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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski

Contributed by Al Grazevich

USS Kennebec (AO-36)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - India - Golf - Uniform
JANAP Tactical Voice Radio Call Sign - Lilac (N)ovember - Section 6A of JANAP 119(F) 1968
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - China Service Medal (extended)
Second Row - American Campaign Medal - Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal (1) - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
Third Row - World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Medal (with Asia clasp) - National Defense Service Medal (2)
Fourth Row - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Vietnam, Korea) - Vietnam Service Medal (7) - Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

Kennebec Class Fleet Oiler
  • Laid down as SS Corsicana, a Maritime Commission type (T2-SO) tanker hull, under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 142), at Bethlehem Steel Shipyard, Sparrows Point, MD.
  • Launched, 19 April 1941
  • Acquired by the Navy, 13 January 1942
  • Commissioned USS Kennebec (AO-36), 4 February 1942, CDR. Stuart S. Reynolds in command
  • During World War II USS Kennebec was assigned to both the Europe-Africa-Middle East and Asiatic-Pacific Theaters and participated in the following campaign:

    Europe-Africa-Middle East Theater
    Campaign and Dates
    North African Occupation
    Algeria-Morocco landings, 8 to 11 November 1942

  • Following World War II USS Kennebec was assigned to Occupation and China service in the Far East for the following periods:

    Navy Occupation Service Medal

    China Service Medal (extended)
    7 September 1945 to 23 March 19467 September 1945 to 23 March 1946
    3 to 25 May 194626 May to 9 July 1946
    1 February to 5 March 19476 to 7 March 1947
    16 April to 5 May 1947 
    12 to 28 June 1947 

  • Decommissioned, 4 September 1950, at San Diego, CA.
  • Laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet
  • Recommissioned, 11 January 1951, at Oakland, CA., CDR. A. G. Beckman in command
  • Decommissioned, 25 September 1954, at San Diego, CA.
  • Laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet, San Diego Group
  • Recommissioned, 14 December 1956, CDR. Naden F. Stimac in command
  • Decommissioned, 31 October 1957
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 14 January 1959
  • Transferred to the Maritime Administration (MARAD) for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet
  • Reacquired by the Navy and recommissioned, 16 December 1961
  • During the Vietnam War USS Kennebec participated in the following campaigns:

    Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Vietnam Service Medal
    Campaigns and Dates Campaigns and Dates
    Vietnam Advisory Campaign
    3 to 10 August 1964
    13 to 30 August 1964
    10 to 15 September 1964
    19 to 21 September 1964
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase III
    24 June to 4 July 1967
    9 to 16 and 22 to 29 July 1967
    3 to 16 August 1967
    Vietnam Defense
    25 to 29 September 1965
    7 to 10 and 20 to 26 October1965
    30 October to 11 November 1965
    23 to 27 November 1965
    8 to 15 December 1965
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase IV
    7 to 15 April 1968
    26 April to 5 May 1968
    11 to 20 and 25 to 28 May 1968
    3 to 10, 15 to 22 and 30 June 1968
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive
    31 December 1965
    15 to 17 January 1966
    2 to 7 and 19 to 25 February 1966
    5 to 10 and 22 to 30 March 1966
    7 to 11 and 22 to 25 April 1966
    30 April to 2 May 1966
    6 to 12 and 28 to 29 May 1966
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase V
    1 to 07 July 1968
    12 to 20 September 1968
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase II
    5 to 9 and 18 to 28 February 1967
    11 to 19 March 1967
    25 March to 3 April 1967
    9 to 18 April 1967
    5 to 15 May 1967
    Vietnam Summer-Fall 1969
    11 to 18 June 1969
    24 June to 1 July 1969
    11 to 20 July 1969
    7 to 16 and 21 to 27 August 1969
    3 to 8 and 22 to 28 September 1969

  • Decommissioned, 29 June 1970, at Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility, Mare Island, Vallejo, CA.
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 15 July 1976
  • USS Kennebec earned one battle star for World War II service, and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and Vietnam Service Medal with seven campaign stars for Vietnam War service
  • Transferred to the Maritime Administration (MARAD) for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet
  • Final Disposition, sold by MARAD for non-transportation use, 6 April 1982, to Levin Metals Corporation for $180,077.00 and subsequently scrapped.
    Displacement 6,013 t.(lt) 22,380 t.(fl)
    Length 501' 5"
    Beam 68'
    Draft 30' 2"
    Speed 16.7 kts. (trial)
    Officers - 20
    Enlisted - 194
    Largest Boom Capacity 7.5 t.
    one single 5"/38 cal dual purpose gun mount
    four single 3"/50 cal dual purpose gun mounts
    four twin 40mm AA gun mounts
    four twin 20mm AA gun mounts
    Cargo Capacity
    Oil - 109,600 Bbls
    Gasoline - 689,000 Gals
    Fuel Capacity NSFO - 4,550 Bbls
    one Westinghouse geared turbine
    two Foster and Wheeler P-type boilers 420psi 720°
    double Westinghouse Main Reduction Gear
    Ship's Service Generators
    one turbo-drive 50Kw 240V D.C.
    two turbo-drive 300Kw 240V A.C.
    single propeller, 12,000shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Source
    Kennebec - The Kennebec River is a 170-mile-long river within the state of Maine.
    Photo - The Coast Guard cutter USCGC Tackle (WYTL-65604) breaks ice on the Kennebec River near Bath, Maine for flood relief while a local resident skis down the river with his dog. Melting snow drains into the ice-choked river, threatening to flood towns from Gardiner, Maine, to Bath, Maine. Coast Guard cutters break the ice to allow the snowmelt to drain harmlessly into the Atlantic Ocean. (US Coast Guard photo)
    Map - The course of the Kennebec River map by ©Papayoung
    Tommy Trampp
    Kennebec 43k Artist C.G. Evers painting of USS Kennebec (AO-36) underway during World War II
    US Navy photo.
    Pieter Bakels
    Kennebec 117k USS Kennebec (AO-36) underway 4 October 1942. Except for more powerful propulsion machinery, the six ships of the Kennebec (AO-36) class were built to the same successful design as SS Mobilube, later YO-164.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command. Photo No. 80-G-14108 courtesy
    Robert Hurst
    287k USS Kennebec (AO-36) was diverted from other duty to refuel USS Guadalcanal (CVE-60) and her TG22.3 hunter-killer group on 8 June 1944. At that time they were covering the retirement of captured U-505.
    US Navy photo<
    John Chiquoine
    Kennebec 106k USS Kennebec (AO-36) departs Norfolk Navy Yard, 24 July 1944. Note the radar antenna on the mast and the raised gun platforms on the aft deck house with their new 40 mm guns. These changes became commonplace for all oilers in the last two years of the war.
    US National Archives photo from "Gray Steel and Black Oil: Fast Tankers and Replenishment at Sea in the U.S. Navy 1912-1992", by Thomas Wildenburg
    Robert Hurst
    Kennebec 40k USS Kennebec (AO-36) departs Norfolk Navy Yard, 24 July 1944 with an upgraded armament including four 40mm twin AA mounts.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command. Photo # Unknown, courtesy
    Robert Hurst
    265k USS Kennebec (AO-36) refueling USS Hughes (DD-410) during occupation service off mainland Japan, 4 September 1945.
    Photo by Chester Bradley USS Hughes
    Dave Schroeder and John Chiquoine
    Kennebec 180k USS Kennebec (AO-36) under way, circa 1951, location unknown.
    US Navy photo.
    Richard Miller BMCS USNR Ret.
    Kennebec 70k USS Kennebec (AO-36) at anchor, date and location unknown. Harvey Golden
    Mattaponi 90k USS Kennebec (AO-36) and USS Mattaponi (AO-41) moored pierside while being prepared for recommissioning at San Diego in 1956.
    US Navy photo.
    Richard Miller BMCS USNR (Ret)
    Kennebec 108k USS Kennebec (AO-36) under way, circa 1960s, location unknown.
    US Navy photo courtesy
    Richard Miller BMCS USNR (Ret)
    Kennebec 198k USS Kennebec (AO-36) outbound to sea from San Francisco, CA. in 1963
    US Navy photo
    Mike Smolinski
    Kennebec 115k USS Kennebec (AO-36) coming alongside USS Bonhomme Richard (CVA-31), 16 September 1963, off the U.S. West Coast.
    US Navy photo # 1086796
    Photo - Richard Miller BMCS USNR (Ret)
    Caption - Robert Hurst, courtesy
    Kennebec 128k USS Kennebec (AO-36) under way, circa 1963, location unknown.
    US Navy photo
    Richard Miller BMCS USNR (Ret)
    Sanctuary 46k USS Kennebec (AO-36) refueling USS Sanctuary (AH-17) off the coast of Vietnam, circa 1966-1968. Photo by LCDR George E. Pillow Jr., USN CO USS Kretchmer (DER-329)
    Kennebec 130k USS Kennebec (AO-36) moored in the background at Naval Station Subic Bay, Philippines Islands in 1967 as the eight-inch gun tubes for USS Canberra (CAG-2) are being replaced by shipyard personnel.
    US Navy photo USN 1142872
    Richard Miller BMCS USNR Ret.
    Kennebec 312k USS Kennebec (AO-36) alongside USS Hancock (CVA-19) off the coast of Japan in March 1967. Photo by Charles "Bud" Dehnert USS Hancock
    Kennebec 95k USS Kennebec (AO-36) under way two days out of Yokosuka, Japan, 22 April 1969 © Richard Leonhardt
    Kennebec 103k USS Kennebec (AO-36) under way, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo
    Courtesy Dick Hawkins
    USS Kennebec (AO 36) web site
    Kennebec 71k USS Kennebec (AO-36) under way, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo
    Chet Morris
    Kennebec 109k USS Kennebec (AO-36) under way, date and location unknown.
    Photo from USS Kennebec Association web site
    Richard Miler BMCS USNR (Ret)
    Kennebec 71k USS Kennebec (AO-36) under way off Vietnam in 1967. Richard Miler BMCS USNR (Ret)
    Kennebec   Pacific Stars and Stripes article "Navy Ship Thrives on Crisis", 21 May 1968 issue. Richard Miler BMCS USNR (Ret)
    Kennebec 127k Ex-USS Kennebec (AO-36) laid up in reserve at the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, Benecia, CA. in November 1981.
    Photo from "Merchant Ships of World War II: A Post War Album 1" by Victor Young.
    Robert Hurst
    Kennebec 269k Model of USS Kennebec (AO-36) by the Lindberg Line. Tommy Trampp
    422k USS Kennebec (AO-36)"s propeller on display outside of Building 1503 at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Photo by David Stevens

    USS Kennebec Additional Ships Patches and Miscellaneous Memorabilia
    Contributed by Mike Smolinski
    Contributed by Richard Miller
    Contributed by Tommy Trampp

    For more photos and information about USS Kennebec, see:
  • Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
  • USS Kennebec (AO 36) Association
  • Pacific Stars and Stripes, May 21 1968 article "Navy Ship Thrives on Crisis"

  • Commanding Officers
    01CDR. Reynolds, Stuart Shirley, USN4 February 1942- 9 December 1943
    02CDR. Mullen Sr., Merritt David, USNR9 December 1943 - 29 November 1944
    03CDR. Browne, Everett Hale29 November 1944 - 11 June 1946
    04CDR. McVey, James Bertrand, USN (USNA 1922)11 June 1946 - 6 August 1946
    05CAPT. Zurmuehlen, Gerald Dale, USN (USNA 1926)6 August 1946 - April 1947
    06CAPT. Rhoads, Forrest Alexis :RADMDecember 1948 - 10 January 1949
    07CAPT. Van Metre, Thaddeus Johnson :RADM10 January 1949 - 9 July 1950
    08CDR. Geary, John Joseph, USN9 July 1950 - 4 September 1950
     Decommissioned 04 September 1950 - 11 January 1951
    09CDR. Beckman, Alcorn Gustav11 January 1951 - 29 June 1951
    10LCDR. Allan Orval Frank29 June 1951 - 2 January 1953
    11CDR. Huff, George Perry, USN (USNA 1932)2 January 1953 - 2 April 1953
    12CDR. Parker, John2 April 1953 - 1 June 1954
    13CDR. Lewis, Joseph Seaman1 June 1954 - 25 September 1954
     Decommissioned25 September 1954 - 14 December 1956
    14CDR. Stimac, Hadan Felix John14 December 1956 - 31 October 1957
     Decommissioned31 October 1957 - 16 December 1961
    15CAPT. DeLorenzo, Frank Lewis16 December 1961 - 18 December 1962
    16CAPT. House, William Hiram :RADM18 December 1962 - 12 December 1963
    17CAPT. DiCori, Ralph12 December 1963 - 10 December 1964
    18CAPT. Morton, Albert Oakes10 December 1964 - 27 October 1965
    19CAPT. Almy, Charles Brooks17 October 1965 - 29 October 1966
    20CAPT. Hunt, Robert Foster29 October 1966 - 28 October 1967
    21CAPT. Alberta, Edward Thomas28 October 1967 - 5 May 1969
    22CAPT. Kopps, Richard Lee5 May 1969 - 29 June 1970
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

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

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    Last Updated 4 June 2021