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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive
USS Niobrara (T-AO-72)
USS Niobrara (AK-72) (1943 - 1956)
International Radio Call Sign:
November - Yankee - November - Papa
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons
Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - American Campaign Medal
Second Row - Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (4) - World War II Victory Medal
Third Row - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp) - National Defense Service Medal - Philippines Liberation Medal (1)
Chiwawa Class Fleet Oiler:
Laid down, 29 June 1942, as SS Citadel, a Maritime Commission type (T3-S-A1) tanker hull under Maritime Commission contract, (MC hull 520) at Bethlehem Steel Shipbuilding, Sparrows Point, MD.
Launched, 28 November 1942
Acquired by the Navy from the Maritime Commission, 13 March 1943
Commissioned USS Niobrara (AO-72), 13 March 1943, CDR. Theodore G. Haff in command
During World War II USS Niobrara was initially assigned to the Europe-Africa-Middle East Theater and later reassigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following campaigns:
|Campaign and Dates
||Campaign and Dates
Capture and occupation of Saipan, 11 June to 10 August 1944
Formosa attacks, 21 January 1945
Nansei Shoto attack, 22 January 1945
|Western Caroline Islands operation
Capture and occupation of southern Palau Islands, 1 to 14 October 1944
|Okinawa Gunto operation
Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto, 24 March to 30 June 1945
5th and 3d Fleet raids in support of Okinawa Gunto, 27 March to 4 May 1945
Following World War II USS Niobrara was assigned to Occupation service in the Far East from 2 September to 28 November 1945
Decommissioned, 24 September 1946
Laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet Philadelphia, PA. Group
Recommissioned, 5 February 1951
Decommissioned, 30 November 1954, at San Diego, CA.
Laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet
Recommissioned, 14 December 1956, at San Francisco, CA. and assigned to the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS)
Decommissioned, 12 November 1957, at Galveston, TX.
Transferred to the Maritime Administration (MARAD) for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Beaumont, TX., 5 December 1957
Title transfer to MARAD, 10 December 1958
Struck from the Naval Register, 1 February 1959
USS Niobrara earned four battle stars for World War II service
Disposed of by MARAD (Trade-out Exchange), 19 March 1982, to Farrell Lines Inc. in exchange for Export Banner together with three other vessels.
Immediately resold to Echardt & Co. Marine GmbH., W. Germany corp for scrapping at Brownsville, TX.
Final Disposition, scrapped at Brownsville, TX, completed, 30 May 1982
Displacement 5,708 t.(lt) 22,030 t.(fl)
Length 501' 8"
Draft 30' 8"
Speed 15.3 kts.
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
six twin 20mm AA gun mounts
Cargo Capacity 15,200 DWT
Oil 109,500 Bbls
Gasoline 16,400 Gals.
NSFO 11,050 Bbls
one Bethlehem Shipbuilding geared turbine
two Foster-Wheeler D-type boilers, 450psi 730@deg
double Falk Main Reduction Gears
three 300Kw 240V D.C. Ship's Service Generators
single propeller. 7,000shp
|Click On Image |
For Full Size Image
|USS Niobrara (AO-72)
US National Archives, RG-19-LCM. Photo # Unknown
||USS Niobrara (AO-72) near Hampton Roads, VA., 16 March 1943. Note she is passing the Hampton Roads lightship.
US National Archives, RG-19-LCM. Photo # Unknown,
a US Navy Bureau of Ships photo now in the collections of the US National Archives, and
U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command. Photo # 80-G-63516, courtesy Shipscribe.com.
U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command. Photo # 80-G-63516
||USS Niobrara (AO-72) under way, date and location unknown.
US Navy Photo, courtesy Auke Vissar's Famous T-Tanker Pages
||Aerial view of USS Niobrara (AO-72) under way, 14 April 1943, location unknown.
||USS Niobrara (AO-72) off Norfolk Navy Yard, 18 April 1944. A large 160-ton derrick has been added amidships to lift LCT's on
and off of LST's at advance bases.
US National Archives, RG-19-LCM. Photo # 19-N-64643 or 64645, a US Navy Bureau of Ships photo now in the collections of
the US National Archvies, courtesy Shipscribe.com.
||USS Niobrara (AO-72) at her mooring in the lagoon at Eniwetok, 10 August 1944. Note the lifting device on her starboard side. Her camouflage is Measure 32 Design 5AO. Photo from the Dwight Spayth collection, taken from USS Ringgold (DD-500)
||USS Niobrara (AO-72) under way, probably at New York, date unknown
||Gary J. Strouse for his father James G. Strouse Y1/c USS Niobrara
USS Niobrara (AO-72)
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
|01||CDR. Haff, Theodore Germond||13 March 1943 - 4 September 1943|
|02||CDR. Marts, Jr., John William||4 September 1943 - 9 July 1944|
|03||CDR. Spaulding, Ralph Carter||9 July 1944 - ?|
| ||Decommissioned||24 September 1946 - 5 February 1951|
| ||Decommissioned||30 November 1954 - ?|
|04||CDR. Meiere, Joseph William, USN||1957 - 12 November 1957|
|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
Last Updated 15 January 2021
This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo|