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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

Contributed by Don Mc Grogan

USS Sapelo (AO-11)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Uniform - Golf - Sierra
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive, 4 May 1943, Convoy ONS-5) - American Defense Service Medal (with "A" device)
Bottom Row - American Campaign Service Medal - Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal - World War II Victory Medal

Patoka Class Fleet Oiler:
  • Laid down, 3 May 1919, under a United States Shipping Board (USSB) contact at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock, Co., Newport News, VA.
  • Launched, 24 December 1919
  • Transferred to the US Navy, 30 January 1920
  • Commissioned USS Sapelo, 19 February 1920, CDR. W. R. Kennedy, USNRF, in command
  • Designated (AO-11), 17 July 1920
  • Decommissioned, 14 October 1932 for lay up in the reserve fleet
  • Recommissioned, 19 August 1940
  • During World War II USS Sapelo (AO-11) was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet
  • Decommissioned, 26 October 1945, at Norfolk, VA.
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 13 November 1945
  • Transferred to the Maritime Commission for disposal
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping in May 1946 to Patapsco Scrap Co.
    Displacement 5,400 t.(lt) 17,820 t.(fl)
    Length 447' 10"
    Beam 60' 3"
    Draft 27' 8"(mean)
    Speed 11.2 kts.
    Officers 22
    Enlisted 276
    Largest Boom Capacity 12 t.
    Cargo Capacity 11,100 DWT
    Oil 70,600 Bbls
    Gasoline 267,000 Gals
    two single 5"/38 cal dual purpose gun mounts
    four twin 40mm AA gun mounts
    four twin 20mm AA gun mounts
    Fuel Capacity
    NSFO 4,780 Bbls
    Newport News quadruple vertical reciprocating (#13 geared turbine) steam engine
    two Yarrow boilers, 265psi °Sat
    span style="padding-left: 0em">Ship's Service Generators
    one turbo-drive 50Kw 120V D.C.
    two turbo-drive 75Kw 120V D.C.
    one Diesel-drive 50Kw 120V D.C.
    single propeller, 2,300shp

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    Sapelo is a primarily tidal river in McIntosh County in Georgia. It forms between Interstate 95 and U.S. Route 17 near the Eulonia and winds generally east through salt marshes into Sapelo Sound, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates St. Catherines Island to the north from Sapelo Island to the south.
    Sapelo River, McIntosh County, Georgia ©Jud McCranie, (Wikipedia)
    Tommy Trampp
    Brazos 195k USS Kanawha (AO-1), USS Cuyama (AO-3), USS Sapelo (AO-11), and USS Brazos (AO-4) at anchor mid-1920s, location unknown.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command catalog # NH 77321, from the scrapbooks of Fred M. Butler. Courtesy of Mrs. C.R. DeSpain, Forrest Knolls, Maryland, 1973.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Neches 113k USS Sapelo (AO-11) alongside USS Neches (AO-5) at Melbourne, Australia during the fleet visit in 1925.
    Photo by the late Allan Greene
    Chris Howell
    Sapelo 113k USS Sapelo (AO-11) at anchor in San Diego Bay, CA., 28 January 1933.
    US Navy photo # NH 65154, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center, courtesy
    Robert Hurst
    204k USS Sapelo (AO-11) underway in the north Atlantic, 19 November 1943.
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-200270, a US Navy photo now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    Rick Davis
    Sapelo 97k USS Sapelo (AO-11) at Norfolk Navy Yard, 22 March 1941. View, port side amidships looking forward. Measure 1 Dark Grey (5-D) is being applied over her standard navy grey paint, one of the ship colors prescribed for US warships prior to the publication of the Buships-2 Camouflage Instructions.
    US Navy photo - Portsmouth Navy Yard, photo serial 1351 (41), Mar. 22, 1941
    Pieter Bakels and
    Robert Hurst
    Sapelo 381k USS Sapelo (AO-11) at Norfolk Navy Yard, 22 March 1941. View looking forward from the bridge.
    US Navy photo - Portsmouth Navy Yard, photo serial 1350 (41), Mar. 22, 1941
    Pieter Bakels
    Sapelo 290k USS Sapelo (AO-11) at Norfolk Navy Yard, 22 March 1941. View of stern.
    US Navy photo - Portsmouth Navy Yard, photo serial 1354 (41), Mar. 22, 1941
    Pieter Bakels
    Sapelo 340k USS Sapelo (AO-11) at Norfolk Navy Yard, 22 March 1941. View looking forward, starboard side.
    US Navy photo - Portsmouth Navy Yard, photo serial 1346 (41), Mar. 22, 1941
    Pieter Bakels
    Sapelo 544k USS Sapelo (AO-11) at Norfolk Navy Yard, 22 March 1941. View looking forward.
    US Navy photo - Portsmouth Navy Yard, photo serial 1347 (41), Mar. 22, 1941
    Pieter Bakels
    Sapelo 527k USS Sapelo (AO-11) at Norfolk Navy Yard, 22 March 1941. View of the bow from the crow's nest.
    US Navy photo - Portsmouth Navy Yard, photo serial 1349 (41), Mar. 22, 1941
    Pieter Bakels

    USS Sapelo (AO-11)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CDR. Kennedy. Walter R., USNRF19 February 1920 - 13 June 1922
    02CDR. Coxe, Lewis, USN (USNA 1901)13 June 1922 - 9 February 1924
    03CDR. Metcalf, Martin Kellogg, USN (USNA 1903)USN9 February 1924 - 1 February 1925
    04CDR. Coman, Vaughan Kimball, USN (USNA 1905)1 February 1925 - 15 October 1925
    05CDR. Shoup, Aubrey Kirk, USN (USNA 1904)15 October 1925 - 1 June 1926
    06CDR. Hall, Walcot Ellsworth, USN (USNA 1906)1 June 1926 - 27 October 1928
    07CDR. Connor, John Francis, USN (USNA 1906)27 October 1928 - 10 February 1930
    08CDR. Shonerd, Henry Gilbert, USN (USNA 1907)10 February 1930 - 25 August 1930
    09CAPT. Taffinder, Sherwoode Ayerst, USN (USNA 1907) :VADM25 August 1930 - 23 May 1932
    10LT. Barden, Fred John, USN23 May 1932 - 25 July 1932
    11CDR. Benson, Howard Hartwell James, USN (USNA 1909) :COMO25 July 1932 - 28 August 1932
    12LT. Barden, Fred John, USN28 August 1932 - 14 October 1932
     Decommissioned14 October 1932 - 19 August 1940
    13CDR. Moore, Walter Ellery, USN (USNA 1921A) :RADM19 August 1940 - 10 June 1941
    14CDR. Converse, Adelbert Frink, USN (USNA 1922)10 June 1941 - 7 November 1942
    15CDR. Tawes, Montford Rupert, USNR7 November 1942 - 18 August 1943
    16LCDR. Bray, William Allen, USNR18 August 1943 - 7 October 1944
    17LCDR. Houston, Joseph Allan, USNR7 October 1944 - 30 April 1945
    18LCDR. DeLaney, Charles James, USNR30 April 1945 - 26 October 1945
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves. Photos courtesy Bill Gonyo

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

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    MARAD Vessel History Database
    Back To The Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To The Service Force Ship Type Index Back To The Fleet Oiler (AO) Photo Index
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 5 March 2021