Aucilla AO-56 - History

Aucilla AO-56 - History

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A river in northern Florida. It flows south from southern Georgia into Apalachee Bay on the Gulf of Mexico southeast of Tallahassee.

(AO-56: dp. 23,235 (tl.); 1. 553'0"; b. 75'0"; dr. 32'4" (lim.); s. 18.0 k.; cpl. 313; a. 1 5", 4 3"; cl. Ashtabula; T. T3-S2-Al)

Aucilla (AO-56) was laid down on 25 May 1943 at Sparrows Point, Md., by the Bethlehem Steel Co. under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 722); launched on 20 November 1943;
sponsored by Mrs. Hope Ridings Miller; and commissioned on 22 December 1943, Comdr. Cornelius M. Sullivan in command.

The oiler remained at Sparrows Point until 28 December at which time she got underway for Portsmouth, Va. She arrived at the Norfolk Navy Yard on the 29th and began training the crew at battle stations and loading ammunition. Aucilla continued her training both in port and underway in the lower Chesapeake Bay. On 2 February 1944, she departed Norfolk in company with Goldsborough (DD-188) on her way to the British West Indies. The oiler arrived at the Naval Operating Base (NOB), Trinidad, on 7 February and began dispensing fuel to warships operating in the vicinity. She remained there until 14 March at which time she put to sea, in convoy, for Aruba. Aucilla arrived at her destination on the 16th, took on a cargo of aviation gasoline, and departed Aruba on the 17th. After a stop at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the oiler arrived in Norfolk on 24 March.
For about a month, she operated out of Norfolk in the lower Chesapeake Bay testing fueling at sea gear and techniques. On 26 April, Auciila departed Norfolk in company with Belknap (DD-251) and, five days later, arrived in Baytown, Tex. After taking on a cargo of fuel, the ship stood out of Baytown on 4 May and arrived at Staten Island, N.Y., on the 8th. On 14 May, she was underway, in convoy, for the British Isles. The oiler parted company with the convoy on 25 May and entered port at Liverpool, England, that same day. She discharged her cargo on the 27th and got underway for Ireland on the 28th. She visited Belfast Lough from 29 May to 5 June and then headed back to the United States. Aucilla arrived at Norfolk on 16 June.

Six days after her arrival, the oiler sailed from Norfolk for New York. She arrived on 23 June and operated in that locale until the end of the month. On 2 July, Aucilla put to sea bound for Europe once a am. She returned to Belfast on 12 July but 'topped only briefly, returning to sea that same day. The oiler visited Swansea, Wales, between the 13th and the 16th before heading home via Belfast. She reentered Hampton Roads on 27 July. There, she stayed for almost a month. On 22 August, Aucilla put to sea in company with J. Fred Talbott (DD-156) for bound Baytown, Tex. She took on a cargo of fuel oil at Baytown before returning to sea. The ship arrived at Bermuda on 3 September and unloaded her cargo. She then headed back to Hampton Roads, Va., where she dropped anchor on the 8th. Operations in Chesapeake Bay followed.

However, on 4 October,she put to sea bound for the Caribbean. Aucilla arrived at Aruba on 9 October and loaded fuel oil until the 11th when she set sail for Panama. The oiler transited the Panama Canal on 13 October and, the following day, departed Balboa for the Hawaiian Islands. She stopped over at Pearl Harbor from 26 to 29 October and then continued her voyage west. The ship anchored in Eniwetok Lagoon on 5 November. She spent the next two days unloading her cargo of fuel before continuing on to Ulithi on the 7th. There, she reported for duty to the Commander, Service Squadron (ServRon) 10.

For the remainder of the war, Aucilla supported 3d/5th Fleet operations in the western Pacific by refueling its units at sea. She provided fuel to the 3d Fleet during its air attacks on Luzon in mid-December 1944 and again at the end of the first week in January 1945. When the 3d Fleet entered the South China Sea in mid-January, Aucilla continued her fueling rendezvous with its warships. Between 15 and 26 February, she steamed in an area off Iwo Jima providing logistics support for the 5th Fleet. She fueled that same fleet from 16 March to 4 May during the invasion of Okinawa. The oiler rounded out her wartime service supporting the 3d Fleet on its final series of raids on the Japanese home islands between 11 July and 15 August.

Following the cessation of hostilities, Aucilla continued steaming with the 3d Fleet off Japan. After a brief stop at Ulithi, she set sail for Japan on 27 September. The oiler entered Tokyo Bay on 2 October-one month to the day after Japan formally surrendered. The oiler performed extensive occupation duty at various locations in the Far East between the end of the war and the summer of 1947. That service also included some logistics support work for the ships of Joint Task Force 1, the task organization engaged in the atomic bomb tests conducted at Bi- Atoll during t he summer of 1946. The western Pacific cruise in the summer and fall of 1948 ended with Aucilla steaming through the Indian Ocean, the Suez Canal, and the Mediterranean before she crossed the Atlantic to join the fleet stationed on the eastern seaboard of the United States. For about four years, the oiler operated along the east coast, in the Gulf of Mexico, and in the Caribbean taking on oil at various oil ports and carrying it to the fleet. She also conducted independent ship's exercises and amphibious exercises both at Vieques Island near Puerto Rico and at Onslow Beach in North Carolina.

In June of 1952, Aucilla embarked upon the first of a long series of deployments to the Mediterranean Sea. Four months later, she resumed operations along the eastern seaboard and in the West Indies. The first part of 1953 saw the oiler engaged in another series of training evolutions in the Puerto Rico-Vieques Island area. June and July of 1953 brought a midshipman cruise which took her to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Barbados in the British West Indies. In September, Aucilla deployed to the Mediterranean Sea once more. She completed that assignment late in January 1954 and returned to Norfolk on 3 February 1954. Following post-deployment standdown and participation in the annual fleet exercise, Operation "Springboard," the oiler resumed fuel services for the 2d Fleet from her base at Norfolk. May brought rough weather fueling tests in the North Atlantic followed by a two-month overhaul at a civilian shipyard in Baltimore, Md.

In August, Aucilla departed Baltimore and steamed down Chesapeake Bay to rejoin the active units of the Atlantic Fleet. She performed normal logistics services and training operations out of Norfolk until November. Late that month, the oiler put to sea for Gonaives, Haiti, to provide support for some unspecified tests conducted by the Operational Development Force for the Bureau of Ordnance. In the course of those operations, the oiler visited Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. When the ship returned to the United States early in December, she entered the Bethlehem Shipyard at Hoboken, N.J., for a threemonth modification and repair period. Between mid-April and early May of 1955, Aucilla completed refresher training out of Newport, R.I. She then returned to Norfolk where she began preparations for an extended tour of duty with the 6th Fleet.

On 31 May 1955 the ship stood out of Norfolk en route to her new home port, Barcelona in Spain. She reached her destination on 20 June. For the next 22 months, Aucilla served with Task Force (TF) 63 in a logistics support role. She participated in a number of exercises and visited ports all along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. On 2 April 1957, the oiler headed back to the United States. She spent the entire summer of 1957 engaged in repairs, first a four-month regular overhaul at the New York Naval Shipyard and then boiler repairs at an unspecified civilian yard in Baltimore, Md. Between 16 September and 27 October, Aucilla completed refresher training-out of Guantanamo Bay-and post-refresher availability. On 28 October 1957, she set sail from Norfolk on her way back to the Mediterranean Sea. Once again, she spent her time rang- g the length and breadth of the editerranean supporting the op perations of TF 63. During the summer of 1958, Aucilla provided logistics support for the ships, sailors, and marines involved in the landings in Lebanon earned out in order to help restore order after severe factional fighting. Following that interlude, the oiler resumed normal 6th Fleet operations. On 30 May 1959, Aucilla headed back to the United States for a regular overhaul at the Boston Naval Shipyard. The overhaul lasted about six months. During that time, the oiler received a new home port assignment, Norfolk. The ship completed overhaul and set sail from Boston on 18 November, bound for refresher training in the Guantanamo Bay operating area. She shaped a course from the West Indies back to Norfolk on 16 December and arrived at her destination in time to spend the holidays there.

Underway again on 4 January 1960, Aucilla operated in the vicinity of folk until late in the month. On the 28th, she put to sea bound for the Mediterranean Sea. That seven-month followed the pattern of previous ones, mixing port visits with logistics missions in support of 6th Fleet combat units. The oiler returned to Norfolk on 31 August and, after the usual leave and upkee period, resumed normal east coast-West Indies operations. That routine lasted into 1961. In February and March of 1961, she participated in the annual fleet exercise Operation "Springboard." She returned to Norfolk on 17 March and began preparations for another tour of duty with the 6th Fleet. On 15 May 1961, she stood out of Norfolk and shaped a course for the Mediterranean Sea. Aucilla served a 14-week deployment that followed patterns established earlier.

The oiler reentered Norfolk on 11 September 1961 and began post-deployment standdown. Following the leave and upkeep period, she started preparations for overhaul. On 20 November, she entered the yard at the Norfolk Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. Aucilla completed her overhaul on 20 February 1962 and then set sail on 1 March for five weeks of refresher training in the West Indies. Upon completion of refresher training, the oiler joined an underway replenishment group to support the amphibious Exercise "Phiblex 1-62," also conducted in the West Indies. Later, she returned to United States' waters to participate in Fleet Exercise "Quick Kick." That summer, she conducted a midshipman training cruise and took part in convoy exercises off the eastern seaboard.

The oiler continued operations out of Norfolk through the end of 1962 and into 1963. On 7 March 1963, Aucilla left Chesapeake Bay on her way back to the Mediterranean. The deployment lasted just under four months. She was back in Norfolk by 1 July. Following post-deployment standdown, the oiler got und er- on 6 August to participate in NATO Exercise "Riptide IV" conducted in the eastern Atlantic. As an adjunct to that mission, she visited Bremerhaven, Germany, and Rota, Spain, before returning to Norfolk on 11 September. For the remainder of 1963, Aucilla conducted local operations out of her home port.

Similar duty occupied her time during the first two months of 1964. On 3 March 1964, however, the oiler entered the yard at the Norfolk Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. for a regular overhaul. She completed repairs and modifications late in June and put to sea on the 29th for a month of refresher training in the Guantanamo Bay operating area. At the conclusion of refresher training, Aucilla voyaged north to New York where her crew members visited the World's Fair. The ship returned to Norfolk on 8 August and resumed local operations. That resumption lasted just one month. On 8 September, Aucilla got underway from Norfolk once more to participate in a series of NATO exercises in the eastern Atlantic. She visited Bremerhaven, Germany, again at the end of the exercises early in October. She returned to Norfolk on 23 October 1964.

Upon her return to her home port, she began preparations for another assignment with the 6th Fleet. Aucilla left Norfolk on 27 November and arrived in Rota, Spain, on 8 December. Another standard 6th Fleet tour of duty ensued with Aucilla fueling units of the fleet, participating in exercises, and visiting Mediterranean ports. She concluded the deployment with her arrival back in Norfolk on 11 May 1965. From late June to late July, Aucilla cruised the waters of the West Indies in support of 2d Fleet units keeping an eye on the latest crisis to trouble the Dominican Republic. She returned to Norfolk on 23 July and resumed local operations out of her home port. Those operations included support roles in the Gemini 6 and Gemini 7 space shots during October, November, and December. Aucilla reentered

Norfolk on 23 December to begin her holiday leave and upkeep period.

Further upkeep and a tender availability period occupied her time during January and February of 1966. Early in March, the oiler put to sea for another cruise with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea. She arrived in Cartagena, Spain, on 15 March and, for the next five months, provided logistics support for United States naval forces in the Mediterranean. Aucilla departed Rota, Spain, on 12 August and set a course for home. The oiler arrived in Norfolk on the 22d and remained there in a leave and upkeep status until the middle of October. She put to sea again on 18 October to serve as a recovery ship for an Air Force Titan IIIC heat shield qualification test. She returned to Norfolk from that mission on 21 November and remained in port for the rest of the year.

On 6 February 1967, Aucilla stood out of Norfolk once again on her way to the Mediterranean. She arrived in Rota, Spain, on the 17th and soon began making the rounds to ports in the "middle sea." The most notable event of that deployment was the SixDay Arab-Israeli War to which units of the 6th Fleet-Aucilla included-responded with alacrity. She and her colleagues moved quickly to the eastern Mediterranean early in June, but the rapidity with which the Arab forces collapsed allowed them to return to a more normal routine at mid-month. Thus, the oiler resumed port visits, exercise, and fueling operations. She completed turnover proceedings at Rota on 19 and 20 August and headed back to the United States on the latter day. Aucilla arrived back in Norfolk on 30 August. After post-deployment standdown, the oiler entered the yard at the Norfolk Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. for regular overhaul on 13 November.

Aucilla completed her overhaul by 5 April 1968. On that day, she stood out of Norfolk on her way to refresher training in the West Indies. The oiler completed that mission in May and returned to Norfolk on the 19th. Soon thereafter, she embarked upon a two-month voyage that took her to the Cape of Good Hope where she refueled the Vietnam-bound aircraft carrier Intrepid (CVS-11). In addition, Aucilla made port calls at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, Nassau in the Bahamas, and at Philadelphia before returning to Norfolk on 10 August.

At that time, the oiler began a tender availability as well as a leave and upkeep period preparatory to overseas movement. Aucilla stood out of Norfolk on 23 September; and, on 3 October she relieved Kaskaskia (AO-27) at Rota. After almost five months fueling the ships of the 6th Fleet and making port visits throughout the Mediterranean Sea, Aucilla departed Rota late in March 1969. She arrived back in Norfolk on 5 April. After the usual post-deployment standdown, the oiler began normal operations out of Norfolk. For the next 14 months, the ship cruised the waters along the eastern seaboard and the West Indies in support of the ship ps of the Atlantic Fleet. Aucilla returned to Norfolk from her last voyage early in July of 1970.

In the middle of September 1970, she began preparations for inactivation. Aucilla was placed out of commission at Norfolk on 18 December 1970. On 7 October 1971, she was transferred to the Maritime Administration for berthing with its James River, Va., facility. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 December 1976. As of the beginning of 1987, she remained berthed with the National Defense Reserve Fleet at James River, Va.

Aucilla earned five battle stars for her World War 11 service.

Aucilla AO-56 - History

0105 Steaming in convoy with task unit 29.6.7 in #11 position 800 yds. off beam of USS Aucilla AO-56, the guide position
#22 with USS K.C. Campbell and USS U.M. Moore DE-442 as escorts on zig zag plan #10 speed 18.5 knots. in
1030 While cleaning #2 gasoline tank, crew member received injuries. He was at the bottom of the tank and had started
up the ladder to secure a light when a piece of angle iron fell from a bucket which was being drawn up. He was
turned into sick Bay for treatment.
1635 Sighted Aruba Island, distant 18 miles. 1648 Sighted California Lighthouse.
1743 Left convoy formation on order to proceed independently to enter St. Nicolaas Bay.
1804 Pilot Stark came aboard. 1850 Tug "Oneka" came alongside.
1858 Moored to Main Dock, St. Nicolaas Bay, Aruba Island, port side to with 6 manilla lines.
1859 Tug shoved off. Pilot left the ship.
1928 USS K.C. Campbell moored alongside to starboard.
2320 Commenced receiving aviation gas. 2340 Commenced receiving diesel oil.

0105 Steaming in convoy with task unit 29.6.7 in #11 position 800 yds. off beam of USS Aucilla AO-56, the guide position
#22 with USS K.C. Campbell and USS U.M. Moore DE-442 as escorts on zig zag convoy speed 14 knots.
0459 Sighted Isle Grande Light about 23 miles.
0725 Formed column, Taluga 1000 yards astern Aucilla steering to enter Panama Canal.
0858 Passed West Breakwater Light abeam starboard.
0905 Pilots H.W. Smithies and R.W. Rubelli came aboard.
1100 Entered Gatun Locks. 1157 Left Gatun Locks.
1210 Commenced shifting cargo to trim ship. 1245 Completed trimming.
1625 Entered Pedro Miguel Locks. 1640 Left locks.

See: Panama Canal Locks 66 yrs. 10 mo. 5 days later: Taluga returned through locks on her way to Texas to be recycled.

1718 Entered Miraflores Locks. 1838 left locks.
1915 Tugs "Empire" and "Gorgona" along side for mooring to Buoys "A" and "B', Balboa Harbor Canal Zone in 39 feet
of water with 2 manila and 2 wire lines to each buoy.
1940 Pilots left ship, Tugs shoved off.
20 to 24 hours is missing from log.

Aucilla AO-56 - History

0001 Moored in Berth "M-4", Merry's Point. with 8 manilla lines to the
dock. Boiler #1 steaming for auxiliary purposes.
Receiving fresh water from the dock.
0900 Commenced loading deck cargo.
1100 Albin, William BM1c transferred to Naval Hospital with bag,
hammock, record and pay accounts.
1510 Received from Ammunition Depot, (96) 40mm blind loading
plugs (32) 40mm dummy cartridges
(10,000) 22 caliber longs (75) 12 gauge shotgun shells
(1800) 45 cal. cartridges.
2100 Commenced loading mail sacks for cargo.
2215 Commenced receiving cargo fuel oil from the dock.

Condition 1 - General Quarters (battle stations). May be modified for certain conditions, such as Condition 1-AS, in which all antisubmarine watch stations and weapons are manned, but AAW stations may not be. Modified conditions are used to minimize crew fatigue, which can be a significant factor over a prolonged period at battle stations. Other types of modified conditions include 1-SQ (battle stations for missile launch).

Condition 2 – A condition of modified General Quarters, generally used on large ships.

Condition 3 - A material condition of readiness commonly associated with wartime steaming where some, usually half, of the ship's weapons are kept in a manned and ready status at all times.

Condition 4 - A material condition of readiness commonly associated with peacetime steaming. There are no weapons in a ready status.

Condition 5 – A material condition of readiness associated with peacetime inport status. Other material conditions may be set as needed, dictated by the threat.

USS Aucilla

Status: Disposed of by Navy Title Transfer to the Maritime Administration

Launch Date: 11/20/1943
Commission Date: 12/22/1943
Decommission Date: 12/18/1970

The USS Aucilla made several trips to Europe during the war, and also supported the 3d and 5th Fleet in the Western Pacific. After the war, she returned to the Atlantic and deployed several times to the Mediterranean and West Indies. The USS Aucilla was involved with many training exercises throughout her commission, and supported multiple fleets in the process. She has literally sailed around the world and back. the USS Aucilla earned five battle stars for her World War II service. As of the beginning of 1987 she remained berthed with the National Defense Reserve Fleet at James River, VA.

An Oiler is a large vessel that is designed to carry bulk oil to other ships in the fleet while they are underway. The oilers that served during World War II generally weighed several hundred tons and were around 530 feet in length. These vessels tend to move slower, and as such were common targets of German U-Boats during the Second World War. Crewmembers who sailed aboard oilers brought essential goods to their fellow Navy vessels, all the while being exposed to Asbestos.

Anyone who served on an oiler should speak with their doctor regarding asbestos related diseases such as Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer, and the treatment options available.

We Can Help

Asbestos lung cancer and mesothelioma lawsuits involving active-duty or retired members of the U.S. military involve additional, complex legal issues and considerations.

At The Gori Law Firm , you’ll find lawyers with extensive experience in military asbestos and mesothelioma cases, and a staff that is highly qualified and specially trained to assist us in handling these difficult cases. We also work diligently to help people living with mesothelioma obtain a trial date within six to nine months from the time their lawsuit is filed.

Nationwide Legal Help for People With Asbestos Lung Cancer or Mesothelioma

For a free case evaluation, please call our law offices directly or contact us online. An experienced attorney will be available to discuss your potential lawsuit, and to answer any questions you may have about the connection between asbestos exposure and deadly cancers such as mesothelioma, or your legal rights.

Aucilla AO-56 - History

USS Newman K. Perry , a 2425-ton Gearing class destroyer, was built at Orange, Texas. Converted for radar picket missions while fitting out, she was placed in commission in late July 1945, a few weeks before Japan's acceptance of Allied terms brought World War II's fighting to an end. After brief service with the Atlantic Fleet, in the final months of 1945 Newman K. Perry steamed through the Panama Canal and across the Pacific to begin her first tour of duty in Far Eastern waters. In mid-1946 she operated in support of Operation "Crossroads", the atomic bomb tests in the Marshall Islands, and in 1947-1948 made a second deployment to the western Pacific.

In formal recognition of her radar picket capabilities, in March 1949 Newman K. Perry was redesignated DDR-883 and, soon afterwards, transferred to the Atlantic Fleet. Later in the year she began the first of a long series of deployments to the Mediterranean and Black Seas. These cruises, which took much of her time during the next twenty-four years, were punctuated by operations in the western Atlantic and the Caribbean. The destroyer also paid occasional visits to northern Europe and west Africa.

In 1953 Newman K. Perry received more advanced radar equipment, an updated combat information center and new anti-aircraft guns. In March 1961 she participated in the recovery effort for the Project "Mercury" space flight, and, in the fall of 1962 she took part in Cuban missile crisis operations. The destroyer was extensively modernized for anti-submarine duties under the FRAM I program during 1964-1965, shortly after a second redesignation again made her DD-883.

During late 1966 and early 1967 Newman K. Perry went to the Far East for a Vietnam War tour. After several months of service with the Seventh Fleet, including naval gunfire support and escort work, she completed a voyage around the World to return to the U.S. East Coast. In 1973 the ship was transferred to the Naval Reserve Force. She made a last Mediterranean cruise in that year, but thereafter her operations were in the Atlantic and the Caribbean. USS Newman K. Perry was decommissioned in late February 1981 and transferred to the Republic of Korea. Renamed Kyong Ki , she served with that nation's navy until 1998, when the fifty-three year old destroyer was placed out of service and scrapped.

USS Newman K. Perry was named in honor of Ensign Newman Kershaw Perry, who lost his life in the 21 July 1905 boiler explosion on USS Bennington .

This page features, and provides links to, all the views we have concerning USS Newman K. Perry (DD-883, later DDR-883 and DD-883).

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

Underway, probably soon after she was first commissioned in July 1945.
Note her tripod mainmast and other features fitting her for use as a radar picket destroyer.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

Online Image: 61KB 900 x 600 pixels

Seen from directly ahead, while she was at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, California, 26 July 1947.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

Online Image: 59KB 740 x 605 pixels

Seen from directly astern, while she was at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, California, 26 July 1947.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

Online Image: 77KB 740 x 625 pixels

USS Newman K. Perry (DD/DDR-883)

Underway, circa the late 1940s or early 1950s.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

Online Image: 138KB 900 x 715 pixels

Underway in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, 6 May 1969.
Photographed by PH3 Carl L. Hayes.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

Online Image: 85KB 900 x 625 pixels

Underway in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, 6 May 1969.
Photographed by PH3 Carl L. Hayes.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

Online Image: 85KB 900 x 625 pixels

Underway, circa the 1970s.
This photograph was received by the Naval Historical Center in March 1977.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

Online Image: 85KB 900 x 745 pixels

In addition to the images presented on these pages, the National Archives appears to hold other views of USS Newman K. Perry (DD/DDR-883). The following list features some of these images:

The images listed below are NOT in the Naval History and Heritage Command's collections.
DO NOT try to obtain them using the procedures described in our page "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

The following photographs were taken while Newman K. Perry was in her original radar picket destroyer configuration, with pole foremast, tripod mainmast immediately in front of the after smokestack, 40mm gun mounts, and World War II era radar antennas:

The following photographs were taken after Newman K. Perry had been refitted with a tripod foremast with a SPS-6 air search radar, a SPS-8 height-finding radar antenna atop her after deckhouse and 3"/50 twin gun mounts:

The following photographs were taken after Newman K. Perry had undergone her FRAM I modernization, with new superstructure, second 5"/38 gun mount removed, ASROC launcher amidships and DASH facilities behind the after smokestack:

Reproductions of these images should be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system for pictures not held by the Naval History and Heritage Command.

Aucilla AO-56 - History

A great part of Naval history.

You would be purchasing an exact copy of the USS Aucilla AO 56 cruise book during 1955-57. Each page has been placed on a CD for years of enjoyable computer viewing. The CD comes in a plastic sleeve with a custom label. Every page has been enhanced and is readable. Rare cruise books like this sell for a hundred dollars or more when buying the actual hard copy if you can find one for sale.

This would make a great gift for yourself or someone you know who may have served aboard her. Usually only ONE person in the family has the original book. The CD makes it possible for other family members to have a copy also. You will not be disappointed we guarantee it.

Some of the items in this book are as follows:

  • Ports of call: Naples . Casablanca, Palma, Gibraltar, Golfe Juan, Beirut, Athens, Toulon, Augusta, Rhodes, Iskenderun, Tripoli, Palermo, Izmir and Barcelona
  • Cruise Chart
  • Divisional Group Photos with Names
  • Many crew activity photos

Over 132 pictures and the Ships story told on 54 pages.

Once you view this CD you will know what life was like on this Oiler in peace time.

Aucilla - History

For at least 14,000 years, people have inhabited the land around the Aucilla and Wacissa rivers. This makes it one of the earliest known sites of human occupation in the New World. Native Americans lived off the abundant resources in and around the rivers. Many prehistoric mounds, middens and quarry sites have been documented in the area by archaeologists. In order to protect these sites for research and future generations, it is illegal to remove or disturb any cultural resources or artifacts.

The rich resources and the accessibility of two rivers attracted those determined to profit from the bounty. Prior to the Civil War, slaves deepened a natural channel between the Wacissa and the Aucilla rivers so that plantation owners could get cotton to ships on the Gulf of Mexico. However, the Slave Canal was soon abandoned.

Lumbermen removed most of the old-growth cypress from the swamps early in the 20th century. They constructed raised roadbeds (trams) for locomotives to haul huge timbers out of the swamps. Stands of native longleaf pine were replanted with fast-growing slash and loblolly pines for pulpwood. Today, some of these trams still provide roadways for vehicles, while others are smaller pathways for hikers, bikers and wildlife.

In 1988, the state of Florida obtained the core property (about 14,000 acres). Later acquisitions were made in 2000 and 2003 from the St. Joe Timberland Company. The area’s natural plant communities are currently being managed and ongoing restoration is underway.

Available through LVA Store (All sales final)

This DVD presents the little known human interest side of the most explosive military & political controversy of the last half century, as told by those who survived it.

Israel&rsquos 1967 summer of love surprise attack on the US Navy&rsquos top spy ship killed 34 Sailors, wounded another 171, & quickly became the stuff of controversy, forgotten legends full of top medals awarded in secret, silenced support from the highest levels of governmental, military, & clandestine organizations, along with wide ranging conspiracy theories supported by fringe elements pushing their own agendas by way of the Liberty's ordeal. Taught at the US Naval Academy as a prime example of true American grit, and encased in the US Naval & NSA/Cryptologic Museums, it remains the only attack on a Navy ship NOT investigated by Congress and further consigned to the dustbins of yesteryear with every passing year, despite being the most highly decorated US Navy ship for a single event in all of American history.


Assault on the Liberty: The True Story of the Israeli attack on an American Intelligence Ship - By Survivor and LVA Historian, James Ennes, Jr., Paperback.

Unsigned books. ($25.00)

Attack on the USS Liberty, a collection of official documents including:

  • The official (still partly censored) National Security Agency investigation by William Gerhard
  • The full text of the juridical examination of the attack by a US Navy legal officer, Commander Walter Jacobsen, as published in the US Naval Law Review, Winter, 1986
  • The full text of the still-withheld, still top-secret report by an Israeli Court of Inquiry
  • The formerly top-secret State Department analysis which finds the Israeli account untrue and unbelievable
  • A comprehensive bibliography

REMEMBER THE LIBERTY Almost Sunk by Treason on the High Seas by Phillip F. Nelson with Ernie A. Gallo, Ronald G. Kukal and Phillip F. Tourney.

In the annals of US military history, there are no doubt many unsolved and perplexing mysteries, but few could compare to the fate of the US Navy spy ship that was mercilessly attacked by one of its closest allies intentionally and without warning. One of the reasons it is still a mystery is because it is also the only peacetime attack on a US naval vessel that, to this day, has never been investigated by the Congress of the United States.

Unsigned books. ($20.00)

DVD, Dead in the Water (Documentary&mdashWatch to find out how a nuclear war in the Middle East was averted at the last minute.) ($20.00)

USS Liberty T-Shirts (Available in S, M, L, XL, XXL and XXXL):

Blue Multicolor Tee Shirt ($20.00)

White w/Black Ship & 34 lost Shipmates ($20.00)

Grey w/Black Ship & 2 lost Marines ($20.00)

Golf Shirt, White or Navy with tan stitching. Available in M, L, XL, XXL, and XXXL ($30.00)

USS Liberty Baseball Cap (solid fabric, not mesh with plain bill) ($20.00)

USS Liberty Unstructured Golf Hat (navy or tan) ($16.00)

USS Liberty Cigarette Lighter
(Zippo&mdashbrushed chrome with ship's insignia on one side and silhouette of the USS Liberty on the other) ($25.00)

USS Liberty Lapel Pin ($5.00)

USS Liberty Bumper Stickers ($2.00)

USS Liberty Key Chains ($4.00)

Brass coin with the names of the 34 dead etched on it (Challenge Coin) ($10.00)

Plain brass USS Liberty coin, No names ($10.00)

USS Liberty Ships Patches:

3" (Multicolored, 100% Embroidered) ($6.00)

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Aucilla AO-56 - History

After fitting out at the Boston Navy Yard, Walke got underway on 12 February for Washington, D.C., which she visited from the 14th to the 18th before heading for Bermuda and shakedown training. She returned to Boston on 19 March 1944 for availability before moving to Norfolk, Va., to conduct high-speed, over-the-stern fueling exercises with Aucilla (AO 56) under the auspices of the Bureau of Ships. From Hampton Roads, the destroyer moved to Key West, Florida at the end of the first week in April to conduct antisubmarine warfare (ASW) tests on a new type of sound gear. She completed that duty on 17 April and headed to Norfolk where she arrived two days later for almost a month of duty training nucleus crews for newly constructed destroyers.

On 12 May, Walke got underway for New York where she arrived the following day. On the 14th, she headed for European waters to participate in the Normandy invasion. She arrived at Greennock, Scotland, on the 24th. As a unit of Destroyer Division 119, Walke participated in the Normandy invasion between 6 and 26 June. On the 7th and 8th, she conducted shore bombardments, destroying blockhouses and machine-gun positions as well as helping to repulse a counterattack mounted by German armored units. On the 23d and 24th, the warship supported minesweeping operations at Cherbourg and duelled with enemy shore batteries.

After the Allied ground forces had pushed the fighting front inland out of range of the destroyer&rsquos guns, Walke departed European waters on 3 July and arrived at the Boston Navy Yard on the 9th. Following repairs there and refresher training at Casco Bay, Maine, she sailed south and arrived at Norfolk on 26 August.

Four days later, the ship departed Norfolk in the screen of Ticonderoga (CV 14), bound ultimately for the western Pacific. Steaming via the Panama Canal and San Diego, California, the destroyer arrived at Pearl Harbor on 25 September. She conducted training exercises there for almost a month before departing the Hawaiian Islands on 23 October in the screen of North Carolina (BB 55). Steaming via Eniwetok and Manus, she arrived in Ulithi on 5 November. There, she became a unit of Task Group (TG) 38.4, of the fast carrier task force, with which she sortied that day for a series of air strikes on targets in the Philippines. The warship returned from that foray to Ulithi on 22 November and lay at anchor there until the 27th when she got underway with Destroyer Squadron 60 for the Philippines. She arrived in San Pedro Bay, Leyte, on the 29th and joined the screen of TG 77.2 operating in Leyte Gulf. She returned to the anchorage at San Pedro Bay on 4 December and remained there until the 6th, when she departed with TG 78.3 to support landings from Ormoc Bay on the western coast of Leyte. The troops of the Army&rsquos 77th Infantry Division stormed ashore unopposed on the 7th, but the Japanese mounted heavy kamikaze attacks on the supporting ships in an attempt to foil the assault. During those air raids, Walke assisted Mahan (DD 364) when three kamikazes of a nine-plane raid succeeded in crashing into her. After rescuing a number of Mahan&rsquos crewmen, Walke sent the stricken destroyer to the bottom with a torpedo and gunfire. The next day, en route back to San Pedro Bay, she helped to splash an attacking enemy aircraft. She safely reached her destination later that day and operated in Leyte Gulf and at San Pedro Bay until the 13th.

That day, she got underway with TG 77.3 to support the assault on Mindoro. She arrived off that island on 15 December as a part of Rear Admiral Berkey&rsquos close covering force, made up of one heavy cruiser, two light cruisers, Walke and six other destroyers. Besides protecting the heavier elements from air and submarine attack, she destroyed by gunfire the grounded Japanese destroyer Wakaba. After completing that mission, she headed back to Leyte Gulf. En route, she drove off by antiaircraft fire several planes which approached her and arrived safely in San Pedro Bay on 18 December 1944.

The destroyer remained there until 2 January 1945 when she got underway for Lingayen Gulf and the invasion of Luzon. American minesweepers moved into the gulf on 6 January, and Walke steamed in with them to provide covering fire and antiaircraft defense. That day, four enemy &ldquoOscars&rdquo approached the destroyer from her starboard side forward, low on the water. She opened fire and succeeded in splashing the first two attackers. The third plane pressed home his combination strafing run-suicide attack and, though hit several times, managed to crash into Walke&rsquos bridge on the port side and burst into flames. The destroyer lost all communications, radars, gyro repeaters, and electricity throughout the superstructure. She also suffered extensive damage to the bridge itself as well as to her gun and torpedo directors. The 250-pound bomb the plane carried fortunately did not explode but passed completely through the ship in the vicinity of the combat information center.

Two minutes after the first suicider crashed Walke, the last of the four &ldquoOscars&rdquo began his death dive. As this attacker came in toward the destroyer&rsquos starboard quarter, he was subjected to fire from 5-inch mount number 3 in local control and from the starboard side 40- and 20-millimeter guns. Their concentrated fire saved the ship from a second crash when the plane burst into flames and splashed into the sea close aboard. Soon thereafter, control was shifted aft to secondary conn, and fires were under control within 15 minutes.

Throughout the action, though seriously wounded and horribly burned, the warship&rsquos commanding officer, Commader George F. Davis, continued to conn his ship and exhorted her crew to heroic efforts to save the ship. Only after he was certain that she would remain afloat and intact, did he consent to relinquish command to the executive officer and allowed himself to be carried below. Commander Davis succumbed to his wounds several hours later but, for his gallant action, he was awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously. He was further honored by having Davis (DD 937) named for him.

Amazingly, Walke continued to operate with TG 77.2 until after the landings on 9 January. The next day, she departed the gulf with Task Unit (TU) 78.4.2 and headed for Leyte. She arrived in San Pedro Bay on the 13th and remained there undergoing patching for two days before getting underway for the Admiralty Islands. She received further temporary repairs at Manus from 18 to 21 January and then resumed her voyage home, via Pearl Harbor. The ship reached the Mare Island Navy Yard on 6 February and began permanent repairs. The last of her extensive battle damage had been corrected by 4 April, when the ship set a course&mdashvia Pearl Harbor, Eniwetok, and Ulithi&mdashfor Okinawa where, on 10 May, she joined the campaign to capture that island. During the first part of her stay in the Ryukyus, she served as a support ship on radar picket stations around Okinawa. On 24 June, she was ordered to join the screen of Task Force (TF) 32, the Amphibious Support Force, with which she operated until 23 July. The following day, she departed the Ryukyus in the screen of a task unit, bound for Leyte, and underwent an availability at San Pedro Bay from 28 July to 14 August. On the latter day, Walke and Barton (DD 722) got underway to rendezvous at sea with TF 38. The destroyer joined the screen of TG 38.3 on 18 August, three days after hostilities ended. On 10 September, she switched to the screen of TG 38.1 and operated with the fast carriers.

The warship remained in Japanese waters until 30 September, when she headed via Guam for the northwest coast of the United States. She arrived in Seattle on 24 October and operated along the western seaboard until the following spring. On 18 March 1946, the ship departed San Diego for a round-trip voyage to Pearl Harbor, returned to San Diego on 10 April, and remained there until 13 May. After steaming back into Pearl Harbor on the 19th, she departed that port again two days later, but this time she continued west toward the Marshall Islands. She reached Bikini Atoll on 26 May and, for the next two months, supported the atomic tests carried out there. She returned to Pearl Harbor on 15 August, remained overnight, and got underway for the West Coast on the 16th. Walke entered San Diego on 22 August and then moved to the Mare Island Naval Shipyard for three months of repairs.

The warship returned to San Diego on 15 November and remained there through the end of the year. On 6 January 1947, Walke departed San Diego for Pearl Harbor whence she operated with Tarawa (CV 40), and later with Shangri-La (CV 38), on special duty under the auspices of the Commander, Naval Air Force Pacific Fleet. That duty lasted until 1 May when she joined the unit sent to Sydney, Australia, to commemorate the Battle of the Coral Sea. The ship returned to San Diego in mid-June and was decommissioned there on the 30th.

Following a little over three years in the San Diego Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet, Walke was recommis-sioned on 5 October 1950, Commander Marshall F. Thompson in command. After shakedown training along the West Coast, the destroyer departed San Diego on 2 January 1951 and set a course for the Far East and service in the six-month old Korean conflict. She repaired storm damage at Yokosuka, Japan, before joining TF 77 off the coast of Korea.

In addition to providing antisubmarine protection for the carriers of TF 77, she moved close to the Korean coast to bombard such places as Yondae Gap, Wonsan, Songjin, Chongjin, and Chuminjin as well as various other rail and road locations. On 12 June, while steaming some 60 miles off the Korean coast with TF 77, Walke struck a floating mine which severely damaged her hull on the port side, killed 26 men, and wounded another 40 sailors.

She made temporary repairs at Sasebo and then headed back to the United States where she entered the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in July for permanent repairs and a complete overhaul. Walke returned to the Korean combat zone in June of 1952 and resumed screening duty with TF 77 punctuated by shore bombardment missions. That combat cruise lasted until January 1953, when she arrived at Long Beach, California, and took up normal west coast operations. In July, the warship rejoined TF 77 off the Korean coast for another seven months of duty screening the fast carriers but, by that time, the armistice had been signed ending the combat aspect of her duties.

Between the end of the Korean conflict in July of 1953 and the dramatic increase in American involvement in the Vietnamese civil war that began in August 1964, Walke settled into a routine which alternated peacetime deployments to the western Pacific with periods of normal west coast operations out of Long Beach. In that interval, she made six deployments to the Orient, on each occasion operating as a unit of the Seventh Fleet and usually as a part of the ASW screen of the fast carriers of TF 77. She also did periodic duty as a unit of the Taiwan Strait patrol. The ship made frequent visits to such ports as Sasebo and Yokosuka in Japan, Hong Kong, and Subic Bay in the Philippines. On her return voyage from the 1956 to 1957 western Pacific cruise, Walke visited Brisbane, Australia, before steaming back to Long Beach on 28 April 1957.

When not deployed to the Far East, the destroyer operated along the west coast conducting ASW and gunnery training and independent ship&rsquos exercises. Much of the time spent in the United States also went to repairs and overhauls. For instance, in 1961, she received a complete fleet rehabilitation and modernization (FRAM II) overhaul.

In 1964 and 1965, however, events in South Vietnam conspired to make Walke&rsquos final four deployments to the Far East combat tours. She departed Long Beach on 24 March 1965, steamed via Pearl Harbor, and arrived at Yokosuka, Japan on 30 April. On 4 May, the destroyer headed for the Philippines. She entered Manila Bay on the 10th and joined ships of other SEATO navies. On the 12th, the warship sortied with them to participate in Exercise &ldquoSea Horse&rdquo en route to Bangkok, Thailand. She arrived in Bangkok on 22 May and made a two-day liberty call. She returned to the Philippines, at Subic Bay, on the 28th. In June, the ship made a port call at Hong Kong and then headed to Sasebo, Japan, for upkeep and then spent the rest of the month in operations out of Japanese ports. Early in July, Walke paid a visit to Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and then did a four-week tour of duty on the Taiwan Strait patrol.

The ship&rsquos first direct participation in the Vietnam conflict came in August when she served as ASW picket ship for TG 70.4 on Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin. She left Vietnamese waters on the 17th for five days of upkeep at Subic Bay. She returned to Yankee Station on 27 August and resumed ASW picket duty with TG 70.4. On 4 September, the destroyer moved inshore to provide gunfire support for troops operating ashore. That duty lasted until 9 September when she rejoined TG 70.4 on Yankee Station. At Yokosuka on 19 September, she had a four-day upkeep period before heading back toward the United States on 23 September.

Walke spent the remainder of 1965 and the first five months of 1966 engaged in normal west coast operations&mdashmostly ASW exercises. On 9 June 1966, she departed Long Beach for another deployment to the western Pacific. However, while she was passing the outer breakwater, a major fire broke out in her after fireroom. The destroyer&rsquos damage control efforts succeeded in putting the blaze out but, while the ship was being towed back into Long Beach on the 10th, her towline parted, and she ran aground. Later that day, she finally entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for repairs to both her hull and her main propulsion plant.

She completed repairs on 18 July, loaded ammunition at Seal Beach, and set a course for the Far East. She reached Yokosuka on 3 August for a brief fuel stop and then continued on to Sasebo where she arrived on the 5th. She remained there until the 8th, when she got underway for Yankee Station to join the ASW screen of TG 77.9. On 16 August, she took leave of TG 77.9 and set a course for Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and a tour of duty on the Taiwan Strait patrol. On 12 September, she headed back to Yankee Station but, three days later, a typhoon forced her into Subic Bay. She resumed duty with TG 77.9 on 17 September but remained only until the 22d when she headed for the waters near Luzon to participate in SEATO Exercise &ldquoSilverskate.&rdquo

She returned to Vietnamese waters on 29 September and took up station just offshore to provide gunfire support for the troops ashore. That duty lasted until 4 October when she headed back to the Philippines for another SEATO exercise before entering Subic Bay for a nine-day tender availability alongside Bryce Canyon (AD 36). She stood out of Subic Bay on 18 October and reached Yankee Station on 20 October and served with the carriers there for eight days. After a visit to Hong Kong, she set a course for Taiwan and another four-week tour of duty on the Taiwan Strait patrol. She concluded that assignment on 1 December and headed for Yokosuka where she underwent an upkeep period from 6 to 9 December. On the 9th, the warship got underway to return home. She arrived in Long Beach on 20 December and began post-deployment standdown.

Walke devoted the next seven months to local operations out of Long Beach. For the most part, this duty consisted of ASW exercises conducted with aircraft carriers. On 17 August, the destroyer departed Long Beach and set a course for the western Pacific. Steaming via Pearl Harbor, the warship arrived in Yokosuka on 24 September. She operated out of Japanese ports conducting ASW exercises until 18 October at which time she got underway for Yankee Station. The destroyer joined TF 77 in the Gulf of Tonkin on 23 October and served in the ASW screen until 16 November when she retired to the Philippines. She arrived in Subic Bay on 14 November and remained there 10 days undergoing a tender availability. Following that, she put to sea to participate in another &ldquoSilverskate&rdquo ASW exercise which she completed on the 28th.

From there, the warship headed for the Gulf of Tonkin and duty with carriers on Yankee Station. That assignment lasted until 11 December at which time she moved inshore to provide gunfire support for troops operating ashore in the I Corps combat zone. On the 17th, she moved up the coast to the vicinity of the demilitarized zone between North Vietnam and South Vietnam to support troops fighting in that neighborhood. On 19 December, the ship departed Vietnamese waters and set a course for Sasebo where she arrived on the 23d.

On 3 January 1968, Walke departed Sasebo to return to Vietnam. She arrived in the combat zone on the 7th and spent the following month on the gunline providing gunfire support for troops fighting ashore. On 20 February, the warship shaped a course for Sasebo where she conducted an upkeep period. Following a series of ASW exercises in the Sea of Japan, she got underway on 24 March to return to the United States.

She arrived at Long Beach on 6 April and began post-deployment standdown. On 14 May, the destroyer entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for a four-month overhaul. At the conclusion of that repair period in September, she conducted shakedown training and then began normal west coast operations.

That duty continued until 29 March 1969 at which time she got underway for the final western Pacific tour of her career. Steaming by way of Pearl Harbor, she arrived in Yokosuka on 26 April. On the 30th, she set a course for the Tonkin Gulf. The destroyer joined the fast carriers on 5 May and provided ASW defense for them until the 15th when she headed for Subic Bay. Following upkeep at Subic Bay and a visit to Manila, she put to sea on the 26th to participate in SEATO Exercise &ldquoSea Spirit.&rdquo She returned to Subic Bay on 7 June, remained there until the 10th, and then headed back to Vietnam via Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The warship reached Yankee Station on the 19th and served in the ASW screen of TG 77.3 until July. She visited Kaohsiung again from 7 to 15 July and then headed for Sasebo where she arrived on the 17th.

The warship departed Sasebo on the 18th for Exercise &ldquoSea King&rdquo before a brief return to Sasebo. Walke soon headed back toward Vietnam and reached Yankee Station on 25 July. She served there until 7 August and then headed back to Kaohsiung. She visited the Taiwanese port from 8 to 14 August and then made a call at Hong Kong from 15 to 22 August. She returned to Yankee Station on 25 August and served on the gunline until 21 September. She retired to Subic Bay on 23 September and, after five days, steamed back to Vietnam. She provided gunfire support in the I Corps combat zone and at Danang until 4 October when she shaped a course for Japan.

She conducted upkeep at Sasebo from 9 to 17 October and then got underway with Constellation (CVA 64) for exercises in the Sea of Japan. After a return visit to Sasebo and a stop at Okinawa, she returned to Yokosuka to prepare for the voyage home. On 6 November, the destroyer sailed for the West Coast. She made stops at Midway Island and at Pearl Harbor before arriving at Long Beach on 21 November.

Walke spent her last year of active service operating along the West Coast. On 30 November 1970, she was decommissioned at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and was berthed with the Columbia River Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet, until 1974. On 1 February 1974, her name was struck from the Navy list. She was sold to General Metals, of Tacoma, Washington on 16 April 1975 for scrapping.

Walke (DD 723) earned six battle stars during World War II, four battle stars in the Korean conflict, and seven battle stars for Vietnam service.

Aucilla AO-56 - History

Chapter 2: Plankowners

Recruit Company 560 photo from Naval Training Station Sampson in upstate New York. Holding the "War Bond Champs" banner at far right is future Mighty Ninety plankowner Arthur "Tommy" Whitesell, 4th Division.
-photo courtesy of Teresa Whitesell

During this period America mobilized her young men in unprecedented numbers. The commissioning crew of Astoria came from all corners of the United States. Some men came from the existing Navy, including six sailors who had served aboard "Nasty Asty,"Astoria CA-34. Many others were "learning the ropes" at naval training stations and schools across the nation.

Company 14, Section 1 photo from Radio Materiel School, Treasure Island, CA in 1943. Future Astoria K Division plankowner Clarence "Clancy" Allen is in the second row standing, fourth from left.
-photo courtesy of Clancy Allen

Aerial view of four cruisers at Cramp shipyard in December 1943. At center USS Miami nears completion. At left is Astoria, six months from delivery. The hull of Oklahoma City nears launching in the closer set of ways, while Little Rock is under early construction in the background.
-photo from NARA Records Group 80-G

Spring 1944
The majority of the USS Astoria ship's company mustered at Newport, Rhode Island. Shortly afterward they traveled by train to Philadelphia, PA to report aboard the newly-delivered cruiser at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Seaman First Class Herman Schnipper, future Ship's Photographer of USS Astoria CL-90. This photograph was taken in Philadelphia circa May 1944.
photo courtesy of Herman Schnipper

Broad Street in Philadelphia circa May 1944. This photo was taken by Herman Schnipper using his personal 35mm camera, prior to being issued his Navy photographic equipment.
-photo taken by and courtesy of Herman Schnipper

Shore Patrol and other sailors on Market Street in downtown Philadelphia in May 1944. The Savoy Theater is showing "The Fighting Seabees" starring John Wayne and Susan Hayward.
-photo taken by and courtesy of Herman Schnipper

15-17 May 1944
From the Mighty Ninety cruise book:
It all started back in Philadelphia on the 15 th of May 1944 when the majority of the crew reported aboard two days before commissioning. We were all pretty green then, didn’t know much about the Navy or the sea, but we had a job to do and we were determined to do it well. We spent the first two days finding our way around the ship and on the 17 th of May 1944 we were commissioned.

The Astoria commissioning ceremony took place at Philadelphia Navy Yard. 4 th Naval District Commandant Rear Admiral Milo F. Draemel presided. The first watch was set and Astoria became a United States Ship, under command of Captain George C. Dyer and executive officer Commander Erasmus W. Armentrout, Jr.

USS Astoria CL-90 commissioning ceremony and menu programs from 17 May 1944. The drawing portrays a camouflage measure that she would not wear until two years later, after the war was over.
-courtesy of plankowner Jim Peddie

The men who reported aboard USS Astoriaon or before 17 May 1944 were considered "Plankowners," a long-standing U.S. Navy tradition recognizing the commissioning crew of a ship. Following the commissioning ceremony, these men were issued Plankowner's Certificates.

The Plankowner's Certificate of Angelo DeScisciolo, F Division Fire Controlman.
-courtesy of RADM Dominic DeScisciolo, USN ret.

Astoria passes a merchant ship in the Delaware River during her first trial run, 28 May 1944. Schnipper was still using a personal camera while waiting for delivery of his Navy-issue equipment.
-photo taken by and courtesy of Herman Schnipper

Above and below: OS2U Kingfishers training at Naval Air Station Pensacola in 1944. Astoria CL-90 aviators went through Advanced Scout Training in Pensacola prior to the ship's shakedown cruise.
-U.S. Navy photo from Brent Jones collection

-U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Pieter Bakels

6 June 1944
While the Mighty Ninety went through the final preparations for her shakedown, the eyes of the world focused on the French coastal region of Normandy. Overnight, the Allied Expeditionary Force comprised of Canadian, British, and American forces had launched a combined airborne and seaborne invasion of German-occupied France. The invasion would come to be known worldwide as D-Day.

Company E, 16th Infantry, 1st Division soldiers exit an LCVP "Higgins boat" from USS Samuel Chase APA-26 to wade ashore under fire at OMAHA beach, 6 June 1944.
-USCG CPhoM Robert F. Sargent photo from NARA collection

The first known aerial photograph of the commissioned USS Astoria CL-90, 7 June 1944. She is off Brandywine Shoal in final preparation for her shakedown cruise. Her first wartime livery is the light-pattern disruptive measure 33 design 24d. This measure, originally developed for use in the northern Pacific and Aleutian Islands, was intended to disrupt the ship's outline most effectively in hazy, overcast conditions. Astoria is easy to identify in photographs because she was the only cruiser in the Pacific to wear this camouflage measure through March 1945.
-U.S. Navy photo from NARA Records Group 80-G-453306

Quartermaster First Class Darwin D. Stilwell at the portside pelorus during trials in early June 1944.
-photo taken by and courtesy of Herman Schnipper

Bugler 1st Class John T. Thompson during trials in early June 1944.
-photo taken by and courtesy of Herman Schnipper

One week later an operation even larger than D-Day got underway on the opposite side of the globe, illustrating just how far American force projection had come in less than three years. OPERATION FORAGER kicked off with the invasion of Saipan, 15 June 1944. The combined Marianas landings paved the way for the operations Mighty Ninety would play a role in throughout the year that followed. But for the time being, Astoria continued training an ocean away.

USS Astoria trains on refueling from USS Aucilla AO-56 off Norfolk, Virginia on 18 June 1944. Astoria would again meet up with Aucilla when both ships were attached to Task Force 58 in the Western Pacific in 1945.
-photo taken by and courtesy of Herman Schnipper

USS Astoria CL-90 returns to Norfolk in a photo taken from USS Tripoli, 18 June 1944.
-U.S. Navy photo from NARA Records Group 80-G-364894



Allen, Clancy. Private photo collection.

Bakels, Pieter. Private photo collection.

DeScisciolo, Dominic. Private document collection.

U.S. Cruisers: An Illustrated Design History.

Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1984

Jones, Brent. Private document collection.

MIGHTY NINETY: USS ASTORIA CL-90 cruise book. Unk. publisher, 1946.

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