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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski

Contributed by Al Grazevich

USS Nantahala (AO-60)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Zulu - Romeo - Uniform
JANAP Tactical Voice Radio Call Sign - Killer (Y)ankee - Section 6A of JANAP 119(F) 1968

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - China Service Medal (extended)
Second Row - American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (6) - World War II Victory Medal
Bottom Row - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia or Europe clasp) - National Defense Service Medal - Philippines Liberation Medal (2)

Cimarron/Ashtabula Class Fleet Oiler
  • Laid down, 31 October 1943, as a Maritime Commission type (T3-S2-A2) hull under Maritime Commission contract (MC 726) at Bethlehem Steel Shipyard, Sparrows Point, MD.
  • Launched, 29 April 1944
  • Commissioned USS Nantahala (AO-60), 19 June 1944, CDR. Palmer M. Gunnell in command
  • During WWII USS Nantahala was assigned to Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following campaigns:

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Western Caroline Islands operation
    Assaults on the Philippine Islands, 9 to 24 September 1944
    Iwo Jima operations
    Assault and occupation of Iwo Jima, 15 February to 7 March 1945
    Leyte operations
    Luzon attacks, 13 to 14 November and 14 to 15 December 1944
    Okinawa Gunto operations
    5th and 3d Fleet raids in support of Okinawa Gunto, 23 February to 29 May 1945
    Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto, 24 March to 30 June 1945
    Luzon operations
    Luzon attacks, 6 to 7 January 1945
    Formosa attacks, 9 and 15 January 1945
    China Coast attacks, 12 and 16 January 1945
    3rd Fleet operation against Japan, 10 July to 14 August 1945

  • Decommissioned, 1 June 1950, at San Diego, CA.
  • Laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet
  • Withdrawn from reserve and recommissioned, 29 December 1950, at Long Beach, CA., CDR. W. S. Howell in command
  • USS Nantahala was assigned to Occupation and China service in the Far East and Occupation service in Europe for the following periods:

    Navy Occupation Service Medal

    China Service Medal (extended)
    Asia - 2 to 28 September 194521 April to 5 May 1946
    Asia - 14 February to 20 April 194615 to 26 August 1946
    Asia - 21 April to 5 May 194624 December 1945 to 25 January 1946
    Asia - 6 to 15 May 1946 
    Asia - 6 July to 13 August 1946 
    Asia - 23 to 25 November 1946 
    Asia - 7 to 19 December 1946 
    Asia - 8 to 14 March 1947 
    Europe - 14 March 1951 to 16 June 1952 
    Europe - 28 May to 16 October 1953  
    Europe - 26 October 1954 to 28 January 1955 

  • Decommissioned, 7 February 1973
  • Struck from the Naval Register. 2 July 1973
  • USS Nantahala earned six battle stars for World War II service
  • Transferred to the Maritime Administration (MARAD) for disposal
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping 5 March 1975 to Union Minerals & Alloys Corp. for $353,166.66 (PD-X-993 dated 24 January 1975)
    Displacement 7,236 t.(lt) 25,440 t.(fl)
    Length 553'
    Beam 75'
    Draft 32'
    Speed 18.3 kts (trial)
    Officers 29
    Enlisted 343
    Largest Boom Capacity 10 t.
    one single 5"/38 cal dual purpose gun mount
    four single 3"/50 cal dual purpose gun mounts
    four twin 40mm AA gun mounts
    four twin 20mm AA gun mounts
    Cargo Capacity 16,500 DWT
    Oil 123,700 Bbls
    Gasoline 788,000 Gals
    Fuel Capacity NSFO 15,000 Bbls
    two Bethlehem Shipbuilding geared turbines
    four Foster & Wheeler K-type boilers, 450psi 750°
    double Falk Main Reduction Gears
    Ship's Service Generators
    two turbo-drive 400Kw 230V A.C.
    one Diesel-drive 150Kw 230V A.C.
    twin propellers, 13,500shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    Nantahala 216k USS Nantahala (AO-60) in World War II camouflage paint, date and location unknown. David Buell
    Nantahala 28k USS Nantahala (AO-60) refueling HMCS Magnificent (CVL-21) off Newfoundland, Canada, 13 September 1955. Tommy Trampp
    Nantahala 26k
    Starboard 3"/50 gun mount
    27k Views of USS Nantahala (AO-60) guns and main deck while moored at the Navy's Fuel Terminal, Craney Island, Hampton Roads, VA., 30 April 1955. Tommy Trampp
    Main deck looking forward
    Stern twin 40mm gun mount
    Nantahala 46k One of USS Nantahala (AO-60)'s launches swamped after being battered by a severe storm, 17 April 1956, location unknown. Tommy Trampp
    Nantahala 159k USS Nantahala (AO-60) refueling USS Forrestal (CVA-59) in the Atlantic, during NATO Exercise "Strikeback" on 22 September 1957. Note the various items on the oiler's cargo deck, among them a Jeep and a pickup truck. Photographed from USS Northampton (CLC-1).
    US Navy photo # NH 105338 from the collections of the US Naval History and Heritage Command.
    Robert Hurst
    Nantahala 71k USS Nantahala (AO-60) replenishing USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) and a destroyer in 1958.
    US Navy photo by Jim Mulligan, USN.
    Robert Hurst
    Nantahala 733k USS Nantahala (AO-60) conducting a replenishment at sea. The helicopter is a Piasecki HUP-25 Retriever (Piasecki became Vertol Aircraft Corp. in 1956, bought by Boeing in 1960). The color scheme indicates that this is a helicopter from Helicopter Utility Squadron HU-2 "Fleet Angels" squadron, in the very late 50s or very early 60s--if in the 50s, the helo would probably be an HUP-2 variant; if in the 60s, probably an HUP-3. The HUP became UH-25 under the 1962 designation system. the photo was taken from either USS Eugene A. Greene (DD-711) or USS Newman K. Perry (DDR-883). Dave Good
    Nantahala 90k USS Nantahala (AO-60) under way in Chesapeake Bay, August 1964. ©Richard Leonhardt
    Nantahala 66k USS Nantahala (AO-60) under way in 1964 after being jumboized.
    US Navy photo
    Robert Hurst
    Nantahala 73k USS Nantahala (AO-60) refueling USS Steinaker (DD-863) in the Mediterranean Sea. Photo was taken from USS Wallace L Lind (DD-703). Photo by Jim McCoy
    Nantahala 71k USS Nantahala (AO-60) entering Malta Harbor, 1970 Photo by local photographer
    Submitted by Robert Warnke, SN, USS Nantahala May 1969 to February 1973
    Nantahala 55k USS Nantahala (AO-60) at anchor, date and location unknown Tommy Trampp
    Nantahala 83k USS Nantahala (AO-60) at anchor, date and location unknown Richard Miller BMCS USNR Ret.
    Nantahala 192k USS Nantahala (AO-60) moored to a buoy, date and location unknown Brian Miller
    Nantahala 226k USS Nantahala (AO-60) underway in Hampton Roads, date unknown, inbound to Norfolk, VA. Note the battleship in the background. Mike Smolinski
    219k USS Nantahala (AO-60) underway, date and location unknown. Nicholas Tiberio

    USS Nantahala
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CAPT. Gunnell, Palmer, MacKenzie19 June 1944 - 8 February 1945
    02CDR. Larsen, Arthur Charles, USNR8 February 1945 - December 1945
    03LT. Monjon, Raymond J., USNRDecember 1945 - January 1946
    04CAPT. Johnson, Milton GeorgeJanuary 1946 - May 1947
    05CAPT. Camp, Floyd CharlesMay 1947 - August 1948
    06CAPT. Carey, Joseph JamesAugust 1948 - July 1949
    07CAPT. Warburton, Audley Lyne :RADMJuly 1949 - February 1950
    08LCDR. Hemming Leland AlfredFebruary 1950 - 1 June 1950
     Decommissioned1 June 1950 - 29 December 1950
    09CAPT. CAPT. Howell, William Smith29 December 1950 - January 1952
    10CDR. Lee, Robert MatthewsJanuary 1952 - August 1953
    11CDR. Lynch, Richard Barr (Ozzie) :RADMAugust 1953 - July 1954
    12CAPT. Lautrup Jr., George WilliamJuly 1954 - 15 August 1955
    13CAPT. Ward, Norvell Gardiner (Bud) :RADM15 August 1955 - 9 July 1956
    14CAPT. Roenigk, John George9 July 1956 - 8 July 1957
    15CAPT. Coley, Charles Coston8 July 1957 - 16 July 1958
    16CAPT. Gumz, Donald George16 July 1958 - September 1959
    17CAPT. Cousins, Ralph Wynne :ADMSeptember 1959 - May 1960
    18CAPT. Johnson, Arthur FerdinandMay 1960 - 10 May 1961
    19CAPT. Morgan, Robert James10 May 1961 - 10 May 1962
    20CAPT. Engle, Aubrey Delos10 May 1962 - 29 May 1963
    21CAPT. Elliott Jr., August William (Bill) 29 May 1963 - 28 May 1964
    22CAPT. McLaughlin, John, USN28 May 1964 - 9 June 1965
    23CAPT. Mayo, James Otis, USNR (USNA 1943):RADM9 June 1965 - July 1966
    24CAPT. Bohan, Norman ChaffeeJuly 1966 - 8 January 1968
    25CAPT. Callaway Jr., Steven Ward8 January 1968 - February 1969
    26CAPT. Moore, Charles KittelleFebruary 1969 - November 1969
    27CAPT. Brady Jr., Robert Louis, USN (USNA 1946)November 1969 - April 1971
    28CAPT. Stone, Troy Edward, USN (USNA 1948-A)April 1971 - June 1972
    29CDR. Janes Jr., William Eastman, USNJune 1972 - March 1973
    30LCDR. Horsch, Arthur RichardMarch 1973 - 2 July 1973
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

    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 30 June 2023