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Amphion

 

In Greek mythology—a son of Zeus and Antiope—joined his twin brother, Zethus, in capturing Thebes. They then fortified the city by the labor-saving and melodious—not to mention novel—method of charming the stones into place with a lyre.

 

II

 

(AR-13: dp. 17,600 (f.); 1. 492'; b. 69'6"; dr. 26'6" (max.); s. 16.5 k.; cpl. 921; a. 2 5", 8 40mm., 22 20mm.; cl. Amphion)

 

The second Amphion (AR-13) was laid down on 20 September 1944 at Tampa, Fla., by the Tampa Shipbuilding Co., Inc.; launched on 15 May 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Howard D. Orem, the wife of Capt. Howard D. Orem, the aide and flag secretary to Admiral Ernest J. King; and commissioned at her builder's yard on 30 January 1946, Capt. Noble W. Abrahams in command.

 

Designed and built to carry out a primary mission of making emergency and routine repairs to ships of the fleet during periods of technical availability, Amphion was equipped with a wide variety of repair shops: shipfitter, carpentry, pipe and copper, sheet metal, welding, canvas, watch, optical, foundry—in short, facilities that employed skilled artificers capable of repairing hardware from precision watches to heavy machinery and hulls. "These shops are limited in what they can do," boasts an early history of Amphion, "only by the size of their equipment." Her modern engineering plant could generate enough electricity for not only herself but ships moored alongside undergoing repairs. Her distilling plant could produce water for herself and for other vessels.

 

Following shakedown in the Chesapeake Bay area and availability at her builder's yard, Amphion joined the Atlantic Fleet's service force and was homeported at Norfolk, Va. Operating at and out of Norfolk and Newport, R.I., for the first decade of her service, she provided her vital repair services principally on the east coast of the United States. She also deployed to Bermuda on occasion, as well as to bases in Newfoundland and the Caribbean, carrying out port visits to such places as Ciudad Trujillo, the Dominican Republic; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

 

During the summers of 1957 and 1958 Amphion deployed to the Mediterranean, servicing ships of the 6th Fleet and visiting ports in France, Greece, Crete, Sicily, and the Balearic Islands. Through the 1960s she operated along the Atlantic coast of the United States. In 1965, she supported naval contingency operations off the Dominican Republic; and, in 1968, she visited ports in Scotland and England.

 

Amphion departed Norfolk for the last time under the stars and stripes on 18 August 1971. After visiting Recife, Brazil (29 to 31 August), and Mombasa, Kenya (18 to 22 September), the repair ship reached her destination, Bandar Abbas, Iran, on 28 September. Decommissioned on 2 October 1971, Amphion was turned over to the Imperial Iranian Navy on that day. Renamed Chah Bahar to honor an Iranian port on the Gulf of Oman, the ship was first commanded in Iranian service by Lt. Comdr. Arabshahi and based at Bandar Abbas. Purchased outright on 1 March 1977, Amphion's name was stricken from the Navy list. Chah Bahar remained in service with the Iranian Navy into 1985.

 

 

Amphion (AR-13), at anchor in Caribbean waters, circa 1960. (NH 96656)