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Conecuh

 

A river in Alabama.

 

The construction of Conecuh (AO-103) was canceled 18 August 1945.

 

(AO: dp. 8,820; l. 584'; b. 72'; dr. 31'; s. 23 k., cpl. 284; a. 8 40mm.; cl. Conecuh)

 

Dithmarschen, a combination oiler and supply vessel, was built by F. Schichau, Danzig, in 1938, for the German Navy. Taken over by British authorities at Bremerhaven when World War II ended, Dithmarschen was allocated to the United States Navy 15 January 1946 by the Inter-Allied Reparations Commission. She was placed in service 2 May 1946 as Dithmarschen (IX-301), with Captain A. W. Maddox, USNR, in charge. Departing Bremerhaven 8 May she arrived at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard 19 May for conversion to a naval vessel. The need for a one-stop oiler-replenishment type ship had been illustrated by the war in the Pacific, and Dithmarschen was used for experimental work in this field since she had been developed specifically for this type of duty. On 1 October her name was changed to Conecuh and she was redesignated AO-110, but lack of funds delayed her conversion and she was placed out of service 24 October.

 

Her classification was changed to AOR-110 on 4 September 1952 and she was converted to a replenishment fleet tanker. Conecuh was commissioned 16 February 1953, Commander M. B. Freeman in command. Following her shakedown in the Virginia Capes, she steamed to Greenock, Scotland to take part in NATO Operation "Mariner" (16 September-20 October). She sailed for a tour of duty with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean (5 March-28 May 1954), then underwent an extensive overhaul at Norfolk (30 June 1954-4 January 1955). She remained at Norfolk except for refueling units at sea, operations in the Caribbean, and off the Florida Keys (25 October-7 November 1955), until decommissioned and transferred to the Maritime Commission for retention in the Maritime Reserve Fleet 3 April 1956. She was stricken from the Navy List on 1 June 1960.

 

Conecuh proved the feasibility of the combination oiler-replenishment ship; experience gained during her operations led to the development of the fast combat support ship (AOE) in the United States Navy.