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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

Contributed by Al Grazevich

USNS Mars (T-AFS-1)
USS Mars (AFS-1) (1963 - 1993)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Foxtrot - Mike - Charlie
JANAP Tactical Voice Radio Call Sign - Lilac (B)ravo - Section 6A of JANAP 119(F) 1968 (circa 1973/74 - War Cry)
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (17 September 1966)
Second Row Navy Unit Commendation - Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (6) - Battle "E" Ribbon (3)
Third Row - Navy Expeditionary Medal (Iran/Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf) - National Defense Service Medal (2) - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Vietnam, Korea, Op. Frequent Wind, Persian Gulf, Op. Restore Hope Somalia)
Fourth Row - Vietnam Service Medal (11) - Southwest Asia Service Medal - Humanitarian Service Medal (Frequent Wind, Boat People)
Fifth Row - Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation (11) - Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal - Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)

Mars Class Combat Stores Ship:
  • Laid down, 5 May 1962, at National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., San Diego, CA.
  • Launched, 15 June 1963
  • Commissioned, USS Mars (AFS-1), 1 December 1963, CAPT. Russell C. Medley USN, in command
  • During the Vietnam War USS Mars (AFS-1) participated in the following campaigns:

    Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Vietnam Service Medal
    Campaigns and Dates Campaigns and Dates
    Vietnam Advisory Campaign
    8 to 10 January 1965
    15 February to 23 March 1965
    25 April to 10 June 1965
    2 to 3 July 1965
    Tet/69 Counteroffensive
    17 to 24 March 1969
    31 March to 16 April 1969
    20 to 26 April 1969
    2 to 8 June 1969
    Vietnam Defense
    12 to 15 July 1965
    20 to 30 July 1965
    1 to 7 September 1965
    30 September to 7 October 1965
    21 October to 3 November 1965
    2 to 14 December 1965
    22 to 24 December 1965
    Vietnam Summer-Fall 1969
    9 to 17 June 1969
    23 to 30 July 1969
    3 to 20 August 1969
    14 to 27 October 1969
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive
    25 December 1965 to 2 January 1966
    5 to 17 February 1966
    25 February to 1 March 1966
    17 to 26 April 1966
    4 to 14 May 1966
    29 to 30 June 1966
    Vietnam Winter-Spring 1970
    3 to 19 December 1969
    10 to 21 February 1970
    26 to 27 February 1970
    4 to 19 March 1970
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase II
    1 to 10 July 1966
    16 to 25 July 1966
    31 July to 2 August 1966
    12 to 22 September 1966
    29 September to 1 October 1966
    19 to 24 November 1966
    1 to 3 December 1966
    24 January to 4 February 1967
    14 to 19 February 1967
    7 to 21 April 1967
    8 to 13 May 1967
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase VII
    17 to 28 December 1970
    14 to 21 January 1971
    6 February 1971
    12 to 25 February 1971
    7 to 16 March 1971
    23 March to 1 April 1971
    20 to 28 April 1971
    7 to 11 May 1971
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase III
    25 June to 9 July 1967
    16 July to 1 August 1967
    10 to 21 September 1967
    4 to 14-October 1967
    17 November to 7 December 1967
    Vietnam Ceasefire
    11 to 21 May 1972
    31 May to 7 June 1972
    20- June to 6 July 1972
    19 July to 4 August 1972
    19 August to 2 September 1972
    30 September to 12 October 1972
    23 October to 3 November 1972
    13 to 22 November 1972
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase V
    24 September to 9 October 1968

  • Decommissioned, 1 February 1993, at Naval Station Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA., and placed in service by the Military Sealift Command MSC as USNS Mars (T-AFS-1)
  • Placed out of service, 19 February 1998, and laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet, Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility, Pearl Harbor, HI., Maintenance Category B
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 24 May 2004, retained as a logistics support asset (Maintenance category "L") at Pearl Harbor
  • USS Mars received the Navy Unit Commendation and earned eleven campaign stars for Vietnam War service
  • Final Disposition, disposed as targets during RIMPAC 2006, sunk 15 July 2006
    Displacement 9,200 t.(lt) 15,900-18,663 t.(fl)
    Length 581'
    Beam 79'
    Draft 27' (max.)
    Speed 20 kts.
    (USS) 486
    (MSC) 49 Navy, 125 civilian merchant seamen
    Aircraft two UH-46 Sea Knight helicopters
    USN (As Built) four twin 3"/50 dual purpose gun mounts
    USNS unarmed
    three 580 psi Babcock and Wilcox boilers
    one De Laval Turbine
    single propeller

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    USS Mars (AFS-1)
    124k Mars (AFS-1) keel laying, 5 May 1962, at National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., San Diego, CA.
    US Navy photo from Mars Decommissioning Program
    Dale Hargrave
    164k Mars (AFS-1) christening and launching, 15 June 1963, at National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., San Diego, CA.
    (1) Ready for launching on the builders ways
    (2) Christening - Ship's sponsor, Mrs. Clyde Doyle, widow of Representative Doyle of California, breaks the traditional bottle of Champagne across the ship's bow
    (3) Launching - Mars slides down the builders ways into San Diego Bay
    US Navy photos from Mars Decommissioning Program
    Dale Hargrave
    Mars 423k USS Mars (AFS-1) under way, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo
    Charles Lamm
    Mars 128k USS Mars (AFS-1) under way, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo
    CWO3 Kenneth J. Seaman USN Ret
    Walke 167k Fast Combat Support Ship USS Sacramento (AOE-1) refuels USS Mars (AFS-1) and the Destroyer USS Walke (DD-723) during a Western Pacific deployment, circa 1964.
    US Navy photo.
    Mike Green and
    Robert Hurst
    Mars 59k USS Mars (AFS-1) preparing for underway replenishment with USS Midway (CVA-41), November 1965.
    US Navy photo
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    Mars 91k USS Mars (AFS-1) conducting a VERTREP (vertical replenishment) at sea in WESTPAC, circa 1966. Richard Miller BMCS USNR Ret.
    Mars 325k USS Mars (AFS-1) during a VERTREP underway replenishment with USS Coral Sea (CVA-43), November 1966 in WestPac. Photos by Michael O'Brian USS Coral Sea
    Mars 272k
    Mars 294k
    Mars 301k
    Repose 221k USS Repose (AH-16) receives vital supplies in Da Nang Harbor by vertical replenishment from a Navy CH-46A. Sea Knight helicopter attached to USS Mars (AFS-1) circa 1967.
    US Navy photo.
    Tommy Trampp
    Mars 46k USS Mars (AFS-1) during an underway replenishment with USS Yorktown (CVS-10), date unknown.
    US Navy photo from "All Hands" magazine, August 1967
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    Mars 61k USS Mars (AFS-1) underway, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo from "All Hands" magazine, September 1967.
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    250k USS Mars (AFS-1) underway off San Diego, CA., date unknown.
    ©George Barber
    Nicholas Tiberio
    Mars 76k USS Mars (AFS-1) underway entering San Francisco Bay, date unknown.
    US Navy photo.
    Tom Langford
    Mars 111k USS Mars (AFS-1) underway exiting San Francisco Bay, date unknown.
    US Navy photo.
    Wendell Royce McLaughlin Jr
    Mars 54k USS Mars (AFS-1) underway, February 1968.
    US Navy photo
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    CVA-34 Oriskany 133k

    Seventh Fleet ships replenishing in the South China Sea, May 1969. Ships present are (from front to back): USS Wiltsie (DD-716), USS Tappahannock (AO-43), USS Oriskany (CVA-34), USS Mars (AFS-1), and USS Perkins (DD-877).
    US Navy photo # USN 1139357 by PH1 Long USN, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center

    US Naval Historical Center
    Mars 90k USS Mars (AFS-1) Change of Command program, CAPT Thomas O. Nutt, Jr. relieves Capt. P. A. Anderson, 3 October 1969, at Yokosuka, Japan. Tom Nutt
    Mars 140k USS Mars (AFS-1) underway, departing San Diego, CA., date unknown.
    ©Marine Photos, San Diego, CA.
    Richard Miller BMCS USNR Ret.
    Mars 26k USS Mars (AFS-1) moored pierside, at Broadway Pier, San Diego, CA., date unknown. Richard Miller BMCS USNR Ret.
    Mars 113k USS Mars (AFS-1) alongside USS Oriskany (CVA-34) in the South China Sea during an underway replenishment, 9 December 1974. Photo by PH3 Spence Spivey,USS Oriskany
    CVN-69 Eisenhower 133k Aerial view of USS Mars (AFS-1) (foreground), USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) (center) and USS Midway (CV-41) (top) underway in the Indian Ocean, 10 November 1980.
    US Navy photo (DVIC id: DNSC8402673).

    Defense Visual Information Center
    Mars 1034k USS Mars (AFS-1) conducting a Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP) with USS Constellation (CV-64), circa 1981-82. Photo by Paul Jarvis USS Constellation

    An aerial view of the Kitty Hawk battle group under way in the Pacific Ocean, 2 March 1987. The ships are, left to right, front row: frigate USS Stein (FF-1065), guided missile cruiser USS Halsey (CG-23), frigate USS Barbey (FF-1088); second row, guided missile destroyer USS Callaghan (DDG-994), ammunition ship USS Mount Hood (AE-29), aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), combat stores ship USS Mars (AFS-1), and guided missile frigate USS Vandegrift (FFG-48). Fleet oiler USS Willamette (AO-180) follows.

    US Navy photos by PH2 Hensley, available from the Defense Imagery Management Operations Center, id.: DN-SC-87-10327.

    Museum of Military History, Kissimmee, FL

    An aerial view of USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) (CV-63) and her battle group underway in the Pacific Ocean, 2 March 1987. The ships are, left to right, front row: frigate USS Barbey (FF-1088) , guided missile cruiser USS Halsey (CG-23), frigate USS Stein (FF-1065); second row, guided missile frigate USS Vandegrift (FFG-48), USS Mars (AFS-1), Kitty Hawk, ammunition ship USS Mount Hood (AE-29) and the guided missile destroyer USS Callaghan (DDG-994)
    Defense Visual Information Center photo # DN-SC-87-10339), a US Navy photo now in the collections of Defense

    Robert Hurst
    Mars 60k USS Mars (AFS-1) breaking away from an unidentified ship after completing an UNREP, date and location unknown Richard Miller BMCS USNR Ret.
    Mars 99k USS Mars (AFS-1) passing under the Golden Gate Bridge as she enters San Francisco Bay, date unknown. Richard Miller BMCS USNR Ret.
    Mars 73k USS Mars (AFS-1) plaque. Tommy Trampp
    Mars 517k USS Mars (AFS-1) bell on display at Mars, PA.
    Photo taken by Mvincec, 16 August, 2007.
    Robert Hurst
    USNS Mars (T-AFS-1)
    208k USNS Mars (T-AFS-1) underway off San Diego, CA., date unknown.
    ©George Barber
    Nicholas Tiberio
    Antietam 320k USNS Mars (T-AFS-1) replenishes USS Antietam (CG-54) and USS Arkansas (CGN-41) while underway, location unknown, circa 1993-1998 Wendell McLaughlin

    For more photos and information about USS Mars, see;
  • Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
  • Official Web Site of the USS Mars (AFS-1) Association

  • Commanding Officers
    01CAPT. Medley, Russell C.21 December 1963 - 14 December 1965
    02CAPT. Watkins, George Clinton, USN (USNA 1944)14 December 1965 - 12 December 1966
    03CAPT. Riley Jr., Horace (Rex)12 December 1966 - 15 July 1968
    04CAPT. Anderson, Paul A.15 July 1968 - 4 October 1969
    05CAPT. Nutt Jr., Thomas Owen4 October 1969 - January 1971
    06CAPT. Knutson, Albert Eugene (Arlie E.)January 1971 - 12 August 1972
    07CAPT. Adams, Richard C., USN (USNA 1948-B)12 August 1972 - 8 August 1974
    08CAPT. McCrimmon, Douglas Robert8 August 1974 - November 1976
    09CAPT. Bademan, Harold WilliamNovember 1976 - October 1977
    10CAPT. Ralph Jr., SteveOctober 1977 - 28 June 1979
    11CAPT. Baumgardner, John Frederick, USN28 June 1979 - 18 August 1979
    12CAPT. Hutchinson, Charles Kenneth18 August 1979 - June 1981
    13CAPT. Brewton, Edward AllenJune 1981 - 19 April 1983
    14CAPT. Moriarty, John Alden :RADM19 April 1983 - 25 January 1985
    15CAPT. Hipper, Ira Mark25 January 1985 - June 1986
    16CAPT. Coonan Jr., John Joseph (JJ)26 June 1986 - 25 February 1988
    17CAPT. Nordeen, Michael Brent25 February 1988 - August 1989
    18CAPT. Pickavance Jr., William Wilson (Bear) :RADMAugust 1989 - May 1990
    19CAPT. Ostertag II, Marc AlanFebruary 1991 - 1 February 1993
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves. Photos courtesy Bill Gonyo

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

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