|Elman Kendrick Smading BM 2/c
was a tanker
sailor in WWII, on the USS Tappahanock AO43. Elman was on the
crew in 1942. The ship went to Guadacanal and other interesting places.
His son is, Bob Smading
- past Quartermaster in N Division performing navigation on a Destroyer
and friend of Vern;
Bob says it is much easier now with GPS, perhaps even the ships cook
Hagberg Shelby MM, Waterloo, IA 50702, June 13, 2002 - wrote: I was on the Tappahannock from 1966 to 1970 from commissioning in New Orleans to de-commissioning at Long Beach. It was put back in for Viet-Nam for those four years.
Kuzman SK2, Nov. 11, 12, and 21st, 2002, to Bob Smading and
Happy Veterans Day Bob!!! Thank you for your service to our country!!!
I wish I could send a very special thank you to your father!!! Him
part of a whole crew who performed many brave and heroic actions on 7
1943 they saved there own lifes and their ship. Unknown to them at the
time, they also allowed me the honor of serving my country aboard the
most outstanding fleet oiler in the United States Navy.The U.S.S.
AO-43!!! I will always be grateful to them. 7 April 1943 was the date
the Tappy was attacked by five Japanese dive bombers. She shot down
inflicted heavy damage on another one and the other two received light
damage. One of the damaged planes was finished off by a Destroyer that
was escorting her. She also managed to evade all five bombs they tried
to drop on her. Pretty good performance for a big slow moving "Non
Oiler I think. The Tappahannock was in a fight for her life. It took
marks- manship to shoot down those planes and expert seamanship
manuever such a large slow moving ship to evade all of those bombs
in from all different angles. They did an OUTSTANDING job! I'm sure
Japanese pilots thought the Tappy would be easy prey. She is big and
and lightly armed compared to a destroyer or a cruiser. At the time of
the attack the Tappy was carrying 300,000 gallons of avaition
if just one of those bombs had hit her it would have been certain
Jim Hanks Stumbled upon this website while searching for info on some ships he had served on. Lo and behold he found some data on the old AO-43 or Tapahannock (sp). " I left the electronics school at Treasure Island, CA, June 11, 1954 with orders to report to that ship which at that time was in Todd Shipyard across the bay. We got underway within a couple of weeks for San Pedro when I received other orders to report to the USS Pasig, AW-3. I believe the AO-43 was ro be put out of commission and sent to the reserve fleet. I hav since learned via web searches at Naval archives that it was destroyed via target practice in the Atlantic. I belive I have the data on just where in Lat & longitude as I continue to look for data on the Pasig. I have no backup for this but I was told the 43 used to be on the East coast just prior and was used between Charlston and Aruba in transfer of bunker oil. I believe that it was assigned to MSTS then and even when I was on it for a glorious period of a couple of weeks.
Now all you have to do is find me some data on the Pasig. We left San Pedro and went to Japan under sealed orders with the final destination as Hiaphong, French Indo China....( even before Viet Nam ) This was when the French were defeated at Bien Bien Pheu ( sp ) The activity was part of the SEATO alliance agreement ( Southeast Asia Treaty Alliance ) Haiphong was a staging area for the transfer of the Vietnamese in the North who wanted to go South after the partitioning, or those who came from the South to stay North
Following that session of about 3 or 4 months we went back to Japan and thence to San Pedro, CA. and the ship was decommissioned after it was talen to Richland , CA. via Navy tug. A quartermaster second and me ( ET3 ) were the bridge crew, kept the logs, made the position sightings etc. I had to run the radio room, all on batteries as we had no spare power. O.K so what;s an AW.?...........Here it comes, a water distilling ship. It is configured like a tanker, and I believe it was designed as one andthen retro fitted. It had a well deck between the bow and bridge and bridge and stern.just like all of them and was some 300 ft. long with a crrew of 167. There were just two in the navy of this size and class as I was told. one in the Pacific & one tied to the Atlantic Fleet.
Back to your interest. With us in Viet Nam was the
AO-64, the Tollavana. a fleet oiler, a Hospital ship, some APA's
etc.. Unfortunately I didn;t have a camera then and have only one or
two photos and they are of people on the ship with some views of
portions such as a 40 mm gun tub or barrel and harbor backdrop.
I also note you have data of the class of ship
"Mattapani" for the 43. The Mattaponi was the 41, but they were
identical to my knowledge. The Pasig is also non-existant anymore as it
was decommissioned and then destroyed.
to port, Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31 ......................to starboard, Missouri (BB-63),
Laid down, 24 December 1941, for Keystone Tankship Corp. as Jorkay,
a Maritime Commission type (T2-A-MC-K) tanker hull,
under Maritime Commission contract, (MC hull 157)
at Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Chester, PA;
Launched, 18 April 1942; Commissioned USS Tappahannock (AO-43), 22 June1942, at Norfolk, VA.;
Decommissioned, (date unknown); Laid up in the Reserve Fleet;
Assigned to MSTS and placed In-service, as USNS Tappahannock (T-AO-43), (date unknown);
Placed Out-of-service, (date unknown);
Transferred to MARAD for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet;
Struck from the Naval Register, 15 July 1976;
Disposed of by MARAD exchange, 2 February 1987, fate unknown.
Length 520';.....Beam 68';.......Draft 30' 6";.......Speed 17kts;.......Complement 242;
Armament:.......one single 5"/38 dual purpose gun mount,
.......................four single 3"/50 dual purpose gun mounts,
.......................four twin 40mm gun mounts,
.......................four twin 20mm gun mounts;
Propulsion:.......Geared turbine, single screw, 12,800shp.
From: Tin Can Sailors
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|04/07 Wed. Destroyer AARON WARD (DD-483) and oiler KANAWHA
by horizontal bombers. United States naval vessel damaged, Tulagi,
Islands: Cargo ship ADHARA (AK-71) and oiler TAPPAHANNOCK (AO-43), by
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1942 Woodworth DD-460
USS Hilbert DE 742
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