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Chepachet

 

A river in Rhode Island.

 

(AO-78: dp. 5,782; l. 520'; b. 68'; dr. 30'10"; s. 15 k.; cpl. 232; a. 1 5", 4 3"; cl. Suamico)

 

Chepachet (AO-78) was launched 10 March 1943 by Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Chester, Pa., under a Maritime Commission contract; sponsored by Mrs. I. G. Klemmer; commissioned 27 April 1943, Lieutenant Commander H. R. Adams in command; and reported to the Atlantic Fleet.

 

Between 27 July 1943 and 19 June 1944, Chepachet supported military and naval operations in North Africa and the Mediterranean by crossing the Atlantic in five convoys, carrying oil from West Indian and Gulf ports to Casablanca and Oran. On 15 July 1944, Chepachet cleared Aruba, N.W.I., laden with oil, and on 17 August reached Humboldt Bay, New Guinea, for duty fueling combatant ships, small craft, and merchantmen.

 

Assigned a key support role in the invasion of the Philippines, Chepachet left New Guinea astern 12 October 1944, steering for Kossol Roads and final preparations for the assault. She arrived in Leyte Gulf 23 October, bringing her vital assistance to the ships which fought the Japanese to a decisive victory in the Battle for Leyte Gulf (23-26 October). During the fury of the days that followed, Chepachet transferred fuel to 34 different ships, some of them several times, as her men manned antiaircraft guns as well as fueling lines. Chepachet steamed south to Kossol Roads, reloaded from 30 October to 4 November, and returned to Leyte Gulf with her badly needed cargo to conduct fueling operations from 7 to 10 November.

 

Between 14 November 1944, when she returned to New_ Guinea, and 27 December, when she sailed for the Philippines, Chepachet served at various South Pacific ports as station oiler, receiving oil brought in by naval and merchant tankers, and transferring it to combatants. Arriving at Mindoro, P.I., 8 January 1946, Chepachet sailed on to fueling operations in Lingayen Gulf on 11 January, when she aided those ships which had just carried out the successful assaults there. On 15 January she reported at newly won San Fabian for station tanker duty, which continued there and at Mindanao until 4 June. The oiler then put to sea for the Borneo operation, sailing to Tawi Tawi for staging. From 21 to 25 June Chepachet was at sea fueling the bombardment group which carried out an intensive preparatory pounding at Balikpapan, and on 30 June, the oiler returned to Balikpapan for the assault the next day. She remained off the Borneo coast until 19 July, supporting the assault and occupation, then returned to Subic Bay for operations in the Luzon area until the close of the war.

 

Chepachet aided in occupation and redeployment operations throughout the Far East with station duty at Jinsen, Korea; Hong Kong; Okinawa; and Tokyo until 9 December 1945, when she sailed for Pearl Harbor. She returned to Yokohama 29 January, offloaded her cargo, and sailed for home 4 February. Arriving at San Francisco 21 February, Chepachet was decommissioned 15 May 1946, and in July 1950 was transferred to the Military Sea Transportation Service for service in a noncommissioned status.

 

Chepachet received two battle stars for World War II service.