USS Navasota

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One of Eight


by Don Morris.

Descriptiom is below

US Atomic Veterans
Known information where NAVASOTA participated in two sessions of  Atomic Testing


Jumbolizing, October 1963 to December 1964 at Puget Sound Bridge and Dry-dock Co., Plant No. 2, Harbor Island,
Seattle, WA.
contributed by Chuck Gilpin
Did you ever see the Bow next to the Stern?

by Cdr Louis D Chirillo USN Ret
Navasota (AO-106) during sea trials, 1964 after jumboization by Puget Sound Bridge & Dry Dock Co. in Seattle. The following newspaper article is from the 10 January 1964 issue of The Seattle Times: 90-ton Deckhouse Moved

Bremerton, Jan. 10 --- The Puget Sound Bridge & Dry Dock Co. yesterday completed the second stage of its chunk-style conversion of the Navy oiler Navasota---with an assist from the Bremerton Naval Shipyard. The Bremerton yard's 250-ton swing crane lifted the 190-ton deckhouse from the old hull of the Navasota, swung 1t 230 feet across a pier and set it own on the new hull. The new hull, consisting of the bow of the old Navasota and a Japanese-built midbody plus the old hull were then taken back to Seattle, where the stern section of the old hull will be cut free from the old midsection and welded to the new hull. Despite high winds and slashing rain, the Navy Yard crew brought off the heavy lift without a hitch. The Navasota is the first of two such fleet oilers being "jumboized" by the Puget Sound Bridge & Dry Dock Co. The other is the Waccamaw. Both conversions are to be completed by June.The new mid-sections will increase the cargo-carrying capacities of the ships about 50 percent. More changes were to come - adding Outriggers for one item.

Navasota River, c.130 mi/209 km long, E central Texas; rises in Limestone co.; flows SE, through L. Mexia and L. Limestone reservoirs then S to the Brazos R. 5 mi/8 km SW of Navasota.

Navasota AO-106
Displacement 7,423 (light), 25,480 (full) -Jumbosized 12,840 (light), 33,987 (full)
Length 553' -Jumbosized 644'   Beam 75'   Draw 32' -Jumbosized 34'9"   Speed 16 k
Complement 304   Armament 1 5", 4 3", 8 40mm   Class Cimarron

Navasota (AO-106) was laid down under Maritime Commission contract 22 February 1945 as MC hull 2702 by Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Chester, Pennsylvania; launched 30 August 1945; sponsored by Mrs. A. Hahn; and commissioned 27 February 1946, Comdr. David H. McCluskey, USNR, in command.

After three months of shakedown and training off the East Coast Navasota steamed via the Panama Canal for Pearl Harbor and the western Pacific. Assigned to Service Force, Pacific Fleet, she departed Pearl Harbor 3 July to bring petroleum products from the Persian Gulf to the Pacific fleet. She stood out of Yokosuka 20 August for San Pedro, California, arriving 2 September. For the next four months the oiler was in an operational training status, and on 30 January 1948 she again deployed to WESTPAC. After serving as station ship at Tsingtao, China from April through June, she returned to San Pedro, California, 7 July, thence to Pearl Harbor in August

Navasota departed Pearl Harbor 13 October, once again enroute the Far East. She departed Yokosuka 20 November for Tsingtao and remained on station until 30 December, when she sailed for California via Pearl Harbor. She arrived Long Beach, 19 January 1949, steamed to Kodiak, Alaska 1 February, returned to San Francisco the 25th and continued to operate on the west coast for the next year.

Navasota again deployed to WESTPAC 1 May 1950. When the North Koreans crossed the 38th Parallel 25 June, the oiler steamed for Korean waters to fuel Allied ships in the area. In late August she put in at Formosa, but she was back in Korean waters to take part in the Inchon invasion 15 September.

She steamed for Pearl Harbor 22 October and then for Japan via Kwajalein and Guam. Departing Japan 16 December, she arrived at Long Beach 30 December, only to return to the Far East 31 March 1951 for further operations off Wonsan, Korea.

During her Korean operations Navasota fueled ships in Subic Bay, Buckner Bay, the Pescadores Islands, Formosa , Japan, and Korea. She returned to Long Beach for overhaul from October 1951 until February 1952. The oiler operated off the west coast until getting underway 3 April for Sasebo and resumption of her Korean fueling operations. She remained in the area of Wonsan and Songjin, Korea for the next seven months and then returned to Long Beach, arriving 13 November.

Navasota steamed 2 February 1953 for Pearl Harbor to participate in Mercantile Convoy Exercise RES 53B, after which she called at Sasebo 26 February to commence her fourth Pacific deployment. For the next seven months she conducted fueling operations in Korean waters. She was also utilized as station ship at Kaohsiung, Formosa, where she fueled units of the Formosa Straits Patrol until she headed for Long Beach 3 September.

For the next ten years Navasota continued to provide fueling services to the fleet through her annual WESTPAC deployments. In one overhaul at Long Beach Naval Shipyard (February-May 1958), all guns save her single 3" mounts were removed.

Highlights in this period included service as fuel ship during the nuclear weapons tests at Bikini in the summer of 1956 and her WESTPAC deployment of 1958, when she refueled 174 ships from August through November while serving as station ship at Haikung, Pescadores.

Upon completion of her fifteenth WESTPAC deployment 14 October 1963, Navasota was scheduled for "Jumboization" the first oiler so designated. She steamed 14 November for Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington for preliminary preparations, then entered Puget Sound Bridge and Drydock Co., Plant No. 2, Harbor Island, Seattle for the conversion. Her new 394 foot midsection was built in Kawasaki Dock Yard, Kobe, Japan and towed to Seattle by the Japanese tug Daisho Maru NO. 1.

The "Jumboization" process consisted of five basic steps. First, the bow was removed and retained in the drydock while the rest of the ship was floated out. Next, the new section was floated in, raised, and joined to the bow. Third, the bridge structure was transferred to the new section by heavy lift crane 9 January 1964. Then the stern section was severed and retained in drydock while the old midsection was floated out. In the last step, the new section with bow and bridge structure attached, was floated into the dock, raised, and joined to the stern.

Although replacement of the midsection was the single largest change in the fifteen million dollar process, many other important improvements were made during the conversion. A major modification was made to the stern, including a new counterbalanced rudder, new stern casting and struts, and new shorter propeller shafts and stern tubes. The latest in fueling and replenishment at sea equipment was also added, including kingposts with outriggers, ram tensioned span wires and high lines, electric hydraulic winches, cargo elevators, helo pickup area, and sliding blocks and cargo drop reels at replenishment stations. New electric pumps, larger cargo piping, and double hose fueling rigs were also added, as well as a 4,500 KW auxiliary diesel generator plant, and more enclosed stowage space. Habitability was also improved.

Navasota left the yard 28 December 1964. Her new dimensions were: dp. 12,840 (light), 33,987 (f); 1. 644'; dr. 34'9". After upkeep and training, Navasota steamed 20 August 1965 on her sixteenth WESTPAC deployment, arriving Subic Bay 11 September and returning Long Beach, 6 June 1966.

Navasota again steamed for WESTPAC 11 October. Arriving Subic Bay 3 November, she operated in the Gulf of Tonkin and in coastal waters off North and South Viet Nam in support of 7th Fleet combatants, with Subic Bay as her base of operations. The summer of 1967 brought the oiler back to Long Beach for upkeep and west coast operations until she again deployed to the western Pacific 5 January 1968 to assume support duties for 7th Fleet forces off Viet Nam. Through 1970 she has continued to deploy to WESTPAC for six to eight months of each year, while the remainder is spent operating out of Long Beach as part of Service Force, Pacific Fleet, in support of 1st Fleet operations and the Fleet Training Group, San Diego.

Navasota received nine battle stars for Korean War service.

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (2) - Navy Battle "E" Ribbon (2) - American Campaign Medal
Second Row - World War II Victory Medal - Navy Expeditionary Medal (6-Iran/Indian Ocean, 1-Libya, 2 Persian Gulf) - National Defense Service Medal (2)
Third Row - Korean Service Medal (8) - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (1-Taiwan Straits, 6-Korea) - Vietnam Service Medal (13)
Fourth Row - United Nations Service Medal - Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal - Republic of Korea War Service Medal (retroactive)
Operation CASTLE

The Fifth shot photo is shown left................ An Atomic Energy Commission Pacific Proving Ground test held on May 5, 1954. It was conducted at the island of Bikini and yielded 13.5 megatons -- the second highest yield of the tests.

Those aboard the USS NAVASOTA AO-106 during the three month Mid-Pacific run in 1954 brought some of the radiation back with them. The bid question was -- "How much"?

View stories by crew member:
BarringerFloryHammond;   Illi;   Thompson;   Young;
and Bob Ruyle; part of which is printed below.

Little did any of us realize that we were all part of a large experiment because I truly believe the even the government did not know the far reaching implications of these above and below the water tests. From our last ships reunion I discovered that at least 1/3 of our crew had died before the age of 55. Many from various forms of cancer but mostly lymph node cancer. One even mentioned children born with deformed hands and feet. I must say at 65 I have been much more fortunate as I have not had any major health problems to this point.

As we sailed for the South Pacific that year the first thing I noted was those that were taken off our ship, I learned from handling traffic in the radio and crypto shack that something was amiss in their clearances so they were removed until we returned from Bikini and Eniwetok.

The second difference was that all our cameras were taken from us and we had two separate locker inspections to be sure no one had held back camera or film. So no pictures on that trip. Certainly would have liked to of had a camera because it has taken 40 years to get at least some of the pictures that were taken during that time. Bob Ruyle

Three Lost at Sea

Feb 5, 1966; While the SH-3 helicopter was designed and equipped for anti-submarine warfare, it was commonly used for intership transportation among the 7th Fleet ships operating in the Gulf of Tonkin and South China Sea areas.

The USS NAVASOTA (AO-106) was a fleet oiler which replenished the warships with fuel oil, aviation gasoline, and jet fuel. During operations offshore Vietnam, three NAVASOTA crewmen were lost at sea when the SH-3A (BuNo 149926) they were aboard enroute USS RANGER (CVA-61) went down. As with most at-sea losses, their remains could not be recovered. The three men were

  • Chief Shipfitter Bernard J. Sparenberg, Baltimore, MD;
  • Shipfitter First Class Glenn E. Asmussen, Washington D.C.; and
  • Shipfitter Second Class Dan D. McConnaugehay, Artesia, CA.

See: The Wall    or   The Virtural Wall

USS Navasota AO-106 refueling USS Midway off Okinawa Sept 06, 1958......Midway-Joe

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