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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive


Contributed by T.J. Tropea

USNS Spica (T-AFS-9)
ex
RFA Tarbatness (A-345) (1967 - 1981)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Mike - Juliet - Golf
NMJG
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 - National Defense Service Medal
Third Row - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal - Southwest Asia Service Medal - Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)


Sirius Class Combat Stores Ship:
  • Laid down, 1 April 1965, at Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd., Wallsend-On-Tyne, United Kingdom for the Royal Navy as RFA Tarbatness (A-345)
  • Launched, 1 February 1967
  • Purchased by US Navy and placed in service, as USNS Spica (T-AFS-9), 1 November 1981
  • Spica was a unit of the MSC Naval Auxiliary Force, MSC Atlantic
  • Inactived, 26 January 2008 and turned over to the Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility, Philadelphia, PA, for disposal
  • Finial Disposition, expended as a target for fleet exercises, 6 May 2009
    Specifications:
    Displacement 10,205 t. (lt), 16,680 t. (fl)
    Dead Weight 6475 t.
    Length 523' (ov)
    Beam 72'
    Draft 26 ft. Maximum Navigational
    Speed 18 knots
    Aircraft Two UH-46 Sea Knight helicopters
    Armament None
    Complement 123 Civilian, 47 Navy
    Propulsion one Diesel engine, 11,520 brake horsepower, single propeller

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    Size Image Description Source
    RFA Tarbatness (A-345)
    Sirius 123k RFA Tarbatness (A-345) ships crest. TJ Tropea RM1 USN Ret. USNS Sirius
    Spica 62k RFA Tarbatness (A-344) underway, date and location unknown. TJ Tropea RM1 USN Ret. USNS Sirius, courtesy RFA Association, Plymouth & District Branch, The Mortimore Gallery
    Spica 103k RFA Tarbatness (A-344) underway alongside a Royal Navy destroyer, date and location unknown. TJ Tropea RM1 USN Ret. USNS Sirius, courtesy RFA Association, Plymouth & District Branch, The Mortimore Gallery
    Spica 75k RFA Tarbatness (A-344) moored, date and location unknown. TJ Tropea RM1 USN Ret. USNS Sirius, courtesy RFA Association, Plymouth & District Branch, The Mortimore Gallery
    Spica 56k RFA Tarbatness (A-344) underway, date and location unknown. TJ Tropea RM1 USN Ret. USNS Sirius, courtesy RFA Association, Plymouth & District Branch, The Mortimore Gallery
    Spica 17k RFA Tarbatness (A-344) underway off Portland, Devon, England, circa 1977. Note the Westland Wessex helicopter coming into land.
    Photo courtesy George Mortimore.
    Robert Hurst
    Spica 559k Royal Navy warships underway heading west across the Atlantic towards Roosevelt Roads and West Palm Beach, USA., having left Gibralter on 14 February 1977. They were taking part in the Fourth Group Deployment (Task Group 317.5) that was carried out between 25 January - 23 May 1977. Ships included: In the lead is the nuclear-powered attack submarine HMS Churchill (S46); she is followed by the 'Leander' class frigate HMS Ariadne (F72), with an unidentified 'Leander' class frigate* to port. They are followed by the 'Leander' class frigate HMS Danae (F47); next in line is the fleet replenishment tanker RFA Tidepool (A76); next is the helicopter cruiser HMS Tiger (C20) (flagship of the Group Commander Rear Admiral Martyn Wemyss, FOF2); next is the stores support ship RFA Tarbatness (A345); and next the Type 21 frigate HMS Antelope (F170). They are followed by the 'Leander' class frigate HMS Euryalus (F15) and an unidentified 'Leander' class frigate* to port. They are followed by the fleet replenishment tanker RFA Green Rover (A268). The two unidentified 'Leander' class frigates marked with an asterisk are HMS Aurora (F10) and HMS Jupiter (F60), exact position of these two ships in the photo is undetermined.
    Photo courtesy of Royal Navy Museum.
    Photo and text from "Safeguarding the Nation: The Story of the Modern Royal Navy" by John Roberts.
    Robert Hurst
    Spica 18k RFA Tarbatness (A-344) moored pierside, April 1969, location unknown.
    Photo MPL.
    Robert Hurst
    USNS Spica (T-AFS-9)
    Spica 80k USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) rests on blocks in the medium auxiliary floating dry dock Resourceful (AFDM-5). at Naval Station Subic Bay, Luzon, Philippines, 1 January 1987. The submarine tender USS Proteus (AS-19), with two Sturgeon class nuclear-powered attack submarines nested alongside, is on the right. The Naval Supply Depot is in the background.
    DOD photo # DNST9301078, by PH2 Ellenwood.
    T.J. Tropea RM1 USN Ret USNS Sirius
    Spica 70k USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) moored pierside at Sydney, Australia, 6 May 1987, during the Royal Australian Navy's 75th Anniversary celebrations.
    Photo courtesy Ray Smith of Newcastle, NSW, Australia.
    T.J. Tropea RM1 USN Ret USNS Sirius
    Spica 54k USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) coming alongside USS Nimitz (CVN-68),
    in the Arabian Gulf for underway replenishment.
    US Navy photo
    .
    Spica 64k USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) underway, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo
    MSC web site
    Spica 22k USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) moored at X-Ray Wharf at Guam, August 2000.
    Photos courtesy LT. Don Wilson, USN.
    T.J. Tropea RM1 USN Ret USNS Sirius
    Spica 205k USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) underway, date and location unknown.
    Photo courtesy LT. Don Wilson, USN.
    T.J. Tropea RM1 USN Ret USNS Sirius
    Spica 19k USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) underway, date and location unknown.
    Photo courtesy LT. Don Wilson, USN.
    T.J. Tropea RM1 USN Ret USNS Sirius
    Spica 169k USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) moored pierside, date and location unknown.
    Photo courtesy LT. Don Wilson, USN.
    T.J. Tropea RM1 USN Ret USNS Sirius
    Spica 99k USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) steams alongside USS Harry S. Truman (CV-75) during a replenishment at sea (UNREP), 17 March 2001.
    US Navy photo # E-030117-N-9851B-008 from the US Navy Newsstand web site.
    Bernard A. Cardali USN, USS LST-308
    Spica 80k USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) steams alongside USS Harry S. Truman (CV-75) during a replenishment at sea (UNREP), 17 March 2001.
    US Navy photo # E-030117-N-9851B-028 from the US Navy Newsstand web site.
    Bernard A. Cardali USN, USS LST-308
    Spica 1525k Eurocopter AS 332 “Super Puma” transport helicopters lift cargo from USNS Spica (T-AFS-9), for a vertical replenishment (VERTREP) to USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), 24 February 2002. Kennedy was scheduled to relieve USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) and conduct missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
    US Navy photo # E-020224-N-6492H-513 MEDITERRANEAN SEA (24 February 2002) by PH1 Jim Hampshire.
    Robert M. Cieri
    Spica 1173k USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) pulls alongside USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) for a vertical replenishment (VERTREP) at sea, 27 March 2002. Spica is outfitted with contracted French-made SA-330 "Puma" helicopters for the transfer of cargo. John C. Stennis and her battle group are deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
    US Navy photo # 020327-N-4768W-011 ARABIAN SEA (27 March 2002) by PH3 Joshua Word.
    Robert M. Cieri
    Spica 57k USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) approaches USS Harry S Truman (CVN-75) prior to conducting underway replenishment with the carrier, 18 December 2002. Underway Replenishment is the method by which provisions, ammunition and fuel are transferred from one ship to another at sea. The technique enables a fleet or naval formation to remain at sea for prolonged periods of time. US Navy photo by PH3 Christopher B. Stoltz USN. [021218-N-9964S-003]. Bernard A. Cardali USS LST-308
    Spica 74k USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) prepares to conduct a simultaneous Refueling at Sea (RAS) with Amphibious Assault Ship USS Saipan (LHA 2) (top) and Amphibious Transport Dock USS Ponce (LPD 15) (bottom). Saipan and Ponce are part of Amphibious Task Force East (AFT-E), underway on an unscheduled deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo # 030131-N-2972R-056 by PH3 Angel Roman-Otero. Bernard A. Cardali USS LST-308
    CVN-75 106k USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) steams alongside USS Harry S. Truman during an Underway Replenishment (UNREP), 17 January 2003.. U.S. Navy photo # 030117-N-9851B-027 by PH2 John L. Beeman. Bernard A. Cardali, USN LST-308
    Ashland 2540k USS Ashland (LSD-48) receive stores during a connected replenishment with USNS Spica (T-AFS-9). Ashland and Spica are deployed with the Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group and are currently conducting Maritime Security Operations in the Persian Gulf.
    US Navy photo # 050505-N-2382W-008 Persian Gulf (May 5, 2005) by PHAN Finley Williams
    Navy Newsstand
    Ashland 2760k The amphibious transport dock USS Ponce (LPD-15) and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD-48) receives stores during a connected replenishment with USNS Spica (T-AFS-9). Ponce, Ashland and Spica are deployed with the Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group and are currently conducting Maritime Security Operations in the Persian Gulf.
    US Navy photo # 050505-N-2382W-010 Persian Gulf (May 5, 2005) by PHAN Finley Williams
    Navy Newsstand
    CVN-70 Carl Vinson 95k USNS Walter S. Diehl (T-AO-193) provides fuel and supplies to the guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG-89) and aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) during a replenishment at sea (RAS) evolution in the Persian Gulf, 14 May 2005, while USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) steams alongside using helicopters to conduct a vertical replenishment (VERTREP). The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group was deployed conducting operations in support of multi-national forces in Iraq and maritime security operations in order to set the conditions for security and stability in the region. The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier would end this deployment with a homeport shift to Norfolk, Va., to commence a three-year refuel and complex overhaul. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Dusty Howell (# 050514-N-3241H-002).

    USN
    Spica 205k USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) underway on the Elizabeth River at Norfolk, VA., 19 September 2005. Photo by Marc Piché of Vercheres, Quebec, Canada, ©2007, submitted by TJ Tropea
    Spica 68k USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) underway, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo
    Richard Leonhardt
    Spica 58k USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) underway, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo
    US Navy Newsstand
    Spica 71k USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) underway, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo
    US Navy Newsstand
    Spica 1440k USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) during an underway replenishment of USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), 19 January 2006. Sent over to Spica by the CAPT. J.R. Haley, USN, CO USS Theodore Roosevelt while unrepping.
    US Navy photo.
    Barndon J. Varner
    Spica 448k USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) and USNS Saturn (T-AF-10) steaming side by side during turnover, 14 February 2007, in the Red Sea. T.J. Tropea RM1 USN Ret USNS Sirius
    Spica 177k Port bow view of USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) inbound on the Elizabeth River off Norfolk, VA., 31 May 2007. Photo by Marc Piché of Vercheres, Quebec, Canada, ©2007, submitted by TJ Tropea
    Spica 213k Port quarter view of USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) inbound on the Elizabeth River off Norfolk, VA., 31 May 2007. Photo by Marc Piché of Vercheres, Quebec, Canada, ©2007, submitted by TJ Tropea
    Spica 85k Ex-USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) showing damage to her port side from hellfire missile strikes during a sinkex, 6 May 2009. Capt. Douglas D. Casavant, Jr., Master, USNS Arctic

    USNS Spica Patches
    Contributed by T.J. Tropea RM1 USN Ret USNS Sirius
    Sirius

    There is no DANFS history currently available for USNS Spica (T-AFS-9) at NavSource
    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    Navy Fact File - Combat Stores Ships - T-AFS
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    Last Updated 24 August 2012