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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

Contributed by Jon Strupp

USS Chiwawa (AO-68)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Yankee - Juliet - Lima
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - American Campaign Medal - Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal (2)
Bottom Row - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal - World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp)

Chiwawa Class Fleet Oiler:
  • Laid down, as SS Samoset, a Maritime Commission type (T3-S-A1) tanker hull, under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 516) at Bethlehem Steel Shipbuilding, Sparrows Point, MD.
  • Launched, 25 June 1942
  • Delivered to the Maritime Commission, acquired by the US Navy and commissioned USS Chiwawa (AO-68), 24 December 1942, CDR. Harold F. Fultz, in command
  • During World War II USS Chiwawa was first assigned to the Europe-Africa-Middle East Theater and later to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following actions/campaigns:

    Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Convoy UGS 6 , 12 to 18 March 1943 Invasion of southern France, 15 August to 25 September 1944

  • Following World War II USS Chiwawa was assigned to Occupation service in the Far East from 2 September to 30 November 1945
  • Decommissioned, 6 May 1946
  • Transferred to the Maritime Commission, 23 August 1946, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet
  • Struck from the Naval Register. 25 September 1946
  • USS Chiwawa earned two battle stars for World War II service
  • Merchant Service
    Sold by the Maritime Commission to Cities Service Oil Co., 23 June 1946, renamed SS Samoset
    Resold, 1 February 1947, to American Ship Building Corp., Lorain, OH.
    Rebuilt as a straight decked bulk freighter for Great Lakes service. renamed SS Chiwawa
    Resold, 14 July 1961, to Cleveland Cliffs Iron Co, renamed SS Walter A. Sterling
    Sold in 1985, to Ford Motor Company, renamed SS William Clay Ford (II)
    Sold in 1989, to Lakes Shipping Co., renamed SS Lee A. Tregurtha
  • Current Status, in service on the Great Lakes
    AO Specifications:
    Displacement 5,650 t.(lt) 22,030 t.(fl)
    Length 501' 8"
    Beam 68'
    Draft 30' 8" (lim)
    Speed 15.3 kts. (trial)
    Officers 13
    Enlisted 200
    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 15,200 DWT
    Oil 109,500 Bbls
    Gasoline 738,000 Gals
    Fuel Capacity NSFO 11,050 Bbls
    one Bethlehem geared turbine
    two Foster & Wheeler D-type boilers, 450psi 730°
    double Falk Main Reduction Gears
    two turbo-drive 300Kw 240V D.C. Ship's Service Generators
    single propeller. 7,000shp

    Bulk Freighter Specifications:
    Length 826'
    Draft 39'
    Cargo Capacity 29,300 tons
    Self-unloading boom 250'
    one steam turbine
    single propeller, 7,700shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Source
    USS Chiwawa (AO-68)
    Chiwawa 65k USS Chiwawa (AO-68) underway, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo.
    Hyperwar US Navy in WWII
    Chiwawa 191k USS Chiwawa (AO-68) underway while conducting a replenishment at sea in 1944. David Buell
    Chiwawa 210k USS Chiwawa (AO-68) underway while conducting a replenishment at sea in 1944. David Buell
    Chiwawa 212k USS Chiwawa (AO-68) underway while conducting a replenishment at sea in 1944. David Buell
    Chiwawa 299k USS Chiwawa (AO-68) underway, October 1944, location unknown.
    Photo by LTjg, Joseph A. Fernandez, Jr. USS Schmitt (APD-76)
    Peter Fernandez
    Chiwawa 299k USS Chiwawa (AO-68) at anchor, off Okinawa, 7 September 1945.
    US Navy photo.
    Contributed on behalf of James M. Jupena
    MM1/c USS Chiwawa 1943-1946
    LCI(L)-787 77k USS Chiwawa (AO-68) refueling USS LCI(L)-787, 24 October 1945. Photo by Donald Kronish Jon Strupp
    Merchant Service
    Chiwawa 54k Ex-USS Chiwawa (AO-68) in merchant service for the Lakes Shipping Co. as the Great Lakes bulk freighter SS Lee A. Tregurtha Great Lakes Fleet Photo Gallery

    USS Chiwawa (AO-68)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CDR. Fultz, Harold Farnham, USN24 December 1942 - 9 July 1943 
    02LCDR. Goza, John Perry9 July 1943 - 16 June 1945
    03CAPT. Block, Albert Frederick16 June 1945 - 6 May 1946 
    Courtesy Jon Strupp, 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 Data Base
    Great Lakes Fleet Photo Gallery

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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 14 November 2014