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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

USS Ponaganset (AO-86)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Juliet - Uniform - Hotel
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 (2)
Bottom Row - World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp) - Philippines Liberation Medal

Suamico Class Fleet Oiler:
  • Laid down, 27 April 1942, as a Maritime Commission type (T2-SE-A2) tanker hull, under Maritime Commission contract (MC 1265) at Marinship, Sausalito, CA.
  • Launched, 10 July 1943
  • Delivered to Kaiser Swan Island Yard, Portland, OR., for completion and conversion to a Fleet Oiler
  • Commissioned USS Ponaganset (AO-86), 15 May 1944, CDR. John Richard Sanford Jr., USNR in command
  • During World War II USS Ponaganset (AO-86) was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following campaigns:

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Western Caroline Islands operation
    Capture and occupation of southern Palau Islands, 6 September to 14 October 1944
    Okinawa Gunto operation
    Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto, 2 to 30 June 1945

  • Following World War II USS Ponaganset was assigned to Occupation service from 17 September to 25 December 1945
  • Decommissioned, 24 April 1946
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 23 April 1947
  • USS Ponaganset earned 2 battle stars for World War II service
  • Transferred to the Maritime Commission for disposal at Norfolk, VA., 15 May 1947
  • Transferred to American Petroleum Transport Co., 20 October 1947, under a General Agency Agreement
  • Reacquired by the Navy, 2 March 1948
  • Title transferred back to the Maritime Commission, 30 June 1948, at Boston Navy Yard, Boston, MA.
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 15 DEcember 1948, to Northern Metal Co. (PC-X-479) for $130,130
    Displacement 5,782 t.(lt) 22,380 t.(fl)
    Length 523' 6"
    Beam 68'
    Draft 30' 10" (lim)
    Speed 15.1 kts. (trial)
    Officers 23
    Enlisted 325
    Largest Boom Capacity 7 t.
    two single 5"/38 cal dual purpose gun mount
    four single 3"/50 cal dual purpose gun mounts
    four twin 20mm AA gun mounts
    Cargo Capacity NSFO 15,300 DWT
    Oil 120,400 Bbls
    Gasoline 575,000 Gals
    Fuel Capacity 9,235 Bbls
    one General Electric turbo-electric engine
    two Babcock and Wilcox header-type boilers, 450psi 750°
    Ship's Service Generators
    two turbo-drive 400Kw 450V A.C.
    two turbo-drive 85Kw 120V D.C.
    two turbo-drive 55Kw 120V D.C.
    one turbo-drive 450Kw 450V D.C.
    single propeller, 6,000shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Source
    SS Ponaganset (War Shipping Administration)
    Ponaganset 67k SS Ponaganset just after launching, 10 July 1943, at the Marinship yard, Sausalito, CA. being assisted by tugs to her fitting out berth. US Maritime Commission photo courtesy Auke Visser's Famous T - Tankers Pages Robert Hurst
    USS Ponaganset (AO-86)
    Ponaganset 64k USS Ponaganset (AO-86) at anchor probably off her conversion yard, Kaiser Swan Island Yard, Portland, OR., soon after completion as a Fleet Tanker. She is painted in camouflage Measure 32 Design 3AO.
    US Maritime Commission photo courtesy Auke Visser's Famous T - Tankers Pages
    Robert Hurst
    Ponaganset 65k
    Ponaganset 243k USS Ponaganset (AO-86) at anchor, circa 1944-1946, location unknown.
    US Navy photo
    David Buell
    Ponaganset 343k USS Ponaganset (AO-86) taking on water at Balusoa Water Point, Samar, P.I., circa 1944-45.
    US Navy photo from DANFS.
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    Ponaganset 148k USS Ponaganset (AO-86) at the General Ship and Iron Works, Boston, MA., 9 December 1947, shortly after breaking in half during reactivation. Ponaganset was one of 24 tankers that the Navy re-acquired in late 1947 to bring fuel oil for the fleet from the Persian Gulf. Fractures like this had been a problem since late 1942 in war-built welded ships, particularly in Liberty ships and T-2 tankers. Ponaganset was replaced in the Navy's reactivation plan by Mission Santa Ana (AO-137).
    US Navy Photos
    Mike Green - 091908609 - courtesy
    LCDR. Charles Landrum USN Ret - 091909806, 091908607 and 091908608 courtesy Boston Public Library)
    Ponaganset 281k
    Ponaganset 247k
    Ponaganset 287k

    USS Ponaganset (AO-86)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CDR. Sanford Jr., John Richard, USNR (USNA 1924)15 May 1944 - 24 April 1946
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler

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

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    Commissioning Ceremonies program

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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 15 May 2020