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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

USNS Cowanesque (T-AOT-79)
USNS Cowanesque (AO-79) (1949)
Cowanesque (AO-79) (1948 - 1949)
USS Cowanesque (AO-79) (1943 - 1946)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Kilo - Hotel - Quebec
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (3 Jan 45) - American Campaign Medal
Second Row - Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal (1) - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (1) - World War II Victory Medal
Third Row - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp) - National Defense Service Medal - Philippines Liberation Medal

Personnel Awards

Purple Heart (2-KIA, 2WIA 3 January 1945)
Suamico Class Fleet Oiler:
  • Laid down, 23 November 1942, as Fort Duquesne, a Maritime Commission type (T2-SE-A1) tanker hull under a Maritime Commission contract at Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock, Chester, PA.
  • Launched, 11 March 1943
  • Acquired by the Navy 25 March 1943
  • Commissioned USS Cowanesque (AO-79), 1 May 1943, CAPT. Lester S. McKenzie, USNR in command
  • During World War II USS Cowanesque was assigned to both the Europe-Africa-Middle East and Asiatic-Pacific Theaters and participated in the following campaigns;

    Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaign
    Invasion of southern France, 15 August to 25 September 1944 5th and 3d Fleet raids in support of Okinawa Gunto operation, 20 March to 11 June 1945

  • Following World War II USS Cowanesque was assigned to Occupation service in the Far East from 2 September to 28 October 1945
  • Decommissioned, 30 January 1946, at Richmond, CA.
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 25 February 1946
  • Transferred to the Maritime Commission for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, Benecia, CA., 30 June 1946
  • Reacquired and reinstated in the Naval Register, 18 January 1948
  • Placed in service with the Naval Transportation Service (NTS) as Cowanesque (AO-79)
  • Transferred to the custody of the Military Sea Transportation Service, 1 October 1949 and placed in service as USNS Cowanesque (T-AO-79)
  • Reclassified Transport Oiler (T-AOT-79), date unknown
  • Placed out of service and struck from the Naval Register, date unknown
  • USS Cowanesque earned two battle stars for World War II service
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 24 July 1972, while moored at Sasebo, Japan, to Great China Steel Enterprise, Ltd, Taiwan, under MARAD contract PD-X-941 for $275,000.00
    Displacement 5,782 t.(lt) 22,380 t.(lim)
    Length 520'
    Beam 68'
    Draft 30' 10" (lim)
    Speed 15.3 kts. (trial)
    Officers 21
    Enlisted 209
    one single 5"/38 dual purpose gun mount
    four single 3"/50 dual purpose gun mounts
    four twin 40mm AA gun mounts
    four twin 20mm AA gun mounts
    Largest boom capacity> 10 tons
    Fuel Capacity 9,235 Bbls NSFO
    Cargo Capacity
    Oil 120,000 Bbls
    Gasoline 575.000 Gals
    one General Electric turbo-electric engine
    two Babcock & Wilcox header type boilers 450psi 730°
    Ship's Service Generators
    two turbo-drive 400Kw 450V A.C.
    one turbo-drive 28Kw 120V D.C.
    two turbo-drive 110Kw 120V D.C.
    one turbo-drive 50Kw 120V D.C.
    single screw. 8,000hp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    USS Cowanesque (AO-79)
    Cowanesque 71k USS Cowanesque (AO-79) underway near Baltimore, MD., 6 May 1943, after completing conversion for naval service there.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command, Photo # 19-N-44409 a US Navy Bureau of Ships photo now in the collections of the US Naval History and Heritage Command, courtesy
    Mike Green
    Cowanesque 68k USS Cowanesque (AO-79) at anchor, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo
    Lee Yunker for her father Harold C. Smith
    USNS Cowanesque (T-AO-79)
    Cowanesque 98k USS Cowanesque (T-AO-79) at anchor, date and location unknown.
    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command, Photo No. None, courtesy
    Mike Green

    USS Cowanesque (AO-79)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CAPT. McKenzie, Lester Sidell, USNR1 May 1943 - August 1945
    02LCDR. Turpin, Edward AllenAugust 1945 - 20 December 1945
    03LT. Peeler, Herbert Thomas, USNR20 December 1945 - 30 January 1946
    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 Back To The Transport Oiler (AOT) Photo Index
    Comments, Suggestions, E-mail Webmaster.
    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 5 October 2016