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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

USS Atascosa (AO-66)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Whiskey - Oscar - Victor
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (7) - World War II Victory Medal
Bottom Row - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp) - Philippines Presidential Unit Citation - Philippines Liberation Medal (2)

Atascosa Class Fleet Oiler:
  • Laid down, 30 April 1942, as SS Esso Columbia for the Panama Transports Co., at Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Chester, PA.
  • Launched, 7 September 1942
  • Acquired by the US Navy, 12 October 1942
  • Commissioned USS Atascosa (AO-66), 9 November 1942, LCDR. Melvin H. Bassett in command
  • During World War II USS Atascosa was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following campaigns:

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Asiatic-Pacific Raids - 1944
    Palau, Yap, Ulithi, Woleai raid, 30 March to 1 April 1944
    Iwo Jima operation
    Assault and occupation of Iwo Jima, 15 February to 2 March 1945
    Western Caroline Islands operation
    Assault on Philippine Islands, 9 to 24 September 1944
    Okinawa Gunto operation
    5th and 3d Fleet raids in support of Okinawa Gunto operation, 20 March to 2 June 1945
    Leyte operation
    Luzon attacks, 6 and 13 November, 14 to 16 December 1944
    3d Fleet operations against Japan, 10 to 23 July and 9 to 15 August 1945
    Luzon operation
    Luzon attacks, 6 to 7 January 1945
    Formosa attacks, 9, 15 and 21 January 1945
    China coast attacks, 12 and 16 January 1945
    Nansei Shoto attack, 22 January 1945

  • Following World War II USS Atascosa was assigned to Occupation service in the Far East from 10 to 23 September 1945
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 7 February 1946
  • Decommissioned, 21 January 1946, at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA.
  • USS Atascosa (AO-66) earned seven battle stars for World War II service
  • Returned to the Maritime Commission, 30 June 1946, at the US Maritime Commission Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, Benecia, CA.
  • Merchant Service
    Title transferred to the Maritime Commission, 26 May 1947, pending sale to Panama Transports Co.
    Sold to the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, 3 October 1947, renamed SS Esso Syracuse, in 1961 renamed SS Esso Buffalo
    Final Disposition, sold to General Cargo Corporation, for use in construction of the freighter SS Spitfire, using the after 274.5 ½ ft. of Esso Buffalo (ex-USS Atascosa) and 329' of the forepart of Esso Columbia

    Displacement 5,730 t.(lt) 24,660 t.(fl)
    Length 547' 3"
    Beam 70'
    Draft 31'
    Speed 15.5 kts.
    Officers 22
    Enlisted 259
    Cargo Capacity 17,150 DWT
    Oil 136,300 Bbls
    Gasoline 534,000 Gals
    Largest Boom Capacity 10 t.
    one single 5"/38 dual purpose gun mount
    four single 3"/50 dual purpose gun mounts
    four twin 40mm AA gun mounts
    four twin 20mm AA gun mounts
    Cargo Capacity 156,000 barrels
    Fuel Capacity
    NSFO 6,135 Bbls
    one Westinghouse turbine
    two Babcock and Wilcox header-type boilers, 450psi 730°
    double Westinghouse Main Reduction Gears
    Ship's Service Generators
    two turbo-drive 300Kw 240V D.C.
    one Diesel-drive 25Kw 120V D.C.
    single propeller, 8,200 shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    US Naval History and Heritage Command, Photo # 19-N-43373
    106k USS Atascosa (AO-66) underway off Norfolk Navy Yard, 14 March 1943, outbound for the Pacific. Note she has a deck cargo of four PT boats, probably to be off-loaded in New Caledonia.
    US Navy photos courtesy
    Mike Green and Robert Hurst
    US Naval History and Heritage Command, Photo # 19-N-43374
    US National Archives RG-19-LCM Photo # 19-N-43372
    Atascosa 75k USS Atascosa (AO-66) underway off Norfolk Navy Yard, 14 March 1943, outbound for the Pacific. Note she has a deck cargo of four PT boats, probably to be off-loaded in New Caledonia.
    US Navy photos
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.

    USS Atascosa (AO-66)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01LCDR. Bassett, Melvin Hughes9 November 1942 - 4 June 1943
    02CDR. de Rivera, Horace Leland4 June 1943 = 1945
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

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

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    MARAD Vessel History Database
    Back To The Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To The Service Force Ship Type Index Back To The Fleet Oiler (AO) Photo Index
    Comments, Suggestions, E-mail Webmaster.
    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 11 December 2015