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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive


Contributed by Mike Smolinski

Contributed by Al Grazevich

USNS Ponchatoula (T-AO-148)
ex
USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) (1956 - 1980)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Juliet - Tango - Delta
NJTD
JANAP Tactical Voice Radio Call Sign - Wardrobe (J)uilet - 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 - Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Second Row - Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation - Navy Battle "E" Ribbon (3) - Navy Expeditionary Medal
Third Row - National Defense Service Medal - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (2-Taiwan Straits, 8-Vietnam, 8-Korea) - Vietnam Service Medal (12)
Third Row - Southwest Asia Service Medal - Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal - Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)


Neosho Class Fleet Oiler:
  • Laid down, 1 March 1954, at New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J.
  • Launched, 9 July 1955
  • Commissioned USS Ponchatoula (AO-148), 12 January 1956, CAPT. William R. Wilson in command
  • During The Vietnam War USS Ponchatoula participated in the following campaigns:

    Vietnam War Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive-Phase II
    30 September to 12 October 1966
    24 to 31 October 1966
    9 to 18 November 1966
    3 to 12 and 21 to 26 December 1966
    16 to 24 January 1967
    7 to 15 and 25 to 28 February 1967
    16 to 24 March 1967
    2 to 8 April 1967
    Vietnamese Summer-Fall 1969
    9 to 15 and 20 to 26 June 1969
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive-Phase III
    17 to 28 November 1967
    11 to 18 and 23 to 28 December 1967
    08 to 14 and 21 to 29 January 1968
    Sanctuary Counteroffensive
    12 May to 7 June 1970
    20 to 30 June 1970
    Tet Counteroffensive
    8 to 17 February 1968
    27 February to 8 March 1968
    13 to 24 March 1968
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive-Phase VII
    1 to 4 July 1970
    17 to 25 July 1970
    31 July to 8 August 1970
    17 to 27 August 1970
    1 to 4 September 1970
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive-Phase IV
    05 to 19 April 1968
    30 April to 6 May 1968
    11 to 18 and 24 to 26 May 1968
    Consolidation I
    7 to 18 and 23 to 26 August 1971
    14 to 28 September 1971
    9 to 24 October 1971
    9 to 13 November 1971
    20 to 30 November 1971
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive-Phase VI
    16 to 30 December 1968
    7 to 16 January 1969
    4 to 11 February 1969
    Consolidation II
    1 to 6 December 1971
    9 to 14 and 17 to 22 December 1971
    2 January to 8 January 1972
    Tet 69/Counteroffensive
    1 to 11 and 17 to 22 March 1969
    31 March to 6 April 1969
    25 April to 7 May 1969
    12 to 21 May 1969
    Ceasefire Campaign
    17 to 29 November 1972
    6 to 10 and 20 to 30 December 1972
    7 January to 20 January 1973
    25 January to 28 January 1972

  • Decommissioned, 5 September 1980
  • USS Ponchatoula earned twelve campaign stars for Vietnam War service
  • Placed in service with the Military Sealift Command (MSC) as USNS Ponchatoula (T-AO-148)
  • Placed out of service, 1 April 1992, at Oakland, CA.
  • Transferred, 2 April 1992, to the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, Benecia, CA.
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 31 August 1992
  • Title transfer to MARAD, 1 May 1999, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, Benecia, CA.
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping in April 2014, to International Shipbreaking LTD. (ESCO), Brownsville, TX.
  • Removed to Mare Island for cleaning, 17 May 2014
  • Removed from Mare Island, 5 June 2014, by M/V Elspeth III for transit to Brownsville, TX.
  • Arrived, 24 July 2014, at International Shipbreaking LTD. (ESCO), Brownsville, TX.
    Specifications:
    Displacement 11,600 t.(lt), 38,000 t.(fl)
    Length 655'
    Beam 86'
    Draft 35'
    Speed 20 kts.
    Cargo Capacity 180,000 bbls
    Complement
    USS 324 navy
    USNS 106 civilian mariners, 21 navy
    Armament
    two single 5"/38 dual purpose gun mounts
    six twin 3"/50 gun mounts
    Propulsion
    two geared turbines
    two boilers
    two propellers, 28,000 shaft horsepower

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    By
    USS Ponchatoula (AO-148)
    Ponchatoula 66k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) at anchor, 24 February 1956, location unknown.
    US Navy photo # NH 42637 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Ponchatoula 104k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) underway at sea, circa 1956-1959.
    US Navy photo # NH 99054 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Ponchatoula 127k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) entering the Dry Dock #1 at Long Beach Naval Shipyard, July 1956.
    US Navy photo
    Richard Miller BMCS USNR
    Ponchatoula 95k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) underway, date and location unknown. .
    Ponchatoula 71k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) underway, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo from "All Hand" magazine, May 1958
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    Ponchatoula 68k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) underway on San Francisco Bay in 1958.
    Photo ©Allied Photographers of San Francisco.
    Robert M. Cieri
    Ponchatoula 124k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) during an UNREP with USS Ranger (CV-61), date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo from "All Hand" magazine, April 1959
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    Ponchatoula 37k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) during Underway Replenishment (UNREP) with USS Yorktown (CVS-10) in 1959. Photo taken from HMS Chichester. Photo by Rob Jerrard
    Ponchatoula 106k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) during underway replenishment with USS Ranger (CVA-61) and USS Coontz (DLG-9), 21 September 1961.
    US Navy photo # NH 99055 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Ponchatoula 13k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) departing under the Golden Gate Bridge, March 1964, to rendezvous with the USS Oriskany (CV-34) battle group and then on to Pearl Harbor Photo by Dan Axtell
    USS Ponchatoula January 1963 to August 1965
    Pathfinder 474k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) moored astern of USCGSS Pathfinder (OSS-30) at Pearl Harbor in April 1962. In the foreground Pathfinder's crew is standing in formation.
    NOAA Image pers0245, April 1962, by Bernard Mayo Rivera, Credit the Family of Captain David M. Whipp, C&GS.
    Bill Gonyo
    Ponchatoula 103k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) alongside USS Yorktown (CVS-10) as she refuels a destroyer (Fletcher class, ex-DDE) off her starboard side, 25 January 1965.
    US Navy photo # NH 99056 by PH2 J.D. Waino, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Ponchatoula 25k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) laying at anchor, Hong Kong 1965, for R&R after being relieved by USS Sacramento (AOE-1) upon completion of her tour in the Gulf of Tonkin. Photo by Dan Axtell
    crew member January 1963 to August 1965
    Ponchatoula 98k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) at Pearl Harbor, HI., 12 February 1966 © Richard Leonhardt
    Ponchatoula 48k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) during underway replenishment of USS Enterprise (CVN-65) while in the Tonkin Gulf in 1967. Barry Litchfield USS Ponchatoula
    Ponchatoula 112k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) prepares to refuel USS Coontz (DLG-9), in the South China Sea in July 1969. Another guided missile frigate is pulling away in the distance. photographed from on board USS Coontz (DLG-9).
    US Navy photo # USN 11395711 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    Robert Hurst
    Ponchatoula 89k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) being maneuvered by tugs to get into position for entry into Richland (AFDM-8), in preparation for drydocking at Guam during the 1970s.
    US Navy photo # NH 99062 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Ponchatoula 115k Astern view of USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) while drydocked in Richland (AFDM-8), at Guam during the 1970s. Open Lighter (NSP)YC-1458 is in the foreground. Original caption: "The size of the ship's propellers is evident in this photograph taken in drydock."
    US Navy photo # NH 99063 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Ponchatoula 88k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) drydocked in Richland (AFDM-8), at Guam during the 1970s.
    US Navy photo # NH 99061 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Ponchatoula 91k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) prepares to refuel USS Coontz (DLG-9), in the South China Sea, July 1969. Another guided missile frigate is pulling away in the distance. Photographed from Coontz.
    US Navy photo # USN 1139571 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Ponchatoula 150k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) underway off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, 26 March 1970.
    US Navy photo # NH 98832 by PH1 E.L. Goligoski, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Ponchatoula 167k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) underway in the Pacific Ocean, circa 1970.
    US Navy photo # NH 99057 by PHCS Fautheree, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Ponchatoula 83k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) refueling USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) while underway in the Pacific Ocean during Operation "RimPac 75", 7 April 1975. A Canadian Navy frigate and HMCS Provider are in the left background, with a US Navy Knox class escort ship following them. The Australian and New Zealand navies also took part in this operation.
    US Navy photo # NH 99058 by PH1 W.J. Galligan, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Ponchatoula 35k USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) underway, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo from the collections of the US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Robert Hurst
    USNS Ponchatoula (T-AO-148)
    Ponchatoula 87k USNS Ponchatoula (T-AO-148) comes alongside USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) to conduct underway replenishment, during operations in the Philippine Sea, 3 December 1991.
    US Navy photo # NH 99059 by PHAN Gary Denman, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Ponchatoula 101k USNS Ponchatoula (T-AO-148) underway in the Philippine Sea, 3 December 1991.
    US Navy photo # NH 99060 by PHAN Gary Denman, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Ponchatoula 64k USNS Ponchatoula (T-AO-148), from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), mid-Pacific, 1991. Photo by AMS3 Rowan
    Ponchatoula 105k USNS Ponchatoula (T-AO-148) underway, date and location unknown.
    DOD photo # DNST9202784
    Defense News Service
    Ponchatoula 128k USNS Ponchatoula (T-AO-148) underway, date and location unknown.
    DOD photo # DNST9202829
    Defense News Service
    Ponchatoula 87k USNS Ponchatoula (T-AO-148) underway, date and location unknown.
    DOD photo # DNST9202830
    Defense News Service
    MARAD Suisun Bay Group Reserve Fleet
    Ponchatoula 210k Ex-USS Ponchatoula (AO-148) laid up in reserve in the Maritime Administration National Defense Reserve Fleet Suisun Bay, Benecia, CA.
    US Maritime Administration photos
    Ron Reeves
    Ponchatoula 307k

    Additional Ships Patches
    Ponchatoula
    Contributed by Mike Smolinski
    Ponchatoula
    Contributed by Mike Smolinski
    Ponchatoula
    Contributed by R.A. Moody


    For more photos and information about USS / USNS Ponchatoula, see;
  • Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
  • MARAD Vessel History Database
  • USS Ponchatoula AO-148
  • USS Ponchatoula Shipmates Association
  • USNS Ponchatoula (T-AO-148)
  • "Historic Navy oiler stops in Vallejo on final voyage" Vallejo Times-Hearld" online 05/21/2014
  • Commanding Officers

  • 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 24 October 2014