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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski

USS Otus (ARG-20)
USS Otus (AS-20) (1941 - 1945)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Bravo - Juliet - Quebec
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive - 10 December 1942) - American Defense Service Medal (with Fleet clasp) - American Campaign Medal
Second Row - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (1) - World War II Victory Medal - Philippines Presidential Unit Citation
Third Row - Philippines Defense Medal - Philippines Liberation Medal - Philippines Independence Medal

Otus Class Submarine Tender:
  • Laid down, 3 June 1940 as SS Fred Morris, a Maritime type C1-B hull, under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 70) at Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock, Kearny, N.J.
  • Launched, 2 November 1940
  • Acquired by the US Navy, 21 December 1940
  • Converted to a Submarine Tender
  • Commissioned USS Otus (AS-20), 19 March 1941, CDR. Joel Newsom, in command
  • At the start of World War II USS Otus was at Cavite Navy Yard, Philippine Islands and received one battle star for:
    Asiatic-Pacific Campaign
    Campaign and Dates
    Philippines Islands Operation, 8 to 28 December 1941

  • Reclassified as Internal Combustion Engine Repair Ship (ARG-20), 25 June 1945
  • Decommissioned, 20 August 1946
  • Laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Olympia, WA, 21 August 1946
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 25 September 1946
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 2 November 1970, to Zidell Explorations Inc., Portland, OR.
  • USS Otus earned one battle star for WWII service
    2,930 t.(trial)
    9,225 t. (limiting)
    Length 417' 9"
    Beam 60'
    Draft 20' 6" (limiting)
    Speed 14.7 kts. (trial speed)
    45 officers
    599 enlisted
    one single 5"/38 dual purpose gun mount
    four single3"/50 dual purpose gun mounts
    Largest Boom Capacity 5 t.
    Fuel Capacities
    NSFO unknown
    Diesel, 12,400 bbls.
    two Foster Wheeler "D"-type boilers 465psi, 765°
    one De Laval Turbine
    double De Laval Main Reduction Gears
    Ship's Service Generators
    two turbo-drive 250Kw 120V/240V D.C.
    three Diesel-drive 300Kw 120V/240V D.C.
    single propeller, 4,000shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    Otus 119k USS Otus (AS-20) near Cavite Navy Yard in the Philippines, 10 September 1941, after her so-called "preliminary" conversion there. Note the row of portholes running the length of the ship on the level below the main deck, where accommodation and repair facilities were installed.
    US National Archives, RG-19-LCM photo # 19-N-41414, a US Navy Bureau of Ships photo now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    Robert Hurst
    Otus 85k USS Otus (AS-20) arriving at the Mare Island Navy Yard on 24 August 1942 to undergo full conversion. After her "preliminary" conversion at Cavite the ship received additional minor alterations during her service in Australian waters from December 1941 to July 1942.
    Photos from US National Archives, RG-19-LCM, US Navy Bureau of Ships photos now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    Robert Hurst
    Otus 70k
    Otus 89k
    97k USS Otus (AS-20) near Mare Island Navy Yard, 15 January 1943, after completing a full conversion there. 19-N-400700 shows the numerous enhancements including extension of the superstructure forward, the addition of two 3" guns on the bow, and the plating over of the portholes in the hull. 19-N-40069 shows that the gun positions fitted aft at Cavite were retained but the old 5"/51 gun was replaced by a modern 5"/38. Note also the new radar mast and numerous other upgrades.
    US National Archives, RG-19-LCM photo #'s 19-N-40070 & 19-N-40069, US .Navy Bureau of Ships photos now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    Robert Hurst
    Otus 285k USS Otus (AS-20) under way, date and location unknown. Gerhard Mueller-Debus

    USS Otus (AS-20 / ARG-20)
    DANFS history entry located at the US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Commanding Officers
    01CDR. Newsom, Joel19 March 1941 - 31 March 1941
    02LCDR. Hume, John Renwick31 March 1941 - September 1941
    03CDR. Newsom, JoelSeptember 1941 - 27 September 1943
    04CDR.. Follmer, Lloyd Dallas27 September 1943 - January 1945
    05CAPT. Boldizsar, George Thomas January 1945 - April 1946
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    U.S.Navy Memorial Foundation

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    USS Otus (ARG-20)
    Submarine Tenders of the United States Navy
    MARAD Vessel History Data Base
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    Miscellaneous Ship Type Index
    Back To The Submarine Tender (AS) Photo Index Back To The Internal Combustion Engine Repair Ship (ARG) Photo Index
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 24 January 2014