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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

Patch at left contributed by Mike Smolinski, at right by R.A. Moody

Contributed by Al Grazevich

USS Severn (AO-61)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Uniform - Zulu - Delta
JANAP Tactical Voice Radio Call Sign - Kosher (P)apa - 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 - Combat Action Ribbon, 24 November 1944) - American Campaign Medal
Second Row - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (2) - World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia or Europe clasp)
Third Row - National Defense Service Medal (2) - Korean Service Medal - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (2-Lebanon)
Fourth Row - Philippines Liberation Medal (2) - United Nations Service Medal - Republic of Korea War Service Medal (retroactive)

Ashtabula Class Fleet Oiler:
  • Laid down, 24 November 1943, as a Maritime Commission type (T3-S2-A3) tanker hull, under Maritime Commission contract, (MC hull 727) at Bethlehem Steel Shipyard, Sparrows Point, MD.
  • Launched, 31 May 1944
  • Commissioned USS Severn (AO-61), 19 July 1944, LCDR. Owen Rees in command
  • During WWII USS Severn was assigned to Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following campaigns:

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Leyte operation
    Leyte landings, 24 October to 29 November 1944
    Luzon operation
    Lingayen Gulf landing, 13 to 26 January 1945

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

    Navy Occupation Service Medal
    12 September to 2 October 1945
    9 October to 3 November 1945
    8 November to 28 December 1945
    5 January to 12 February 1947
    27 March to 3 April 1947
    14 to 25 May 1947
    39 June to 9 July 1947
    15 to 29 March 1948
    6 to 12 July 1949
    4 to 24 October 1949
    3 to 6 December 1949
    26 January to 2 February 1950

  • USS Severn (AO-61) was assigned to Joint Task Force 1, Task Unit 1.8.1 Service Group - Repair and Service Unit for Operation Crossroads the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in July 1946
  • USS Severn was assigned to Occupation in Europe for the following periods:

    Navy Occupation Service Medal
    8 December 1951 to 29 April 1952
    6 to 9 May 1953
    11 March to 16 June 1954
  • Decommissioned, 3 July 1950, at San Diego, CA.
  • Laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet, San Diego Group
  • Recommissioned, 29 December 1950
  • Decommissioned and struck from the Naval Register at Naval Station Newport, R.I. 1 July 1974
  • Laid up at Naval Inactive Ships Maintenance Facility (NISMF) Philadelphia, PA.
  • USS Severn earned two battle stars for World War II service
  • Transferred to the Maritime Administration (MARAD) for disposal
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 22 January 1975, to Brownsville Steel & Salvage Inc., Brownsville, TX., (PD-X-990 dated 27 November 1975) for $315,777.00
    Displacement 7,236 t.(lt) 25,440 t.(fl)
    Length 553'
    Beam 75'
    Draft 32'
    Speed 18. kts (trial)
    Officers 21
    Enlisted 291
    Largest Boom Capacity 10 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 16,500 DWT
    Oil 123,700 BBls
    Gasoline 788,000 Gals
    Fuel Capacity NSFO 15,000 Bbls
    two Bethlehem Shipbuilding geared turbines
    four Foster Wheeler K-type boilers, 450psi 750°
    twin propellers 13,500shp

    Ship's Service Generators
    two turbo-drive 400Kw 230V A.C.
    one Diesel-drive 150Kw 230V A.C.

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Source
    Severn 85k USS Severn (AO-61) off Newport R.I., 21 June 1952.
    US Navy photo # NH 66865, courtesy of the Mariners Museum, Newport News, Virginia. Ted Stone Collection.
    US Naval Historical Center
    CVA-59 Forrestal 252k USS Severn (AO-61) refueling USS Forrestal (CVA-59) and heavy cruiser USS Des Moines (CA-134) near Barcelona, Spain, 13 June 1957.
    (Thanks to Ken Killmeyer, USS Forrestal Association historian, who helped date these photos).

    Image courtesy of
    Larry Blumenthal, PH3, 1957-61.
    "US Navy Photos"
    CVA-59 Forrestal 210k
    Severn 732k USS Severn (AO-61) refueling USS Forrestal (CVA-59) and USS Des Moines (CA-134) operating with Task Force 26 in the Atlantic. USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) is in the background, 11 November 1956.
    US Navy photo # USN 1002494
    Chris Standley, from the collection of CDR Thomas B. Ray USS Essex
    Severn 140k USS Severn (AO-61) at sea, after refueling USS Tarawa (CVS-40), 13 February 1959. The aft refueling stations on both sides have been strengthened and transformed into a large goalpost mast, an enhancement that was also applied to other Navy oilers in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
    US Navy photo # USN 1045536, courtesy
    Robert Hurst
    Severn 70k USS Severn (AO-61) at sea, circa the 1960s or early 1970s.
    US Navy photo # NH 99492.
    US Naval Historical Center
    CVS-39 Lake Champlain 489k US Severn (AO-61) during an underway replenishment with USS Lake Champlain (CVS-39) and US Forrest Sherman (DD-931), circa 1962. Air Group is CVSG-54, tail code "AT." Harry Wood, ADJ3 USS Lake Champlain
    Severn 161k USS Severn (AO-61) under way, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo
    David Merrill
    USS Canisteo (AO-99) Web Site
    Severn 28k USS Severn (AO-61) refueling USS Dealey (DE-1006) during Operation Steelpike I, October 1964 Photo by Jim McCoy
    Severn 251k USS Severn (AO-61) moored to a buoy at Genoa, Italy in 1966. Photo by Carlo Marintelli
    Severn 74k USS Severn (AO-61) under way in the Caribbean Sea, December 1966 © Richard Leonhardt
    CVS-18 Wasp 106k A Sikorsky SH-3A Sea King modex AS66 (BuNo 151556), assigned to HS-11 "Sub Seekers." (As of mid-2008, this helo was at the American Helicopter Museum, West Chester, PA.)
    USS Wasp (CVS-18) and USS Forrest Sherman (DD-931) refuel from USS Severn (AO-61), in the background. Photo taken on 8 December 1966.

    ©Richard Leonhardt
    Severn 95k USS Severn (AO-61) under way in the Mediterranean Sea, February 1967 Photo by Jim McCoy
    Severn 45k USS Severn (AO-61) refueling USS America (CV-66) © Richard Leonhardt
    Severn 313k ASW aircraft carrier USS Intrepid (CVS-11) and the guided missile destroyer leader USS Belknap (DLG-26) refuel from USS Severn (AO-61). 9 June 1968. This photo was taken at the beginning of Intrepidīs last deployment to Vietnam as an attack carrier, from 4 June 1968 to 8 February 1969.
    US Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation photo # 1996.488.244.054
    Robert Hurst
    Severn 188k USS Severn (AO-61) entering the harbor at Valletta, Malta, November 1969 Thomas Daniel, SH3 USS Severn 1969-70
    Severn 156k USS Severn (AO-61) entering the harbor at Valletta, Malta, November 1969 Thomas Daniel, SH3 USS Severn 1969-70
    Severn 104k USS Severn (AO-61) under way in the Atlantic Ocean, February 1972.
    US Navy photo # NH 99493 by T.L. Vann PH2 USN.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Severn 107k USS Severn (AO-61) comes alongside the commercial tanker SS Erna Elizabeth to take on fuel, during operations in the Atlantic Ocean, 2 March 1972.
    US Navy photo # NH 99494 by T.L. Vann PH2 USN.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Severn 115k USS Severn (AO-61) comes alongside the commercial tanker SS Erna Elizabeth to take on fuel, during operations in the Caribbean off the southern coast of Puerto Rico, 6 March 1972.
    US Navy photo # NH 99496 by T.L. Vann PH2 USN.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Severn 101k View of USS Severn (AO-61) midships port side while she was taking on fuel from the commercial tanker SS Erna Elizabeth during operations in the Atlantic Ocean, circa February-March 1972.
    US Navy photo # NH 99495 by T.L. Vann PH2 USN.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Severn 188k View of USS Severn (AO-61) under way, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo.
    Richard Miller BMCS USNR Ret.

    For more photos and information about USS Severn, see;
  • Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
  • USS Severn Decommissioning Booklet
  • MARAD Vessel History Database
  • Model of AO-61 on YouTube

  • Commanding Officers
    01LCDR. Rees, Owen19 July 1944 - February 1946
    02CAPT. McCoy, Melvyn Harvey (photo as LCDR)February 1946 - November 1946
    03CDR. Knoll, Denys William :RADMNovember 1946 - October 1947
    04CAPT. Day, Harry EdwardOctober 1947 - November 1948
    05CAPT. Hammock, John CowlingNovember 1948 - April 1950
    06CAPT. Guthrie, Harry Aloysius, USN (USNA 1921A) :RADMApril 1950 - 3 July 1950
     Decommissioned3 July 1950 - 29 December 1950
    07CAPT. Townsend, Harry Edson29 December 1950 - July 1952
    08CAPT. Gregor, George DonaldJuly 1952 - July 1953
    09LCDR. Hatchell, Edward GeorgeJuly 1953 - August 1953
    10CAPT. Hagberg, Oscar EmilAugust 1953 - August 1954
    11CAPT. Vogeley, Theodore Robert :RADMAugust 1954 - 17 July 1955
    12CAPT. Bentley, James Calvin17 July 1955 - 20 November 1956
    13CAPT. Langston, Charles Bonham20 November 1956 - 12 March 1958
    14CAPT. McCampbell, David12 March 1958 - 10 December 1958
    15CAPT. Parker Jr., Edwin Byron10 December 1958 - 11 July 1959
    16CAPT. More, Frank Richie11 July 1959 - 22 October 1960
    17CAPT. Reaves Jr., Henry Grady22 October 1960 - September 1961
    18CAPT. Kline, Raymond PhilipSeptember 1961 - October 1962
    19CAPT. Kittrell, James ReveleyOctober 1962 - December 1963
    20CAPT. Holmes, Wilbur ThomasDecember 1963 - January 1965
    21CAPT. Robinson, Bob JohnJanuary 1965 - March 1966
    22CAPT. Carroll, Charles HarvinMarch 1966 - July 1967
    23CAPT. Vito Jr., Albert Henry, USN (USNA 1944)July 1967 - February 1968
    24CAPT. Miller, William JamesFebruary 1968 - May 1968
    25CAPT. Richelieu, Charles FrancisMay 1968 - August 1969
    26CAPT. Hoy, Hugh AlexanderAugust 1969 - 19 January 1970
    27CAPT. Ray, Charles Edwin19 January 1970 - April 1971
    28CDR. Learned Jr., Charles WilliamApril 1971 - September 1972
    29CDR. Wiltse, Irving MontroseSeptember 1972 - April 1974
    30LCDR. Rybarczyk, Anthony MarkApril 1974 - 1 July 1974
    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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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 19 February 2016