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Escambia

 

A river in Georgia and Florida.

 

(AO-80: dp. 5,782; l. 523'6"; b. 68'; dr. 30'10"; s. 15 k.; cpl. 225; a. 1 5", 4 3"; cl. Escambia)

 

Escambia (AO-80) was launched 25 April 1943 by Marinship Corp., Sausalito, Calif.; sponsored by Mrs. Joseph Cooper; and commissioned 28 October 1943, Lieutenant Commander J. M. Paulsson, USNR, in command.

 

After a December 1943 voyage from the west coast to Pearl Harbor with oil cargo, Escambia departed San Francisco 21 January 1944 for Majuro, arriving 9 February. For the next month she fueled ships at Roi and Majuro as the Marshall Islands were assaulted. From 15 March to 30 August, she sailed out of Espiritu Santo, fueling the fast-carrier task force in their raids on the Palaus and during the Hollandia operation.

 

Escambia arrived at Manus 14 September 1944, and sailed out of this port to rendezvous at sea to fuel the carriers as they launched the air strikes preliminary to the assault on the Philippines. She sailed on to Ulithi 25 October, and at this vast fleet anchorage, fueled the carrier task forces as they continued their operations in the Philippines. After a voyage to Eniwetok to reload oil, she sailed from Ulithi 11 December for a west coast overhaul.

 

The oiler returned to Ulithi 18 April 1945, and for the remainder of the war used this as her base as she fueled the carrier task forces supporting the Okinawa invasion, and raiding and bombarding the Japanese home islands. Escambia paid calls to Okinawa and Wakayama Wan to fuel ships at anchor there until leaving Tokyo astern, homeward bound, 4 November. She was decommissioned 20 February 1946, and transferred to the Maritime Commisison for disposal in June. Reacquired in January 1948, she performed no further commissioned service, and was transferred to the Military Sea Transportation Service 18 July 1950.

 

Escambia received five battle stars for World War II service.