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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND
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Enoree

 

A river in South Carolina.

 

(AO-69: displacement 5,782; length 501'8"; beam 68'; draft 30'8"; speed 15 knots; complement 244; armament (February 1945) 1 5", 4 3", 8 40 millimeter, 8 20 millimeter, 2 depth charge projectors; class Chiwawa; Type T3-S-A1)

 

The tanker Sachem – laid down under a Maritime Commission contract (MC Hull No. 517) on 8 April 1942 at Sparrows Point, Maryland, by the Bethlehem Steel Company; and launched on 29 August 1942 – was renamed Enoree and designated as a fuel oil tanker (AO-69) on 17 September 1942. Acquired by the Navy on 23 January 1943, Enoree was commissioned the same day, Commander William S. Campbell in command.

 

Departing Baltimore on 27 January 1943 for Norfolk, Virginia, her conversion having been completed the previous day, Enoree proceeded thence to Tompkinsville, Staten Island, New York, arriving on 3 March, where she was involved in a minor collision with oiler Sapelo (AO-11). While Enoree suffered no damage in the mishap, Sapelo required minor repairs. Shifting thence to the waters off Ambrose Light, Enoree, escorted by destroyer Niblack (DD-424) sailed on 8 March for Hampton Roads, arriving the following day.  Her loading delayed, however, she returned to New York, arriving on 17 March. She ultimately sailed on her maiden transatlantic run on 1 April, departing the east coast with Task Force (TF) 69 as it escorted convoy UGS-7, and arriving at its destination, Casablanca, French North Africa, on 19 April.  Enoree returned to the United States, via Gibraltar (22-23 April), with convoy GUS-6A, reaching Norfolk on 10 May.

 

Enoree shuttled between Norfolk and Aruba, Netherlands West Indies, and Port Arthur, Texas, for the balance of May and through mid-June 1943 before she sailed from Hampton Roads with TF-62, the escort for convoy UGS-11, on 27 June 1943, bound, once more, for Casablanca, which she reached on 18 July. Sailing for home with convoy GUS-10 on 23 July, she paused briefly at Bermuda, shepherded by destroyer escorts Pope (DE-134) and Walter S. Brown (DE-258), ultimately arriving back in Hampton Roads on 11 August.  Subsequently, she made her third voyage to Casablanca, that time with TF-61 as it escorted UGS-16, arriving at its destination on 13 September, and returning home with GUS-15.

 

Putting in to New York with that section of GUS-15 on 4 October 1943, Enoree then made her first voyage to Belfast, Ireland, with TF-69 as it escorted troop convoy UT-4, departing the east coast of the United States on 21 October and reaching its destination on 31 October. Returning to New York on 18 November, she dropped down the coast to Norfolk, arriving there on 23 November with the New York section of convoy UGS-25. She then shuttled between Norfolk and Houston and Port Arthur into the second week of January 1944. Ultimately, she returned to New York on 22 January 1944 and there joined TF-60, the escort force for the troop convoy UT-8, sailing for the United Kingdom on 12 February.  Three days later, during the passage, Enoree topped off the escort force’s destroyers.

 

Returning to New York from Belfast on 9 March 1944, Enoree departed that port on 11 March with the New York section of UGS-36, and reached Norfolk on 12 March.  Less than a fortnight later, on 26 March 1944, she was earmarked for future assignment to Service Squadron Eight, Pacific Fleet. Enoree remained at Norfolk into late April, and received an overhaul during that time, the work being completed on 15 April. Plans for her conversion to a crane vessel having been contemplated since at least early December 1943, she was the recipient of a 160-ton capacity crane during that period of yard work. The fuel oil tanker departed Norfolk on 25 April 1944 with the similarly derrick-configured Niobrara (AO-72), escorted by destroyer Paul Hamilton (DD-590).  Pausing briefly at Aruba (30 April-1 May), Enoree pushed on for the Canal Zone, reaching her destination on 3 May. After transiting the Panama Canal, she cleared Balboa and reported for duty with the Pacific Fleet on 5 May, bound for Oahu, Territory of Hawaii.

 

Arriving at Pearl Harbor on 19 May 1944, Enoree sailed in convoy for the Marshall Islands on 27 May. Arriving at Eniwetok on 5 June, the ship dispensed fuel oil and ammunition to ships present on a daily basis over the next twelve days.  Departing Eniwetok on 17 June with Task Unit (TU) 16.7.6, Enoree conducted fueling operations at sea subsequently. Detached from TG 60.17 upon completion of those services, she returned to Eniwetok, escorted by Parks (DE-165), dropping anchor on 1 July. Enoree based out of Eniwetok over the next three months, proceeding to sea at intervals to conduct logistical work as required, those and the previous evolutions in support of the unfolding campaign to secure the Marianas, and, subsequently, the western Carolines.

 

Enoree shifted her base of operations to Ulithi, in the recently secured western Carolines, sailing from Eniwetok on 8 October 1944 and arriving at her destination on 13 October.  From Ulithi, she supported the 3rd Fleet (Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr.) as it carried of its devastating attacks against Formosa, the coast of China, and in the Nansei Shoto group during January 1945; ultimately departing the western Carolines on 7 February 1945, she reached Saipan, in the Marianas, two days later.  She remained there until 30 March, when she got underway to return to Ulithi, arriving on 1 April as operations began against Okinawa, in the Ryukyus.

 

With the establishment of a logistics base at Kerama Retto, Enoree sailed for that place on 3 April 1945, taking up her duties there a week later, on 10 April. Departing Kerama Retto three days later, the fuel oil tanker returned to Ulithi on 20 April, where she remained until 24 May. Joining TU 30.18.11 on 31 May, Enoree discharged fuel oil, aviation gasoline, and discharged some of her crew to the mobile storage tanker Marmora (IX‑189) for transportation. Arriving at Okinawa on 1 June, she got underway the following day for the fueling rendezvous off Hagushi beach, fueled a convoy underway, and then returned whence she had come. Departing Okinawa on 5 June, she returned to Ulithi to load a cargo of oil, arriving on 11 June.  She shuttled to Kerama Retto and back into mid-July. After having loaded a cargo of fuel oil from the merchant tanker Skullbar, Enoree sailed from Ulithi on 19 July for Okinawa in convoy UOK-39, and resumed operations in Buckner Bay soon thereafter.  In addition to her regular fueling duties, large cruiser Guam (CB-2) being one of her customers, Enoree, with her heavy-lift capacity, easily unloaded five 27-ton pontoon barges for the medium landing ship LSM-329 on 26 July, and on 5 August, lifted the 105-ton tank landing craft LCT-591 from the deck of tank landing ship LST-534.

 

Enoree departed Okinawa on 6 August 1945 with convoy OKU-17, arriving at Ulithi on 10 August, only to put to sea again, Okinawa-bound with convoy UOK-48 on 14 August, the day that Japan accepted the provisions of the Potsdam Declaration and agreed to surrender.  The cessation of hostilities, however, and the occupation of the former enemy’s homeland required Enoree’s presence in the Pacific (and cancelled her projected 15 July-1 September 1945 San Pedro, California, overhaul). The fuel oil tanker thus shuttled back and forth between Okinawa and Ulithi into the autumn, departing Buckner Bay on 5 October 1945 for Japanese waters to support the occupation. Enoree then operated out of Kure, Hiro Wan, Yokohama, Yokosuka, Sasebo, and Wakayama; departing the last-named place on 19 December 1945, the fuel oil tanker arrived off Okinawa two days before Christmas of 1945. She remained there until sailing for Guam, in the Marianas, on 18 March 1946.

 

Proceeding thence via Manila, Philippine Islands, and a brief six-hour liberty call at Singapore, Straits Settlements, Enoree ultimately reached Bahrein, in the Persian Gulf, to load a cargo of fuel, on 15 May 1946.  Sailing for Manila on 17 May, the ship called at Ceylon (24-26 May) en route, and arrived in Philippine waters on 3 June.  Assigned to the Repair and Service Unit (TU 1.8.1) of Joint Task Force (JTF) 1, for Operation Crossroads, the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll, Enoree departed Manila on 4 June, and arrived at Bikini on 13 June. She provided fuel for the other units assigned to the work there for the next two weeks before shifting to Kwajalein on 29 June. During Test Able, on 1 July, she lay at Kwajalein, about 155 miles southeast of Bikini, and because of the favorable weather conditions and the relatively small size of the bomb, received no contamination from the atomic blast. Underway on 3 July, Enoree returned to Bikini the following day, and remained anchored there until the second dog watch on 13 July, when she again got underway to return to Kwajalein. Reaching her destination the following afternoon, she replenished her fuel supplies there and then set course for Bikini on the 16th, arriving the following morning. Between 20 and 23 July, she supplied oil to various units of the task force. Underway late in the afternoon watch on 24 July, Enoree was underway the following morning (25 July) in company with destroyer tender Dixie (AD-14), and observed Test Baker, the shallow underwater detonation, from a distance in excess of 17 miles. Enoree ultimately returned to Bikini lagoon during the morning watch on 29 July, and resumed dispensing fuel oil, a vital logistical task that occupied her throughout much of the month of August.  She left Bikini for the last time on 24 August, when she sailed for Kwajalein, arriving the next day. A radiological monitoring team boarded the ship on the morning of 28 August, and declared her radiologically safe, clearing her to sail. She was detached from Crossroads on 29 August.

 

After a brief visit to Eniwetok (29 August-3 September 1946), Enoree departed Kwajalein for Pearl Harbor with the barrack ship APL-30 in tow on 7 September 1946, delivering her charge upon arrival on the 20th.  Departing Pearl a week later (27 September), the oiler reached San Francisco, her decontamination port, on 4 October. Assigned a restricted availability commencing 14 November at Mare Island Naval Shipyard for urgent repairs to her number one boiler, with other work to be performed by the repair ship Cebu (ARG-6), Enoree received operational and radiological clearance by 11 December. Departing San Francisco three days before Christmas of 1946, the oiler reached San Diego the following day, where she remained into 1947.

 

With the floating workshop YR-37 in tow, Enoree sailed from San Diego on 2 January 1947 for Panama. Transiting the Canal Zone between 13 and 16 January, and reporting for duty with the Service Force, Atlantic Fleet, the oiler dropped off her charge at Charleston, South Carolina, on 26 January. Pushing on the same day for Norfolk, the ship paused briefly at that port (28-29 January) before sailing for her ultimate destination, the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, which she reached on 30 January to begin preparations to join the inactive reserve fleet. Placed out of commission, in reserve, on 27 May 1947, with preservation 37% completed, Enoree was formally inactivated on 23 June 1947.

 

Ordered activated on 7 August 1950, Enoree, preparations to return her to active service still in progress, was recommissioned at Philadelphia on 18 October 1950, Commander Samuel H. Pattie in command. After a brief visit to Norfolk (8 November-14 December), Enoree returned to Philadelphia on the latter date and continued fitting out into the new year. Sailing from her activation yard on 25 January 1951, the ship paused at Norfolk (26 January-2 February) before pushing on for Panama. Transiting the Panama Canal on 9-10 February, Enoree reached Pearl Harbor on 26 February.

 

Reassigned to the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) on 30 March 1951, she would operate as USNS Enoree (T-AO-69) for the remainder of her operational service. Having reported to Commander (Com) MSTS for operational control and ComMSTS, Pacific, for administrative control, meanwhile, Enoree departed Pearl on 31 March 1951 for San Francisco, arriving at that west coast port on 7 April. Her departure thence delayed until 28 April, the ship sailed for Balboa on that date, and retransited the isthmian waterway, Aruba-bound, 8-9 May 1951. Over the remainder of the year 1951, Enoree picked up petroleum cargoes at Aruba; Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania; Houston and Port Arthur; and Perth Amboy, New Jersey, delivering them to Norfolk; Melville and Newport, Rhode Island; Savannah, Georgia; Boston, and Guantanamo Bay, Roosevelt Roads and Trinidad. She wound up the year in the New York Naval Shipyard (8 November 1951), where she remained into 1952.

 

Enoree visited New York City (10-15 January 1952), Leonardo, New Jersey (15-16 January) and Norfolk (17-28 January) before she returned to the West Indies, and her first visit to Aruba for the year for 1952 (2-3 February), steaming thence to the Canal Zone. She transited the Panama Canal (4-6 February), departing Balboa on the latter date for Galveston, which she reached on 10 February. Remaining there until 20 February, Enoree then visited Freeport, at the mouth of the Brazos (Texas) River, before she proceeded on to return to the Canal Zone, bound for the west coast of the United States. Transiting the isthmian waterway on 26-27 February 1952, she reached El Segundo, California, on 8 March; she operated in the El Segundo-Long Beach-San Diego area until 28 March, when she took departure for Panama, transiting the Canal on 5 April. After shuttling between Aruba and Guantanamo Bay, Enoree loaded a cargo of oil at Aruba and sailed for Norfolk, and thence to the northward, to Thule, Greenland (30 June-13 August 1952) and Argentia, Newfoundland (30-31August). After a period at New York (3-19 September), the tanker sailed once more for Aruba, and during the autumn of 1952 carried cargoes between that port and San Juan, Puerto Rico (twice), Trinidad, Roosevelt Roads; Coco Solo, Canal Zone; and Norfolk. During December, she made two round trips between Aruba and Guantanamo. Ultimately reaching New York six days before Christmas of 1952, Enoree remained there into the second week of March 1953.

 

During 1953, Enoree voyaged to and from Aruba ten times, Houston five times and Port Arthur once, calling at Norfolk eleven times, Mayport and Key West, Florida; Melville; New York; and Cristobal, Canal Zone, once apiece; the only variation to the usual succession of United States ports was Hvalfjordur, Iceland (1-4 October 1953). Offloading at Earle, New Jersey (19 January 1954), Enoree entered the Todd Plant, Erie Basin, yard at Brooklyn, New York, the same day, for overhaul; she remained there until 9 March 1954.

 

Enoree continued shuttling between oil ports like Aruba, Houston and Galveston, and locales of fleet activity like Gonaives, Haiti, San Juan, Melville (twice), Key West, and Norfolk (twice) into the spring of 1954.  On 5 May 1954, however, she received word that, effective 11 May, her home yard was to be changed from Norfolk to Long Beach. Departing Norfolk for the last time on 12 May, Enoree transited the Panama Canal (17-19 May) and reached San Francisco on 29 May, where she remained until 5 August. Underway for Long Beach on that date, the tanker reached her destination the next day, and remained there for four months, her inactivity reflecting decreased military shipping requirements. Underway for San Diego on 7 December, she arrived at that port the next day.  She was decommissioned and placed in the San Diego group of the Pacific Reserve Fleet on 10 December 1954.

 

Ordered activated and transferred to MSTS on 6 November 1956, Enoree was recommissioned on 10 December 1956 at Long Beach Naval Shipyard, Commander Richard H. Tibbets in command. She sailed to begin her third tour of active service two days after Christmas of 1956. Transiting the Panama Canal on 4 January 1957, the oiler reached Aruba three days later.  Over the months that followed, Enoree conducted seven voyages from Aruba to Norfolk, three to Guantanamo Bay, one to Jacksonville, Florida, and one to Cristobal. In addition, she made one deployment to the Mediterranean, departing Aruba on 5 April 1957 and reaching the Bay of Pozzuoli, west of Naples, Italy, on 21 April.  Port visits to Amuay, Venezuela (11-12 June) and New York (19-21 June and 14 August to 2 September) punctuated those routine voyages in the summer of 1957. Her final visit to New York occurred between 25 September and 16 October 1957, after which she sailed on her final voyage, proceeding via Sabine Pass and Port Arthur, and arriving at Orange, Texas, on 22 October 1957, where she was decommissioned and placed in reserve the same day. She was transferred to Maritime Administration custody at Beaumont, Texas, on 13 November 1957.

 

Stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 February 1959, Enoree remained in the National Defense Reserve Fleet’s Beaumont berthing area until sold for scrap on 27 April 1976 to Luria Brothers and Company, Inc., of Cleveland, Ohio.

 

Enoree received five battle stars for her World War II service in the Pacific theater.


15 August 2005