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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

USS Suamico (AO-49)

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

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive, 19 March 1943 & 7 January 1945) - American Campaign Medal
Second Row - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (8) - World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp)
Third Row - National Defense Service Medal - Philippines Presidential Unit Citation - Philippines Liberation Medal (2)
Fourth Row - Korean Service Medal - United Nations Service Medal - Republic of Korea War Service Medal (retroactive)

Suamico Class Fleet Oiler:
  • Laid down, 27 September 1941, as SS Harlem Heights, a Maritime Commission type (T2-SE-A1) tanker hull under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 319) at Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Chester, PA.
  • Launched, 30 May 1942
  • Acquired by the US Navy from the Maritime Commission, 27 June 1942
  • Commissioned USS Suamico (AO-49), 10 August 1942. CDR. Ralph E. Butterfield in command
  • During WWII USS Suamico was assigned to Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following campaigns:

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Consolidation of the Solomon Islands
    Consolidation of southern Solomons, 18 March 1943
    Leyte operation
    Leyte landings, 18 October to 29 December 1944
    Gilbert Islands operation, 20 November to 7 December 1943 Luzon operation
    Lingayen Gulf landings, 4 January 1945
    Marshall Islands operation
    Occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls, 29 January to 8 February 1944
    Iwo Jima operation
    Assault and occupation of Iwo Jima, 15 to 25 February 1945
    Marianas operation
    Capture and occupation of Saipan, 11 June to 10 August 1944
    Okinawa Gunto operation
    Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto, 24 March to 30 June 1945
    5th and 3d Fleet raids in support of Okinawa Gunto operation, 2 April to 29 May 1945

  • Following World War II USS Suamico was assigned Occupation service in the Far East from 2 September to 28 November 1945
  • Decommissioned, 20 January 1946
  • Struck from the Naval Register, date unknown
  • Transferred to the Maritime Commission, 4 October 1946, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, name reverted to SS Harlem Heights
  • Leased to American Pacific Steamship Co., 23 January 1948
  • Reacquired by the US Navy, 23 January 1948, assigned to the Naval Transportation Service (NTS) to be operated under contract by American Pacific Steamship Co.
  • Transferred to the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS), 1 October 1949 and placed in service as USNS Suamico (T-AO-49)
  • Placed out of service, date unknown
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 15 November 1974
  • USS Suamico earned eight battle stars for World War II service
  • Returned, 22 January 1975, to the Maritime Administration (MARAD) sold the same day to Fuji Marden & Co., Hong Kong, BCC
  • Final Disposition, 13 February 1975, delivered to a breakers yard at Yokohama, Japan for dismantling
    Displacement 5,782 t.(lt) 22,380 t.(fl)
    Length 523' 6"
    Beam 68'
    Draft 30' 10" (lim)
    Speed 15.1 kts. (trial)
    Officers 23
    Enlisted 325
    Largest Boom Capacity 7 t.
    two single 5"/38 cal dual purpose gun mount
    four single 3"/50 cal dual purpose gun mounts
    four twin 20mm AA gun mounts
    Cargo Capacity NSFO 15,300 DWT
    Oil 120,400 Bbls
    Gasoline 575,000 Gals
    Fuel Capacity 9,235 Bbls
    one General Electric turbo-electric engine
    two Babcock and Wilcox header-type boilers, 450psi 750°
    Ship's Service Generators
    two turbo-drive 400Kw 450V A.C.
    two turbo-drive 85Kw 120V D.C.
    two turbo-drive 55Kw 120V D.C.
    one turbo-drive 450Kw 450V D.C.
    single propeller, 6,000shp

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    Size Image Description Source
    USS Suamico (AO-49)
    Suamico - The Suamico River is a river in north east Wisconsin that flows through the village of Suamico and into Green Bay in Lake Michigan. The source is near the community of Anston, in the town of Pittsfield. The river has been dredged by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to aid in recreational activity. ©Wikipedia
    Photo - Big Suamico River, Wisconsin, US Army Corps of Engineers photo.
    Tommy Trampp
    Suamico 73k USS Suamico (AO-49) at anchor near New York Navy Yard, 22 August 1942.
    US Navy photo courtesy Auke Visser's Famous T - Tankers Pages.
    Robert Hurst
    Suamico 72k USS Suamico (AO-49) at anchor in October 1942, location unknown. She is painted in camouflage scheme 12(modified).
    US Navy photo from "Gray Steel and Black Oil: Fast Tankers and Replenishment at Sea in the U.S. Navy 1912-1992", by Thomas Wildenburg
    Robert Hurst
    Suamico 133k USS Suamico (AO-49) at anchor, date and location unknown. She is painted in camouflage scheme 12(modified).
    National Archives, College Park, Record Group 313, US Navy CINCPAC Confidential Files 1943-45 a US Navy Bureau of Ships photo now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    Tracy White
    Suamico 115k Forward plan view of USS Suamico (AO-49) moored at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., 31 July 1943. On the left is USS Alchiba (AKA 6).
    Navy Yard Mare Island photo # 5548.
    Darryl Baker
    Suamico 65k Stern view of USS Suamico (AO-49) off Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., 31 July 1943.
    Navy Yard Mare Island photo # 5549.
    Darryl Baker
    Suamico 66k Broadside view of USS Suamico (AO-49) off Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., 31 July 1943. Suamico was in overhaul at Mare Island from 22 July until 31 July 1943.
    Navy Yard Mare Island photo # 5551.
    Darryl Baker
    99k USS Suamico (AO-49) at anchor in a forward anchorage in 1944. Photo from USS John Rogers (DD-574).
    Photo by Squad Dog 25's photographer Bob Lehman.
    John Chiquoine
    Suamico 457k Starboard bow view of USS Suamico (AO-49) underway in San Pedro Bay, CA., 18 September 1944. Suamico has been repainted in camouflage scheme 32/6AO. Design 6AO featured an unusual “sawtooth” edge, as seen here on one of the forward superstructure panels. US National Archives, Photo No. 19-LCM-AO49-2 Mike Green
    Suamico 119k USS Suamico (AO-49) underway, date and location unknown. Her camouflage is measure 32 design 7AO.
    US Navy photo courtesy Auke Visser's Famous T - Tankers Pages.
    Robert Hurst
    USNS Suamico (T-AO-49)
    Suamico 47k USNS Suamico (T-AO-49) underway, date and location unknown. While assigned to MSTS Suamico was used for point to point transportation of oil, note that she does not have the underway refreshment rig shown in her earlier photos. Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    Suamico 37k USNS Suamico (T-AO-49) underway bound for Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba with a load of potable water, date unknown.
    US Navy photo from "All Hands" magazine, May 1964
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.

    USS Suamico (AO-49) / USNS Suamico (T-AO-49)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CDR. Butterfield, Ralph Elmer, USN (USNA 1921-A) 10 August 1942 - 21 December 1943
    02CDR. Johnson, Arley Sidney, USN 21 December 1943 - 29 July 1945
    03LCDR. Bishopp, Newton C., USNR29 July 1945 - 20 January 1946
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    Fleet Tankers Association
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log
    MARAD Vessel History Database
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 7 May 2021