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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

Contributed by Don McGrogan BMCS USN (Ret.) - Popular Patch

USS Vestal (AR-4)
USS Vestal (Repair Ship #4) (1913 - 1920)
Vestal (Collier #1) (1909 - 1913)

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

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive) - Mexican Service Medal - China Service Medal (extended)
Second Row - World War I Victory Medal - American Defense Service Medal (with Fleet clasp) - American Campaign Medal
Third Row - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (2) - World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp)

Individual Awards

The Commanding Officer of Vestal at Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941, CDR. C. Young, was awarded the Medal of Honor
Purple Heart - 7 December 1941, KIA-9, MIA-7, WIA-19)
Members of the Repair Department that proceeded to sea in Saratoga (CV-3) before her
repairs were completed were awarded the Navy Unit Commendation along with the Saratoga crew.

Vestal Class Collier/Repair Ship:
  • Laid down, 25 March 1907, at New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn N.Y.
  • Launched, 19 May 1908
  • Placed in service, 4 October 1909 as Vestal (Collier #1), MASTER Francis N. LeCain (Naval Auxiliary Service) in command
  • Placed out of service, 25 October 1912 at Boston Navy Yard for conversion to a Repair Ship
  • Commissioned USS Vestal (Fleet Repair Ship #4), 3 September 1913, CDR. Edward L. Beach in command
  • Designated (AR-4), 17 July 1920
  • During WWII USS Vestal was assigned to Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following campaigns:

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Pearl Harbor-Midway, 7 December 1941 Okinawa Gunto operation, 23 April to 30 June 1945

  • Following World War II USS Vestal was assigned to Occupation and China service in the Far East for the following periods:

    Navy Occupation Service Medal

    China Service Medal (extended)
    2 September to 2 December 19453 December 1945 to 21 April 1946

  • Decommissioned, 14 August 1946, at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, WA.
  • Laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 25 September 1946
  • USS Vestal earned two battle stars for her World War II service
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 19 July 1950, to Boston Metals Co., Baltimore MD., (PD-X-498 of 19 July 1950) for $76,266.00, withdrawn 28 July 1950, scrapping competed, 15 January 1951
    Displacement 9,789 t.(fl)
    Length 465' 9"
    Beam 60' 2"
    Draft 26' (mean), 36' 6" (max.)
    Speed 16 kts.
    (AC) 90
    Officers 35
    Enlisted 748
    Largest Boom Capacity 20 t.
    (AC) none
    three single 3"/50 cal. dual purpose gun mounts
    two twin 40mm AA gun mounts
    Fuel Capacity
    NSFO 6,500 Bbls
    two New York Navy Yard vertical triple-expansion reciprocating steam engine
    three White-Forester boilers, 200psi, °Sat (coal fired boilers, converted to oil)
    three turbo-drive 300Kw 120V/240V D.C. Ship's Service Generators
    two propellers, 7,500shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    Vestal Collier #1
    Vestal 24k
    Vestal in ancient Rome, the Vestals or Vestal Virgins were priestesses of Vesta, goddess of the hearth. The College of the Vestals and its well-being were regarded as fundamental to the continuance and security of Rome. They cultivated the sacred fire that was not allowed to go out. The Vestals were freed of the usual social obligations to marry and bear children and took a 30-year vow of chastity in order to devote themselves to the study and correct observance of state rituals that were forbidden to the colleges of male priests. (Wikipedia)
    Tommy Trampp
    Vestal 130k Vestal (Collier #1) being constructed at the New York Navy Yard in early 1908.
    Library of Congress, LC-B22-320-1
    Mike Green
    Vestal 263k Christening and launch of Vestal (Collier #1). Miss Goodrich, ship's sponsor, breaking the traditional bottle of champagne across the bow of the ship at New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N.Y. on 19 May 1908.
    Digital ID: ggbain 00449. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
    Bill Gonyo
    Vestal 193k Vestal (Collier #1) slides down the building ways at New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N.Y. on 19 May 1908, after Christening.
    Digital ID: ggbain.oo456. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
    Bill Gonyo
    Vestal 183k General Frederick Dent Grant, son of Ulysses S. Grant, and others at launch of Vestal (Collier #1), Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York 19 May 1908. The commanding officer CDR. Edward Latimer Beach, Sr. stands to the left of General Grant during the ceremonies. Tommy Tramp
    Vestal 90k Vestal (Collier #1) photographed circa 1909-1912, while serving as a fleet collier prior to conversion to a repair ship.
    US Navy photo # NH 43620 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation -- Collection of Admiral Hilary P. Jones.
    Robert Hurst
    Vestal 34k Vestal (Collier #1) date and location unknown. Photo from "Jane's Fighting Ships 1914." Robert Hurst
    USS Vestal Repair Ship No. 4 / AR-4
    Vestal 84k USS Vestal (Repair Ship #4) anchored off New York City, circa 17-20 December 1918, while still painted in World War I disruptive camouflage. Ship in the distance, beyond USS Vestal's stern, is USS Iowa (BB-4)
    US Navy photo # NH 43622 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Vestal 115k View of the harbor at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba with battleships, destroyers and auxiliaries of the U.S. Fleet present, circa 1922. Ship in center is USS Vestal (AR-4). In the right distance is USS Columbia (AG-9), the Fleet's administrative flagship.
    US Navy photo # NH 83740 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation -- Collection of Admiral Hilary P. Jones.
    Robert Hurst
    Vestal 87k USS Vestal (AR-4) photographed circa early 1920s.
    Photo from collection of the New York Naval Shipyard.
    US Navy photo # NH 43621 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center
    US Naval Historical Center
    Vestal 48k USS Vestal (AR-4) at anchor location unknown, circa the mid-1920s. An Omaha class light cruiser is in the left background. The original image is printed on postcard stock
    US Navy photo # NH 105412, donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2007.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Vestal 98k USS Vestal (AR-4) crew photo, circa 1920s.  
    Vestal 130k USS Vestal (AR-4) with six destroyers alongside, during the later 1920s. Outboard destroyer is USS Sands (DD-243). Next inboard is USS Hatfield (DD-231). Two of the other destroyers present are also of the group (DD-231--235) armed with 5"/51 guns, which can be seen on the ships' fantails.
    Photo from collection of Vice Admiral Dixwell Ketcham.
    US Navy photo # NH100533 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Vestal 133k USS Vestal (AR-4) underway, circa 1935, location unknown.
    US Navy photo.
    Jim Kurrasch
    Battleship Iowa Pacific Battleship Center
    Vestal 40k USS Vestal (AR-4) underway, circa 1939, location unknown. Robert Hurst
    Vestal 127k View taken from USS Houston (CA-30) in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 20 February 1939, shows the USS Vestal (AR-4) crew manning the rail in honor of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was then embarked in USS Houston (CA-30).
    US Navy photo # NH50272 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Vestal 91k USS Vestal (AR-4) Repair Department, 5B Division (Blacksmith Shop) circa 1940.
    First row Chief Petty Officers Left to Right: Chief Metalsmith Spiedell, Coordinator of Division, Chief Metalsmith Sheedman, in charge of Foundry. Chief Boilerman Ford, 3rd Chief in Boiler Shop. Lieutenant Bowling, Division Officer, Chief Pattternmaker Spicer, in charge of Patternmaking Shop, Chief Boilerman Roberts, in charge of Boiler Shop and Chief Boilerman Ptak, 2nd Chief of Boiler Shop, Chief Metalsmith Furkman, in charge of Blacksmith Shop. Blacksmith Shop Personnel 1st row last man Haskett, 1st Class Metalsmith; 2nd row 1st man Stocker, 1st Class Fireman, 2nd man Studyvin, 3rd Class Fireman, last man Murphy, 2nd Class Fireman; 3rd row, 6th man Radley, 2nd Class Fireman, 11th man Wickes, 3rd Class Fireman, last man Kerstinen, 1st Class Metalsmith; 4th row first man O'Donnell, 1st Class Metalsmith, 10th man Thomas, 1st Class Metalsmith
    Elizabeth Radley for her father Legrand Hughes Radley, third row from the bottom, 6th man in from the left.
    Vestal 76k USS Vestal (AR-4) beached on Aiea shoal, Pearl Harbor, after the 7 December 1941 Japanese raid. She is listing from damage caused by two bombs that hit her during the attack.
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-19933, a US Navy photo now in the collections of the US National Archives
    US Naval Historical Center
    Vestal 102k USS Vestal (AR-4) after she was beached in Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941. She had been damaged by Japanese bomb hits during the raid. An Officers' Motor Boat is alongside her starboard quarter.
    US Navy photo # NH 64480 from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Vestal 62k USS Vestal (AR-4) moored at Pearl Harbor, T.H., circa 1942, following repair of damage she received in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
    US Navy photo # NH97405 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Ballard 200k From bottom to top; USS Ballard (AVD-10), USS Hammondsport (APV-2), USS Vestal (AR-4) and a garbage lighter (YG) surrounded by anti-submarine nets at Pearl Harbor, 12 July 1942.
    US Navy photo # NH 84001, courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, Forrestal Collection
    US Naval Historical Center
    Vestal 33k USS Vestal (AR-4) under way, date and location unknown. Hyperwar, US Navy in WWII
    131k USS Pensacola (CA-24) alongside USS Vestal (AR-4), undergoing repair of torpedo damage received during the Battle of Tassafaronga, off Guadalcanal on 30 November 1942. Note the hole in her side below the mainmast, and the extensive fire damage in the area of that mast and the number three eight-inch gun turret. Photographed at Espirito Santo, New Hebrides, on 17 December 1942.
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-33862, a US Navy photo now in the collections of the US National Archives
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Vestal 61k USS Vestal (AR-4) under way, 26 June 1943. Original 5/51 SP armament has been removed and replaced by light AA weapons.
    Australian War Memorial, Photo No. 302765
    Mike Green
    Vestal 112k USS St. Louis (CL-49) coming alongside USS Vestal (AR-4) at Tulagi, Solomon Islands, circa 20 July 1943. USS Vestal conducted initial repair of torpedo damage received by St. Louis during the Battle of Kolombangara, 13 July 1943.
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-258905 a US Navy photo now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Vestal 118k USS Vestal (AR-4) departing Mare Island Navy Yard, 8 September 1944, after receiving alterations there to prepare her for duty at Ulithi. The main alteration was the filling in of her well deck forward. The disruptive pattern camouflage may be the variant of Measure 31 that used green paints.
    US National Archives, RG-19-LCM, Photo No. 19-N-71579 a US Navy Bureau of Ships photo now in the collections of the US National Archives, courtesy
    Mike Green
    Vestal 94k USS Washington (BB-56) alongside USS Vestal (AR-4) for initial repairs, after colliding with USS Indiana (BB-58) during the Marshall Islands operation on 1 February 1944
    US Navy photo # NH 68352 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Vestal 24k USS Vestal (AR-4) with USS Washington (BB-56) alongside at Majuro atoll in the Marshal Islands, February 1944. .
    Vestal 92k USS Vestal (AR-4) with USS Blue (DD-387) alongside, date and location unknown. Clint Wingrove
    Pelias 477k USS Vestal (AR-4) on the (north side) of the pier across from USS Pelias (AS-14) at Mare Island Navy Yard, 13 August 1944 while undergoing repair and modification. YD-98 and the a small portion of YD-84 are seen at the opposite pier (south side).
    File name: AS 14 5204-44, Navy Photo, 8/13/44.
    Darryl Baker
    Vestal 140k Amidships looking forward plan view of USS Vestal (AR-4) at Navy Yard Mare Island, 20 August 1944, during inclining experiments. USS Vestal was at Mare Island for overhaul from 2 July until 8 September 1944. USS Baltimore (CA-68) is in the background.
    Navy Yard Mare Island photo # 5317-44.
    Darryl Baker
    Vestal 121k Aft plan view of USS Vestal (AR-4) at Navy Yard Mare Island, 20 August 1944, during inclining experiments. USS Vestal was at Mare Island for overhaul from 2 July until 8 September 1944. USS Baltimore (CA-68) is in the background with YD-98 alongside.
    Navy Yard Mare Island photo # 5320-44.
    Darryl Baker
    373k U.S. Marines, assigned to Marine Aircraft Group Two Four (MAG-24), stand at parade rest prior to a twenty-one gun salute on the USS Vestal (AR-4) mooring quay. Vestal was moored outboard of the battleship USS Arizona (BB-39) during the attack on Pearl Harbor. She was hit by two bombs and further damaged when Arizona's forward magazines exploded. Repaired over the next few months, she was transferred to the South Pacific in August 1942, where she mended many combat-damaged ships during the difficult times of the Guadalcanal and Central Solomons campaigns. More than 200 distinguished visitors and Pearl Harbor survivors attended the ceremony, which included the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93) rendering honors, more than 40 wreath presentations, a 21-gun salute, and a missing man flyover.
    US Navy photo # 041207-N-6775N-102 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (Dec. 7, 2004) by PH2 Justin P. Nesbitt
    Yu Chu
    178k Brass ship's bell from the repair ship USS Vestal. Bell is engraved in between concentric circles "U.S.S. Vestal/1908/Navy Yard N.Y." Interior is painted red with flaking of paint throughout. Location, Headquarters Artifact Collection, Naval History and Heritage Command.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Accession #: NHHC 1946-315-B
    Yu Chu
    36k A Japanese bomb fragment from the 7 December 1941 Pearl Harbor attack, recovered from USS Vestal (AR-4). Yu Chu

    USS Vestal (Collier No. 1) (Repair Ship No. 4) (AR-4)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    02MASTER, LeCain, Francis Norman (Naval Auxiliary Service)4 October 1909 - 2 May 1910Collier #1
    02MASTER, Merithew, Jeremy (Naval Auxiliary Service)2 May 1910 - 3 May 1911Collier #1
    03MASTER, Tilton, Charles Oscar (Naval Auxiliary Service)3 May 1911 - 25 October 1912Collier #1
     Out of Service25 October 1912 - 3 September 1913 
    04CDR. Beach Sr., Edward Latimer, USN (USNA 1888)3 September 1913 - 30 April 1914Repair Ship #4
    05CDR. Bennett, Ernest Linwood, USN (USNA 1894)30 April 1914 - 17 December 1914Repair Ship #4
    06CDR. Holmes, Urban Tignor, USN (USNA 1890)17 December 1914 - 18 December 1916Repair Ship #4
    07CDR. Klemann, John Valentine, USN (USNA 1895)18 December 1916 - 2 June 1917Repair Ship #4
    08CDR. Keyes, Raymond Steadman, USN (USNA 1901)25 May 1918 - 2 January 1919Repair Ship #4
    09CDR. Riddle, William King, USN (USNA 1900)2 January 1919 - 15 May 1919Repair Ship #4
    10CDR. Horne, Frederick Joseph, USN (USNA 1899) :ADM15 May 1919 - 1 June 1921Repair Ship #4
    11CAPT. Hyland, John Joseph, USN (USNA 1900)1 June 1921 - 5 June 1923Repair Ship #4
    12CAPT. Riddle, William King, USN (USNA 1900)5 June 1923 - 28 June 1925Repair Ship #4
    13CAPT. Tomb, William Victor, USN (USNA 1900)28 June 1925 - 1 January 1927AR-4
    14CAPT. Castleman, Kenneth Galleher, USN (USNA 1896)1 January 1927 - 6 September 1927AR-4
    15CAPT. Dowling, Otto Carl, USN (USNA 1902)6 September 1927 - 22 June 1929AR-4
    16CAPT. Van Auken, Wilbur Rice, USN (USNA 1903)22 June 1929 - 26 June 1931AR-4
    17CAPT. Deland, Harvey, USN (USNA 1906)26 June 1931 - 15 June 1932AR-4
    18CAPT. Gill, Charles Clifford, USN (USNA 1906)15 June 1932 - 26 June 1934AR-4
    19CAPT. Robinson, Clyde Russell, USN (USNA 1907)26 June 1934 - 12 June 1935AR-4
    20CDR. Train, Harold Cecil, USN (USNA 1909) :RADM12 June 1935 - 8 June 1936AR-4
    21CAPT. Coman, Robert Grimes, USN (USNA 1909)8 June 1936 - 31 May 1938AR-4
    22CAPT. Weyler, George Lester, USN (USNA 1910)31 May 1938 - 10 April 1939AR-4
    23CDR. Tisdale, Mahlon Street, USN (USNA 1912) :VADM10 April 1939 - 7 March 1940AR-4
    24CDR. Luker, Robert Philip, USN (USNA 1904)7 March 1940 - 10 October 1941AR-4
    25CDR. Young, Cassin, USN (USNA 1916)10 October 1941 - 19 January 1942AR-4
    26CDR. Singer, Watson Twitty, USN (USNA 1925)19 January 1942 - 22 May 1944AR-4
    27CAPT. Goode, Jesse Benjamin, USN (USNA 1920)22 May 1944 - 29 October 1944AR-4
    28CDR . Gambling, Norman William, USN (USNA 1933)29 October 1944 - 4 May 1945AR-4
    29CAPT. Pohl, Harold John, USN (USNA 1926)4 May 1945 - 14 March 1946AR-4
    30CDR. Smith, Cowain V., USN 14 March 1946 - 14 August 1946AR-4
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

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

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    Pearl Harbor Action Report

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    Last Updated 13 March 2020