Refueling operations at sea become quite hazardous as two or more ships are traveling through the water, fast, and close together. They are so close you can talk to persons on the other ship. Then add hoses to tie to each ships fuel lines where flammable fuel is pumped from one ship to the other. Then add huge waves that re-position the ships and the hoses break, fuel being sprayed every where. Perhaps the two ships collide and long gashes are cut into the sides of the ships. This happens.

USS Kawishiwi AO-146, a navy  oil tanker pictured below, performed these duties for some 39 years. Each day at sea she refueled several ships without a mishap but there were also many bad encounters over the years.

In this year of 2007, a current officer has written an article relating to the special intensities he encounters while commanding his ship, such as underway replenishment.
He calls this "FEELING THE BURN" and if you are not feeling the burn
you may not know what is going on.

Most people that have not experienced navy life, are not aware that the navy oil tanker exists. It is a ship that keeps the destroyers, cruisers, and aircraft carriers fueled so they can keep moving to places they are required to be. The tankers have fatalities just as the fighting ships do.

To expose those not experienced with navy life, I propose a "NAVY SUPPORT MUSEUM" be established. Please view the proposal at: http://www.memorieshop.com/Seattle/

Vern Bouwman: USS Kawishiwi AO-146 Historian    
The information below displays my source of the term "FEEL THE BURN"
"Leading the Charge!" the first Tomahawk missile to be fired into Irag was launched from USS Bunker Hill (CG52) at 0525 on March 20, 2003.

Three years and nine months later (December, 30, 2006), the ships current commander, Captain Charles M. Gaouette USN, went to the Bridge and had the Bos’n Mate of the Watch pipe the “secure from” whistle on the 1MC, after which was said the words “Saddam Hussein.
I am aware of this because on this very same day I had emailed Captain Gaouette to commend him on his article released in January 2007 Issue of "PROCEEDINGS"; he acknowledged the piping to me.
The subject of our emailing was underway replenishment
which is a large part of his story.

Web Site:

Photo from:
NavSource Online

    Click COIN

Captain Gaouette's article is on page 32 of "PROCEEDINGS" January 2007  "WHAT I LEARNED IN COMMAND AT SEA"
"Feel the Burn": Hazardous operations such as underway replenishment, have a special intensity to the captain. If you're not feeling the burn, you may not know what's going on.

Captain Gaouette entered the Navy under the submarine Strategic Weapons Officer Program, earning his commission through Officer Candidate School in April 1982. After serving on
USS Gudgeon (SS-567) and USS Lapon (SSN-661), he transferred to surface warfare. Captain Gaouette has held numerous sea and shore assignments, including command of USS Oldendorf (DD-972), USS Fletcher (DD-992), and currently, USS Bunker Hill (CG-52). He was awarded the Pacific Fleet James Bond Stockdale Award
in 2003 for inspirational leadership.

USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) at sea in 1945 (although dated October 16, 1945 this picture is older, as the ship did not operate aircraft after May 1945). This photo has been autographed by Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, who served on board Bunker Hill in January-May 1945, while he was Chief of Staff to Admiral Marc A. Mitscher, Commander, Task Force 58.

Launched 7 Dec. 1942;  Commissioned 24 May 1943;
Decommissioned 9 Jan 1947;
Striken 1 Nov. 1947

Displacement: 27,100 tons standard;
Dimensions (wl): 820' x 93' x 28.5' (full load)
Dimensions (max.): 872' x 147.5'
Armor: 4"-2.5" belt; 1.5" hangar & protective deck(s); 4" bulkheads; 1.5" STS (top, side of pilot house); 2.5" (top) steering gear
Power plant: 8 boilers (565 psi, 850°F); 4 steam turbines; 4 shafts; 150,000 shp (design)
Speed: 32.7 knots
Endurance (design): 20,000 nautical miles @ 15 knots
Armament: 4 twin & 4 single 5"/38 gun mounts; 8 quad 40-mm/56-cal gun mounts; 46 single 20-mm/70-cal guns mounts
Aircraft: 92 (Air Group 17, June 1943)
Aviation facilities: 1 deck-edge, 2 centerline elevators; 1 flight deck, 1 hangar deck catapults
Crew: 2,600+ (ship's company + air wing, as designed)

Previous: USS BINKER HILL (CV-17)

  • Named after the battle fought, June 17, 1775 on Breed's Hill, adjacent to Bunker Hill (a height in Charlestown, Mass.)
  • On the morning of 11 May 1945, while supporting the Okinawa invasion, USS Bunker Hill was hit and severely damaged by two kamikazes. She suffered the loss of 346 men killed, 43 missing, and 264 wounded. Although badly crippled she managed to return to Bremerton via Pearl Harbor.
  • Repaired and returned to active service, but did not resume flight operations, as she served as part of the "Magic Carpet" fleet, returning veterans from the Pacific until decommissioned.
  • Laid up in excellent condition and retained awaiting the "ultimate" Essex-class modernization, which never materialized.
  • Reclassified as an "Attack Aircraft Carrier" and redesignated CVA-17, 1 October 1952, while in reserve.
  • Reclassified as an "Antisubmarine Warfare Support Aircraft Carrier" and redesignated CVS-17, 8 August 1953, while in reserve.
  • Reclassified as an "Auxiliary Aircraft Transport" and redesignated AVT-9, May 1959, while in reserve.
  • Fate: Although struck from the Naval Vessel Register, her hulk was used as a stationary electronics test platform at San Diego until November 1972. Sold for scrapping in May 1973. About 600 tons of her armor plate have been put to use at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.