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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive


Patches contributed by Mike Smolinski

USS Orca (AVP-49)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Charlie - Kilo - Hotel
NCKH
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons




Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (3-27 August 1944, 26 November 1944, 2 January 1945) - Presidential Unit Citation
Second Row- American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (4) - World War II Victory Medal
Third Row - National Defense Service Medal - Philippines Presidential Unit Citation - Philippines Liberation Medal (1)

Individual Awards and Citations

Legion of Merit CDR. Morton K. Fleming, Jr.

USS Orca (AVP-49 was transferred to Ethiopia and renamed Ethiopia (A 01)
Barnegat Class Small Seaplane Tender
  • Laid down, 13 July 1942, at Lake Washington Shipyards, Houghton, WA.
  • Launched, 4 October 1942
  • Commissioned, USS Orca (AVP-49), 23 January 1944, CDR. Morton K. Fleming, Jr., in command
  • During World War II USS Orca was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following campaigns:

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaign
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Hollandia operation, 23 May to 1 June 1944 Leyte operation
    Leyte landings, 4 to 29 November 1944
    Western New Guinea operation
    Cape Sansapor operation, 22 to 31 August 1944
    Luzon operation
    Lingayen Gulf landings, 4 to 18 January 1945

  • Following World War II USS Orca (AVP-43) was assigned to Occupation service in the Far East for following periods;

    Navy Occupation Service Medal
    26 September to 12 October 1945
    9 February to 19 June 1947

  • USS Orca (AVP-49) was assigned to Joint Task Force 1, Task Unit 1.6.4 Navy Air Group (Seaplane Tender, Bikini) for Operation Crossroads the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in July 1946
  • Decommissioned, 31 October 1947, at San Francisco, CA.
  • Laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet, San Francisco Group
  • Recommissioned, 15 December 1951, CDR. A. K. Espenas, in command
  • During the 1950s USS Orca (AVP-43) was assigned to China service for following periods;

    China Service Medal (extended)
    21 February to 17 April 1953
    21 April to 15 July 1953
    7 August to 22 September 1953
    18 October to 14 November 1953
    7 January to 10 February 1954
    12 May to 10 July 1954
    4 to 25 August 1954
    4 to 21 August 1955
    27 August to 3 September 1955

  • Decommissioned in March 1960, at Tongue Point Naval Station, Astoria, OR.
  • Laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet, Columbia River Group
  • Reactivated in 1961 at San Francisco Naval Shipyard, Hunters Point, CA., for conversion to a training ship
  • Transferred (loaned) to Ethiopia in January 1962 under terms of the Military Assistance Program, renamed Ethiopia (A 01)
  • Struck from the Naval Register, date unknown
  • Final Disposition, during Eritrean revolution in 1991 Ethiopia (A 01) escaped to Yemen with other units of the Ethiopian navy. By then in unserviceable condition, she was probably sold locally for scrap
  • USS Orca was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation and earned four battle stars for service in World War II
    Specifications:
    Displacement 1,766 t.(lt) 2,800 t.(fl)
    Length 310' 9"
    Beam 41' 2"
    Draft 13' 6" (limiting)
    Speed 18.6kts.
    Complement
    Officers 73
    Enlisted 294
    Largest Boom Capacity 10 t.
    Armament
    one single 5"/38 cal dual purpose gun mount
    one quad 40mm AA gun mount
    two twin 40mm AA gun mounts
    four twin 20mm AA gun mounts
    Fuel Capacities
    Diesel 1,955 Bbls
    Gasoline 71,400 Gals
    Propulsion
    two Fairbanks Morse Diesel 38D8 1/4 engines
    single Fairbanks Morse Main Reduction Gear Ship's Service Generators
    two Diesel-drive 100Kw 450V A.C.
    one Diesel-drive 200Kw 450V A.C.
    two propellers, 6,080shp

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    USS Orca (AVP-43)
    Orca 104k Orca (AVP-49) ready for launching, 4 October 1942. Her builder's number, "Hull 538," is displayed on her bridge.
    US National Archives photo # 19-N-44301, a US Navy photo from the Bureau of Ships Collection now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Orca 104k Orca (AVP-49) being launched at Lake Washington Shipyards, Houghton, WA,, 4 October 1942.
    US National Archives photo # 19-N-47209, a US Navy photo from the Bureau of Ships Collection now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Orca 122k Orca (AVP-49) fitting out outboard of Onslow (AVP-48) at Lake Washington Shipyard, Houghton, WA., 10 July 1943. The old paddle-wheel ferry was the West Seattle.
    US National Archives photo # 19-N-51143, a US Navy photo from the Bureau of Ships Collection now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Onslow 127k Orca (AVP-49) outboard of Onslow (AVP-48) fitting out at Lake Washington Shipyard, Houghton, WA., 10 July 1943. Also visible in this photo are Oyster Bay (AGP-6), lower left, and Mobjack (AVP-7), lower right with the crane. The old paddle-wheel ferry is the West Seattle.
    US National Archives photo # 19-N-51144, a US Navy photo from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the US National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Orca 114k Orca (AVP-49) fitting out at Lake Washington Shipyard, Houghton, WA., 12 January 1944, about two weeks before commissioning.
    US National Archives photo # 19-N-58186, a US Navy photo from the Bureau of Ships Collection now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Orca 73k USS Orca (AVP-49) off Houghton, WA., 6 February 1944, about two weeks after commissioning. She was completed with three 5"/38 guns, including an open mount on her fantail. Note she is wearing camouflage scheme 32/2Ax.
    US National Archives photo # 19-N-61647, a US Navy photo from the Bureau of Ships Collection now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Orca 73k USS Orca (AVP-49) off Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., 8 January 1946 after completion of an overhaul. Her 40mm quadruple mount had been moved forward replacing one 5"/38 mount, but she retained two 5"guns, including one in an open mount on her fantail.
    US National Archives photo # 19-N-92244, a US Navy photo from the Bureau of Ships Collection now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Orca 57k USS Orca (AVP-49) at anchor off Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., 8 January 1946 after completion of an overhaul.
    US National Archives photo # 19-N-92245, a US Navy photo from the Bureau of Ships Collection now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Orca 73k USS Orca (AVP-49) off Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., 8 January 1946 after completion of an overhaul.
    US National Archives photo # 19-N-92246, a US Navy photo from the Bureau of Ships Collection now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Orca 57k USS Orca (AVP-49) at anchor off Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., 8 January 1946 after completion of an overhaul.
    US National Archives photo # 19-N-92247, a US Navy photo from the Bureau of Ships Collection now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Orca 70k USS Orca (AVP-49) off Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., 8 January 1946 after completion of an overhaul. Note the flock of seagulls following the ship.
    US National Archives photo # 19-N-92248, a US Navy photo from the Bureau of Ships Collection now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Orca 80k USS Orca (AVP-49) at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., 8 January 1946 after completion of an overhaul. Note her 40mm quadruple mount had been moved forward replacing one of her two forward 5"/38 mounts.
    US National Archives photo # 19-N-92249, a US Navy photo from the Bureau of Ships Collection now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Orca 106k USS Orca (AVP-49) at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., 8 January 1946 after completion of an overhaul. Alterations shown included her amidships boat stowage.
    US National Archives photo # 19-N-92250, a US Navy photo from the Bureau of Ships Collection now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Orca 111k USS Orca (AVP-49) at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., 8 January 1946 after completion of an overhaul. The boats shown here displaced her 40mm quadruple mount, which was moved forward. A Mk. 51 director is also shown.
    US National Archives photo # 19-N-92251, a US Navy photo from the Bureau of Ships Collection now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Catalpa/Orca 127k USS Orca (AVP-49) at San Francisco Naval Shipyard, Hunters Point, CA. 21 December 1951, a week after being reactivated. In the foreground is USS Catalpa (AN-10) showing the arrangement of her radar and other electronic antennas.
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-445892, a US Navy photo now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Catalpa/Orca 141k USS Orca (AVP-49) at San Francisco Naval Shipyard, Hunters Point, CA., 21 December 1951, a week after being reactivated. In the foreground is an annotated view of USS Catalpa (AN-10)'s foremast showing the arrangement of her radar and other electronic antennas. Photographed at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard, California, on 21 December 1951. Note the sailor climbing the mast.
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-445891, a US Navy photo now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Orca 96k USS Orca (AVP-49) underway, 4 April 1955. Note the aviation insignia on the bow aft of the hull number. The open 5"/38 mount formerly on her fantail was removed between late 1951 and 1955.
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-668276, a US Navy photo now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Orca 249k USS Orca (AVP-49) moored at Naval Station San Diego, circa 1950s. Dave Schroeder and John Chiquoine
    Orca 89k USS Orca (AVP-49) arriving at Tongue Point, Astoria, OR., 23 February 1960 for inactivation after a transit from San Diego. A tug is pushing the ship towards the pier as the special sea detail crewmen take slack out of the mooring lines.
    US Navy photo # NH 97805, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center
    US Naval Historical Center
    Orca 72k USS Orca (AVP-49) off the San Francisco Naval Shipyard, Hunters Point, 19 December 1961, showing the ship as modified for transfer to Ethiopia.
    US National Archives Photo # USN 1059113, a US Navy photo now in the collections of the US National Archives, courtesy Shipscribe.com.
    Robert Hurst
    Ethiopia (A 01)
    Orca 43k Ex-USS Orca (AVP-49) in Ethiopian service as Ethiopia (A 01) moored pierside, date and place unknown. Robert Hurst
    Orca 105k Ethiopia (A 01) underway off the south coast of England, circa 1964. Photo Wright & Logan, Southsea, England. Robert Hurst

    USS Orca (AVP-49)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CDR. Fleming Jr., Morton Klyne23 January 1944 - 30 December 1944
    02CDR. Rigsbee Jr., Everett Olin30 December 1944 - 10 December 1945
    03CDR. Shea, John Dwight10 December 1945 - 21 March 1947
    04CDR. Rembert Jr., John Patrick21 March 1947 - 13 October 1947
     Decommissioned13 October 1947 - 15 December 1951
    05CDR. Espenas, Arthur Krag15 December 1951 - 12 December 1952
    06CAPT. Johnson, John Henry Stuart12 December 1952 - 30 September 1953
    07CAPT. Ryon, William Medenhall30 September 1953 - July 1954
    08CAPT. Schwartz, Isador JosephJuly 1954 - 15 July 1955
    09CAPT. Pray, Ralph Marble15 July 1955 - 8 August 1956
    10CAPT. Tibbets, Joseph Bonafield :RADM8 August 1956 - 1 October 1957
    11CAPT. Brown Jr., Samuel Robbins :RADM1 October 1957 - 9 April 1958
    12CAPT. Bauer, Louis Hallowell, USN (39)9 April 1958 - 15 May 1959
    13CAPT. Jackson, Percival W. :RADM15 May 1959 - 10 May 1960
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

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

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    Barnegat Class Seaplane Tenders
    Profile and Sky Views - Barnegat Class Small Seaplane Tenders - Lake Washington Shipyard, Houghton, WA.
    Back To The Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To The Service Ship Type Index Back To The Small Seaplane Tender (AVP) Photo Index
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 19 February 2016