USS Ashtabula

Ashtabula History

Naval Vessel Register

One of Eight


Ashtabula (AO-51) after Jumboization, 1968

Ed Benningfield GMG1 USNR Ret, USS Ashtabula 1968-70

Descriptiom is below poem

"The Mighty A"

The history of a Navy ship, is known to but a precious few,

Most of us take it in passing, but most of us weren't crew.

For this particular ship, her career would not mean much,
Unless you had walked her decks, and felt her tender touch.

 An oiler of the fleet, not known to great acclaim,
With the name of ASHTABULA, a river of Ohio fame.

Built to serve the fleet, and commissioned in '43,
She'd never be the star, among the warriors of the sea.

These are the first four phrases of a poem written by
OSCM(SW) Rick Dillard, USN

Rick was in charge of coordinating this SINKEX event
the last time he was in Frisco where ex-ASHTABULA (AO-51)
was being towed out to sea, stern first.
He wrote about this exercise with through poem.

Go To: The Poem in Total


Ashtabula is the name of a river in Ohio.

(AO-51: dp. 7236; l. 553'; b. 75'; dr. 32'4"; s. 18.3 kts.; cpl. 298; a. 1 5", 4 3"; cl. Cimarron)

    Ashtabula (AO-51) was launched 22 May 1943 by Bethlehem-Sparrows Point Shipyard., Inc., Sparrows Point, Md., under a Maritime Commission contract; sponsored by Mrs. Adolf Berle; transferred to the Navy 7 August 1943; commissioned the same day, Commander L.J. Modave, USNR, in command; and reported to Service Squadron 8, Pacific Fleet.
    Assigned to "at sea" fueling duty, Astabula served with the logistic support forces for the  fast carrier task forces. She supported them during operations in the in the Marshall Islands (29 January-8 February 1944), Marianas (11-27 June), and at Leyte (22-28 October). During the Leyte landings 24  October 1944, she was damaged by a Japanese torpedo. Although there were no personnel casualties, and she completed her mission, the structural damage she incurred necessitated her return to San Pedro, Calif., for repairs (17 December 1944-26 January 1945).

    In February 1945 Ashtabula reported to Service Squadron 10 and throughout the remainder of the war she participated in the 3d and 5th Fleet raids in support of the Okinawa operation (16 March-13 June 1945) and the 3d Fleet operations against Japan (10 July-14 August).
    Ashtabula has operated in logistic support of the Pacific Fleet since 1945. During the Korean conflict, she served under the operational control of Commander, Service Squadron 3 and TG 79.1 while refueling fleet units off Korea (8 December 1950- 25 May 1951, 12 October 1951-18 January 1952, 29 February-24 March 1952, and 24 October 1952-23 May 1953)

    Ashtabula  has received five battle stars for her service in the Pacific during World War II and four battle stars for her Korean service.

Further information received on November 1, 2016, SEARCHED OUT by NAVSOURCE:
Ashtabula was sold to Pacific Rim Metals Corp., Issaquah, WA. on 25 October 1995.
She was removed from Mare Island on 7 December 1995 by company tugs.
On 28 September, 1999 the scrapping contract was terminated by default.
About 6 October, 1999, Ashtabula was towed back to Mare Island.

Ribbon Description
Top Row - Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation - American Campaign Medal
Second Row - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (5) - World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp)
Third Row - National Defense Service Medal - Korean Service Medal (4) - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (4-Quemoy-Matsu, 9-Vietnam, 1-Korea, 1 Op. Frequent Wind)
Fourth Row - Vietnam Service Medal (7) - Humanitarian Service Medal (1-Frequent Wind, 1-Snowgo, New York) - Philippines Liberation Medal
Fifth Row - United Nations Service Medal - Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal - Republic of Korea War Service Medal (retroactive)

Ex-Ashtabula as target ship.
In all, Ashtabula was subjected to eight Harpoon missiles, two standard (SM-2) missiles,
three Sea Skua missiles, four bombs from S-3 Vikings, and over 100 rounds of gunfire from 3", 100mm, and 5" guns.
Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret

Despite the terrific pounding she suffered from a force of seven US, British and French ships on October 14th,
ex Ashtabula remained afloat the next day. She was finally sent to the bottom by demolition charges.
The frigate in the background is Thach (FFG 43).

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