(AO-165: dp. 31,300 (f.); 1. 615'; b. 80'; dr. 32'; s. 20 k.; cpl. 47; cl. American Explorer; T. T5-S-RM2a)
American Explorer (AO-165) was laid down on 9 July 1957 at Pascagoula, Miss., by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp.; launched on 11 April 1958; and completed on 27 October 1959. Upon completion, the tanker was placed in service with the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS), though operated under contract by a commercial shipping firm. American Explorer hauled petroleum products for the Navy for a quarter of a century. She operated most frequently between Atlantic coast naval bases and oil ports in the Gulf of Mexico-Caribbean Sea region. On 30 September 1978, she was reclassified a transport oiler and redesignated AOT-165. American Explorer's support missions for the Navy came to an end in September 1984 when she entered the Maritime Administration's Ready Reserve Fleet berthed at Beaumont, Tex. As of the beginning of 1987, the tanker remained at Beaumont.