An insect-eating mammal which has an armorlike shell encasing its back and head. Its natural habitat ranges from southern Oklahoma and southern Arkansas into Mexico and Central America. Armadillo is a Spanish word meaning little armored thing and was given to the mammal by early Spanish explorers of North America.
(IX-111: dp. 14,500; l. 441'6"; b. 56'11"; dr. 28'4"; s. 11.0 k.; cpl. 79; a. 1 5", 1 3", 8 20mm.; cl. Armadillo; T. Z-ET1-S-C3)
Sidney Howard was a tanker laid down under a Maritime Commission contract (MCE hull 1900) on 24 September 1943 at Wilmington, Calif., by the California Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 26 October 1943; sponsored by Mrs. S. Howard; renamed Armadillo and designated IX-111; and acquired by the Navy on a bareboat basis and simultaneously placed in commission at San Pedro, Calif., on 18 November 1943, Lt. Michael R. Meyer in command.
Following her commissioning, the vessel began a period of final fitting out and shakedown training off the southern California coast. In January 1944, Armadillo was assigned to Service Force, Pacific Fleet, and sailed for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. From early February through early April 1944, the vessel carried personnel and petroleum products between Pearl Harbor and Tarawa, Gilbert Islands. On 22 April, she reported to Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, where she served as a station tanker through late August. Armadillo then shifted to Ulithi, Caroline Islands, to perform the same duty. This service was broken by trips to Gaum and Saipan in the Mariana Islands and to Peleliu in the Palaus.
Armadillo left Ulithi on 10 April 1945 and shaped a course for Okinawa. She arrived there on 18 April and began providing services to various ships of the Pacific Fleet. On 1 February 1946, the tanker departed Buckner Bay, Okinawa, and headed for the east coast of the United States. She transited the Panama Canal on 13 March and continued on to Norfolk, Va. The vessel reached that port on 23 March and began preparations for her inactivation. Armadillo was decommissioned on 29 May 1946 and, on the same day, was delivered to the Maritime Commission's War Shipping Administration at Lee Hall, Va. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 19 June 1946. The ship was sold later that same year and was converted for merchant service.
Armadillo earned one battle star for her World War II service