DISPOSING of USS KAWISHIWI AO-146
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Most oiler sailors would love to see their oiler memorialized as a museum. It has been tried with little success, it just costs too much. There are two sections of our oiler that are really different from other auxiliary ships.
 1. The huge tanks and refueling rigs.
 2. The Kawishiwi has an added feature, a rear fueling rig.
 The central command area also has a couple interesting items.
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Here is a satellite view of our AO-143's as moored in Suisun Bay.


On the old Sand Point Navy Station on Lake Washington there is a proposal to create a Navy Support Museum.  It can be about every kind of support required to keep the war ships located in working condition, where they are needed. There is not many sites in the United States that memorialize military items other than actual fighting tools. If this museum can display and educate the public about how ships transfer supplies while they are in motion, it could then be called  a National Museum.


A model of the oiler AO-146 would be displayed among the actual devices of the ship cut away and displayed.

Click image for more detail

This proposal would like to suggest that the AO-143 class oilers still moored in Suisun Bay, be disposed of as planned, but while doing so, cut devices located in three sections (red-lined in image above) away and barge them to Sand Point. The 143's were the first oilers designed specifically to support a carrier task force. They were also the first streamlined oilers. The Kawishiwi has the distinct history of being the primary logistics ship supporting the recovery of Apollo 13 and the duty oiler supplying fuel for the evacuation of Saigon. Plus she was one of the first to pick up evacuees and take them to Subic Bay. View Kawishiwi Stories and AO-143 Class  VIDEOS AT SEA.

Creating a REEF with Kawishiwi would be great.


The devices that need to be memorialized for oilers are every item depicted in the diagram below. Setting this up in a museum would help describe to the public and maritime students, how the process is accomplished. The 143 class oilers have nearly all the 1960 type equipment that could be removed and place in a save storage as a museum is being developed.


The list of items above would include: (1) Large Steam Winch, (1) Small Steam Winch, a Ram Tensioned, The Large Outrigger,  (1) set of (2) Control Valves, (4) Hose Saddles, plus (1) Probe, and (1) Receiver, detailed right below tanks.


Another important section of an oiler are its large fuel tanks, detailed at right. The components to be memorialized here are, 1: The Valve Control, 2: The Long Reach Rods, 3: The Valve and Screen Covered Intake at the bottom ot each tank which the fuel is pumped through, 4: The Tank Access where crew menders enter the empty tanks to clean them. These tanks have little or no oxygen in them so each member who descends into the deep dark tank must wear oxygen equipment, and 5: A section of the grated deck would have been good to salvage because these 143 oilers were the first class to have the working deck completely covered with grating instead of narrow walk ways, but the grating did not work well and was replaced with solid decking.


Each UNREP rig has a control station such as that shown in the photo below. One of the stations need to be recovered with the control levers and valves.










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Perhaps the most simple section to cut is the after framing that originally supported 3 in gun implements. What we are after here is the starboard  rig that was used to refuel ships following Kawishiwi. This way more ships could be accommodated at one time. See photo left.


When the 143's were constructed, they were heavily armed. Two 5 inch guns and six duel 3 inch guns were included on the  655 ft. long - 55 ft. wide 1954 vintage, super oiler. The 5 inch guns were removed about 1960. The 3 inch guns remained through the Vietnam War, not used except for practice and removed.

If it is still onboard, the ships course plotting tracer would be a very interesting device to include in a museum. Oilers and all other ships have one. See Photo Left. Ship CLOCKS WOULD BE A PRIZE.

One other structure would be most interesting to be placed in a location a meaningful establishment representing the origin of the ships name, like the rivers Hassayampa, Kawishiwi or Ponchatoula.




 The Ships to Reefs web site had this statement in it's August 2009 Newsletter.

USS Kawishiwi had a reunion near Boston, which was booked when we found out about it, but we will assist them in organizing their 2010 reunion in San Diego. We are looking for a volunteer for this. If you want to be part of this, let us know. We need to keep locating reunions and make a showing at each of them. Larry Ankuda

View their FUNDING presentation.
Contact Ship to Reefs CEO, Joel Geldin



Vern asked why they chose AO-146 over AO-145 and AO-148 which are all moored together. Answer: Basically, Kawishiwi was picked as a candidate because you guys responded and seemed to understand the concept, many did not respond. The alternative is the breaking yard, as all the ships we have picked are marked "disposal" by MARAD.


Also, to a large degree IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!!!!  YOUR WEB SITE showing Kawishiwi's deck plans, cutaway drawings and all kinds of other great stuff convinced us that oilers would make GREAT reefs, the major problem being they are so bloody BIG. 

Artificial reefs need to be "complex", with lots of nooks and crannies for the critters to hide and breed in.  Many of the "experts" did not think an oiler (tanker) would be good as a reef, the impression was that it was just one big open space with a bridge and engine stuck on.   But even this is good as it means a diver can come back over and over and still find something new to see.                    Dean A. Rewerts  Vice-President Reef Development

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