 26 March 1993
  • Transferred to the Maritime Administration (MARAD) for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, Benecia, CA.
  • Title transfer to MARAD, 1 April 1993
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 2 April 1993 (some sources indicate 6 April 1993) to "Nishant Import & Export" of the United Arab Emirates for $960,000. Towed to India in April 1993 and scrapped
    Displacement 18,000 t. (lim)
    Length 530' 6"
    Beam 73' 4"
    Draft 24' 5"
    Speed 19.6 kts (trial)
    officer 123
    enlisted 1,576
    four single 5"/38 dual purpose gun mounts
    four single 40mm AA gun mounts
    two 3pdr gun mounts
    Aft two 5"/38 mounts and all 40mm gun mounts later removed, and helicopter platform added
    Largest boom capacity 20 t.
    Ship's Service Generators four 750Kw 450V A.C.
    Fuel Capacity
    NSFO 24,555 Bbls.
    Diesel 2,705 Bbls.
    two New York Shipbuilding Parsons-design steam turbines
    four Babcock & Wilcox "A" (three drum expansion type) boilers 485psi 720°.
    double De Laval Main Reduction Gear
    two propellers, 11,000shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    Prairie 68k Broadside view of Prairie (AD-15) after launching at New York Shipbuilding Corp, Camden, N.J., 9 December 1939. The ship beyond Prairie is probably USS Dixie (AD-14) fitting out at the yard.
    New York Shipbuilding Corp photo.
    David Buell
    Prairie 121k USS Prairie (AD-15) bow view, port side, Philadelphia Navy Yard, 27 January 1940
    US Navy photo
    Capt. Jerry Mason USN
    Prairie 167k Oil on canvas ďA Time and a Place, Argentia Bay, Newfoundland, 1941, by artist Tom Lea. USS Prairie (AD-15) with three destroyers moored alongside. Published in LIFE in May 1942, captioned "Like a fierce mother with three children sits the big supply ship, blinking a message to the newcomers with her high starboard light ..." Life Collection of Art WWII, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Christopher L. Eger
    185k USS Prairie (AD-15) with three destroyers alongside at Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada, early 1942.
    US National Archives Photo # 80-G-7425, a US Navy photo now in the collections of the US National Archives
    Rick Davis
    Prairie 101k USS Prairie (AD-15) at the Boston Navy Yard. 17 October 1943, preparing to transfer to the Pacific. The ship was commissioned in 1940 with open mounts in number 2 and 3 positions, and splinter protection was soon fitted around all four 5"/38 mounts. Enclosed mounts were substituted and then protective tubs removed after the ship was damaged by a pier fire at Argentia, Newfoundland in May 1942.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 94747 from the collections of the US Naval History and Heritage Command, courtesy
    Robert Hurst
    Prairie 48k USS Prairie (AD-15) at anchor, circa 1943, location unknown.
    US Navy photo from "All Hands" magazine, July 1960.
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    LST-672 463k USS Prairie (AD-15), middle distant, anchored with destroyers alongside in the harbor at the Japanese Naval Base in Yokosuka harbor, 1 November 1945. Also identifiable are many other US Navy ships, Japanese Navy ships and shoreside points of interest, some of them are identified as follows:
    USS LST-672 moored, foreground
    Numbered items include:
    #1 drydock with USS Patroclus (ARL-19) in the dock being repaired after being rammed by USS Dauphin (APA-97)
    #2 Port Director's office
    #3 Japanese ships...Possibly destroyers
    #4 Man made defensive caves
    #5 Battleship HIMJS Nagato
    #6 Battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62)
    #7 USS Patroclus (ARL-19)'s normal berth
    #8 railway station
    US Navy photo.
    Tommy Browning, for his father James Browning SF3/c USS Patroclus
    Christina Cole for her grandfather Leonard Malewicz TM3/c USS Prairie 1945-46
    Prairie 36k USS Prairie (AD-15), underway, date and location unknown. Hyperwar US Navy in WWII
    Prairie 51k USS Prairie (AD-15) underway, date and location unknown.
    ©Marine Photos, San Diego, CA.
    Mike Smolinski
    Prairie 49k USS Prairie (AD-15) underway, date and location unknown. Louis Drinovsky
    AD 15 750-46, Navy Photo, 2/15/46
    226k USS Prairie (AD-15) at Mare Island on 15 February 1946. The photo was taken from the USS General G. M. Randall (AP-115) Note YD-33 forward of Prairie. Darryl Baker
    AD 15 747-46, Navy Photo, 2/15/46
    221k USS Prairie (AD-15) and the USS Haven (AH-12) at Mare Island on 19 February 1946. The photo was taken from the USS General G. M. Randall (AP-115). Darryl Baker
    Prairie 89k USS Prairie (AD-15) at anchor tending five destroyers alongside. From inboard to outboard:
    USS O'Hare (DD-889)
    USS John R. Craig (DD-885)
    USS Perkins (DD-877)
    USS Floyd B. Parks (DD-884) and
    USS Ross (DD-563)
    US Navy photo from "All Hands" magazine, March 1954
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    Prairie 106k USS Prairie (AD-15) entering Pearl Harbor in 1955. Mike Smolinski
    Fletcher 117k USS Prairie (AD-15) with destroyers alongside on both her starboard and port sides, while moored in the harbor at Yokosuka, Japan, circa July-August 1959. USS Fletcher (DD-445) is the outboard ship on Prairie's port side. Photo by Derick S. Hartshorn
    Prairie 101k USS Prairie (AD-15) moored at Naval Base Yokosuka, Japan, fall 1959 with:
    USS Southerland (DDR-743),
    USS Samuel N. Moore (DD-747),
    USS Rowan (DD-782), and
    USS Gurke (DD-783) alongside.
    Photo by Derick S. Hartshorn
    Morton 60k USS Prairie (AD-15) moored to a buoy at San Diego, CA., with USS Wiltsie (DD-716) and USS Morton (DD-948) alongside, November 1960. Robert Schultz ETC(SW) USN Ret.
    Prairie 88k USS Prairie (AD-15) underway, 25 April 1962, location unknown, Note the private automobiles on the helicopter flight deck.
    US Navy photo
    Robert M. Cieri
    206k USS Prairie (AD-15) underway, date and location unknown. Nicholas Tiberio
    Shields 270k USS Prairie (AD-15) with USS Shields (DD-596), USS Agerholm (DD-826), USS Richard B. Anderson (DD-786) and an unidentified destroyer alongside, 20 August 1962, location unknown.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # 94750.
    Ed Zajkowski
    Prairie 67k USS Prairie (AD-15) under way, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo from "All Hands" magazine, January 1967
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    228k USS Prairie (AD-15) underway off San Diego, date unknown.
    ©George Barber
    Nicholas Tiberio
    Prairie 47k USS Prairie (AD-15) underway, date and location unknown.
    ©Marine Photos, San Diego CA.
    Mike Smolinski
    Prairie 53k USS Prairie (AD-15) underway off Point Loma as she exits San Diego Bay, date unknown.
    ©Marine Photos, San Diego CA.
    Mike Smolinski
    Prairie 70k USS Prairie (AD-15) moored pierside at Pearl Harbor, 1967. Photo by Ramon Jackson
    Prairie 181k USS Prairie (AD-15) outbound from San Diego, 1971. Mike Smolinski
    239k USS Prairie (AD-15) underway, date and location unknown. Nicholas Tiberio
    175k USS Prairie (AD-15) underway, date and location unknown. Nicholas Tiberio
    Prairie 197k USS Prairie (AD-15) underway, date and location unknown. Photo caption reads: "Destroyer tender USS Prairie (AD 15) is still going strong after nearly a half-century of distinguished service to the fleet. Commissioned in 1940, Prairie celebrates its 48th birthday in August. It is the oldest Navy ship on continuous active duty."
    US Navy photo from "All Hands" magazine, July 1988
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    Prairie 205k USS Prairie (AD-15) departing Pearl Harbor during her 1979 deployment. Mike Smolinski
    Prairie 73k USS Prairie (AD-15) moored pierside at NAS Alameda in April 1980. Photo by Robert M. Cieri
    Prairie 68k USS Prairie (AD-15) moored pierside at NAS Alameda in April 1980. Photo by Robert M. Cieri
    Prairie 130k USS Prairie (AD-15) moored pierside at NavSta San Diego, CA. with USS Hull (DD-945) on the opposite side of the pier, probably in February 1982. Larry Lee
    Prairie 81k
    Prairie 53k USS Prairie (AD-15) underway, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo from "All Hands" magazine, October 1984
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    283k USS Prairie (AD-15) in dry dock No.1, Long Beach Naval Shipyard, Long Beach, cA., in February 1965. In front are the destroyers USS Turner Joy (DD-951) and USS Shields (DD-596).
    U.S. Navy photo from the USS Prairie (AD-15) 1988-89 cruise book
    Robert Hurst
    Prairie 66k USS Prairie (AD-15) at anchor, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo from "All Hands" magazine, November 1989
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    Prairie 239k USS Prairie (AD-15) under way off San Diego, CA., date unknown. Mike Smolinski
    Prairie 60k USS Prairie (AD-15) underway, date and location unknown. Richard Mill BMCS USN Ret.
    286k USS Prairie (AD-15) underway off the coast of Southern California. As the oldest U.S Navy ship in commission, Prairie is flying the "Don't Tread on Me" jack, the first navy jack. All ships of the U.S. Navy flew the jack in place of the traditional union jack during the Global War On Terrorism. Normaly the jack is only flown by the oldest ship in commission in the U.S. Navy. Nicholas Tiberio
    Prairie 57k USS Prairie (AD-15) moored at Naval Station Long Beach, 26 March 1993, decked out in red white and blue bunting ready for decommissioning after 50 years of service. The "Don`t Tread on Me" flag flying from the vessel`s starboard yardarm signifies that USS Prairie was the oldest ship in naval service at that time. Mike Smolinski

    For more photos and information about USS Prairie, see:
  • Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
  • Memorabilia
  • Welcome Aboard Pamphlet - 1983
  • Thanksgiving Day Menu - 1945

  • Commanding Officers
    01CAPT. Waller, John Beresford Wynn, USN (USNA 1914) :RADM5 August 1940 - 5 October 1941
    02CAPT. Flemming, Robert Walton, USN (USNA 1917)5 October 1941 - 27 November 1942
    03CAPT. Old, Francis Paxton, USN (USNA 1920) :VADM27 November 1942 - 5 July 1944
    04CAPT. Kneeland, Omer Archibald, USN (USNA 1922)5 July 1944 - 19 June 1945
    05CAPT. Gibson, Francis Stephenson, USN19 June 1945 - 7 October 1945
    06CAPT. Fenn, Herbert Keeney, USN (USNA 1913)7 October 1945 - 21 February 1946
    07CAPT. McDowell, Lewis Richard, USN :RADM21 February 1946 - 15 November 1947
    08CAPT. Close, Forrest, USN (USNA 1924)15 November 1947 - 27 November 1948
    09CAPT. Kelly, Thomas Eugene, USN (USNA 1923)27 November 1948 - 29 October 1949
    10CAPT. Renn, Joseph Bryan, USN :RADM29 October 1949 - 3 November 1950
    11CAPT. Price, Kenton Edson, USN (USNA 1927)3 November 1950 - 14 March 1952
    12CAPT. McKnight Jr., John Rowland, USN (USNA 1930) :RADM14 March 1952 - 28 February 1953
    13CAPT. Newsome, James Hillman, USN (USNA 1930)28 February 1953 - 15 August 1953
    14CAPT. Kelsye, P.15 August 1953 - 24 September 1953
    15CAPT. Warburton, Audley Lyne, USN (USNA 1924) :RADM24 September 1953 - 12 March 1955
    16CAPT. Fahle, Robert Schley, USN (USNA 1931)12 March 1955 - 30 November 1956
    17CAPT. Sugarman, Charles Maurice, USN (USNA 1932)30 November 1956 - 25 October 1957
    18CAPT. Ovrom, Robert Johnston, USN (USNA 1934)25 October 1957 - 27 September 1958
    19CAPT. Gallaher, Anton Renkl, USN (USNA 1933)27 September 1958 - 24 October 1959
    20CAPT. Moody, Dwight Lyman, USN (USNA 1935)24 October 1959 - 28 September 1960
    21CAPT. Finn, William Stephen, USN (USNA 1938)28 September 1960 - 3 May 1962
    22CAPT. Brown, Kenneth Barth, USN (USNA 1942)3 May 1962 - 14 June 1963
    23CAPT. Steen, Kenneth, USN (USNA 1941)14 June 1963 - 11 July 1964
    24CAPT. Davis Jr., John Blount, USN (USNA 1942) :RADM11 July 1964 - 5 March 1965
    25CAPT. Petitt, Robert Buel, USN (USNA 1944)5 March 1965 - 30 June 1966
    26CAPT. Risch Jr., Harry, USN30 June 1966 - 1 April 1967
    27CAPT. Dittler Jr., Harry Cline, USN1 April 1967 - 18 July 1968
    28CDR. Nellis, Donald Patrick, USN18 July 1968 - 7 October 1968
    29LCDR. Bates, Glenn Dale, USN (USNA 1955)7 October 1968 - 22 October 1968
    30CAPT. Vollertsen, Russell Armin, USN (USNA 1948-A)22 October 1968 - 10 December 1968
    31CAPT. Sante, Robert Donald, USN10 December 1968 - 8 January 1970
    32CDR. Cooper, Robert George, USN8 January 1970 - 27 January 1970
    33CAPT. Soper, Malvern Eugene, USN27 January 1970 - 31 July 1971
    34CAPT. Lyon, James Owen, USN (USNA 1946)31 July 1971 - 25 January 1973
    35CAPT. Vollertsen, Russell Armin, USN (USNA 1948-A)25 January 1973 - 13 September 1974
    36CAPT. Muck, Floyd Robert, USN (USNA 1950)13 September 1974 - 17 December 1976
    37CAPT. Miller, William Anthony, USN (USNA 1950)17 December 1976 - 9 December 1978
    38CAPT. Helms Jr., Raymond Earl, USN9 December 1978 - 22 November 1980
    39CAPT. Archambault, Guy Andre, USN22 November 1980 - 24 November 1982
    40CAPT. Duich, Steven James, USN (USNA 1961)24 November 1982 - 28 June 1985
    41CAPT. Althouse, Thomas Stephenson, USN (USNA 1963)28 June 1985 - 24 June 1987
    42CAPT. Landers, Michael Francis, USN24 June 1987 - 7 July 1989
    43CAPT. Hattan, Robert Leland, USN7 July 1989 - 26 July 1991
    44CAPT. Stewart, Wilton Robert, USN26 July 1991 - 26 March 1993
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log

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    Last Updated 10 November 2023