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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive
USS Robert L. Barnes (AG-27)
USS Robert L. Barnes (AO-14) (1921 - 1938)
USS Robert L. Barnes (AK-11) (1920 - 1921)
USS Robert L. Barnes (ID#3088) (1918 - 1920)
1927-International Radio Call Sign:
Negative - Able - Zed - Zed
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons
Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive - Guam, 8 December 1941) - American Defense Service Medal (with Fleet clasp)
Bottom Row - American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal - World War II Victory Medal
Robert L. Barnes Class Tanker:
Laid down in 1917 at McDougall Duluth Ship Building Co., Duluth, MN. for the Robert Barnes Steam Ship Co
"Captain Alexander McDougall designed SS Robert L. Barnes as a prototype "rectangular ship" or "sea-going canal boat," with a simple, low hull and a "portable" superstructure that could be removed to pass under the bridges of the New York State canals. McDougall had previously invented the unusual "whaleback" freighter, of which he built over 40 examples, both steamers and barges, between 1888 and 1898. Robert L. Barnes was built in 1917 in less than four months by the McDougall-Duluth Co, Duluth, Minn., then little more than a blacksmith shop, and was fitted with a steam engine that had been built in 1888. She was built 42 feet short to pass through the Welland Canal on her trip to New York from Duluth. Originally fitted to carry 3,000 tons of coal, she was quickly converted to carry oil. She was inspected and taken over by the Navy in June 1918 and commissioned as a fuel ship at New York in October. The inspectors noted that she was probably not structurally strong enough for seagoing service with the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (N.O.T.S.).
Assigned to the Fifth Naval District, Robert L. Barnes departed New York in March 1919 and sailed for Hampton Roads. After calling at Guantanamo Bay and New York, she returned to Norfolk in April and commenced a period of extensive repairs at the Norfolk Navy Yard. In September 1919 she was assigned to duty with N.O.T.S., probably for the transit to her newly-assigned duty station at Guam. She sailed from Norfolk in late November via the Panama Canal and San Pedro to Pearl Harbor. The ship underwent
more extensive repairs at Pearl Harbor and only arrived at Guam in April 1920. There she commenced duty as a floating oil storage facility in Apra Harbor. When the U. S. Navy's hull number system was implemented in July 1920 Robert L. Barnes was described as "station ship" at Guam and designated a cargo ship
(AK-11), but in July 1921 she was described more correctly as an oil depot and her designation was changed to oiler (AO-14). She remained at Guam throughout the interwar period, departing only in 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1930 and 1934 under tow for overhaul at the Cavite Naval Station in the Philippines. Her designation
was changed to miscellaneous auxiliary (AG-27) in July 1938. In a rare moment of glory, Robert L. Barnes assisted in the salvage of the grounded U. S. Army transport U.S. Grant in May 1939.
When the Japanese attacked Guam the day after the Pearl Harbor attack, Robert L. Barnes was bombed and strafed at her moorings and left damaged and leaking. She fell into enemy hands two days later in an abandoned condition and was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in July 1942. Recovered at the end of the war, she was sold to British mercantile interests and served as Fortune and M.T.S. No. 2 from 1945 to 1949. The former "sea-going canal boat" was finally scrapped in 1950." Quoted from US Naval Historical Center
Launched, date unknown
Acquired by the United States Shipping Board (USSB), 29 June 1918, transferred to the Navy the same day
Commissioned USS Robert L. Barnes (ID-3088), 19 October 1918, at New York
LT. George C. Daniels assumed command, 29 January 1919
Designated (AO-14), 17 July 1920
Decommissioned in March 1927
Recommissioned, 1 July 1930, LT. Theodore G. Haff in command
Designation changed to Miscellaneous Auxiliary (Oil Depot Ship) (AG-27), July 1938
Captured by Japanese forces, 10 December 1941, at Guam Marianas Islands
Struck from the Naval Register, 24 July 1942
Recovered from Japan at war's end
Sold to a British mercantile interest, renamed Fortune and M.T.S. No. 2 from 1945 to 1949
Final Disposition, scrapped in 1950
Displacement 1,630 long tons (lt) 3,850 long tons (fl)
Length 258' 6"
Beam 43' 2"
Draft 15' (max)
Speed 8,5 kts.
three Chief Petty Officers
50 other enlisted
Cargo Capacity 1,900 t.
two single ended boilers
one vertical reciprocating steam engine
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For Full Size Image
||SS Robert L. Barnes underway circa 1917, before acquisition by the Navy. Alexander McDougall built her as the prototype "rectangular
ship" or "sea-going canal boat," with a plain, low hull and a superstructure that could be removed to pass under canal bridges.
US Navy photo # NH 65155 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
|US Naval Historical Center
|USS Robert L. Barnes (AO-14)
||USS Robert L. Barnes (AO-14) at Guam in the 1920s or 1930s. Note the extensive use of awnings.
US Navy photo # NH 99600 from the collection of Roscoe C. Stevens at the US Naval Historical Center.
|US Naval Historical Center
||USS Robert L. Barnes (AO-14) at Guam in the 1920s or 1930s. Note the ship's barge, with sailing gear rigged, in foreground.
US Navy photo # NH 71566 from the collection of Roscoe C. Stevens at the US Naval Historical Center.
|US Naval Historical Center
||USS Robert L. Barnes (AO-14) at Guam in the 1920s or 1930s with the usual awnings rigged over her deck.
US Navy photo # NH 105289, courtesy Mr. & Mrs. Burle Spurlock, 2007, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center, courtesy Shipscribe.com.
||Guard Mail postage stamp featuring USS Robert L. Barnes (AO-14) Guard Mail was local mail on Guam instituted in the 1930s.
Guard Mail was necessary since the US Post Office at Guam did not deliver to individual addresses.
USS Robert L. Barnes (AO-14)
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
|01||LT. Daniels, George C.||29 January 1919 - 6 June 1920|
|02||LTjg. Evans, George Blaine, USN||6 June 1920 - ?|
|03||LT. Dorsey, Arthur Bales||19 October 1922 - 19 October 1922|
|05||LT. Rodman, Walker Perry||10 December 1924 - March 1927|
| ||Decommissioned||March 1927 - 1 July 1930|
|06||LT. Haff, Theodore Germond||1 July 1930 - 14 June 1932|
|07||LT. Goldy, Harry Donald||14 June 1932 - ?|
|08||LT. Thieme, Karl August||21 June 1935 - 6 June 1936|
|09||LCDR. Dugan, Paul Fleming||6 June 1936 - ?|
|10||LT. Edgar. Harold Brown||11 June 1938 - 10 December 1941 (Captured by Japan)|
|Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves
Crew Contact And Reunion Information
Fleet Tankers Association
U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log
Last Updated 6 November 2020
This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo|