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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Hyades

 

A cluster of stars in the constellation Taurus, including Aldebaran, shaped like the letter "V".

 

(AF-28: dp. 7,700 It.; l. 468'9"; b. 63'; dr. 25'11"; s. 16 k.; cpl. 252; a. 1 5", 4 3"; cl. Hyades; T. C2-S-E1)

 

Hyades (AF-28), ex.-Iberville, was launched under Maritime Commission contract by Gulf Shipbuilding Co., Chickasaw, Ala., 12 June 1943; sponsored by Mrs. L. R. Sanford; and commissioned at Bethlehem Steel, Baltimore, after conversion, 1 August 1944; Comdr. M. C. Wheyland in command.

 

Hyades got underway 11 September 1944 for Trinidad and the Panama Canal, escorted by destroyer Warrington. In the Caribbean the ships encountered a severe hurricane ; by 13 September Warrington was foundering. The heavy weather had separated the two ships; when the destroyer went down, Hyades proceeded to her last known position to pick up survivors. She rescued 61 'before proceeding to Panama, where she arrived119 September.

 

The refrigerator ship steamed to Majuro to supply the fleet with foodstuffs 10 October, touching at Kwajalein, Eniwetok, and other bases before returning to San Francisco. Underway again 1 December 1944, the ship made two more voyages to the advance bases and the Philippines with stores, returning to Seattle from the second cruise 13 April 1945. 'She continued on this duty, so vital to the support of our huge Pacific fleet, until well after the surrender of Japan. In addition to supplying ships she brought food and supplies to many shore bases.

 

In 1946 Hyades brought supplies to American ground troops in China, spending March at Tsingtao and April at Hong Kong. In 1947 she continued to support the efforts to protect American interests and establish democracy in that troubled country, spending several months at Shanghai. Thereafter operating out of San Francisco, Hyades became a familiar sight to the various occupation groups and island outposts in the Pacific.

 

The ship sailed through the Panama Canal to Norfolk to join the Atlantic Fleet, arriving 14 June 1948. She departed for her first cruise to the Mediterranean 12 July 1948, during which she operated with the fast Carrier forces serving as a mobile replenishment ship. During this troubled period, 1948-1955, U.S. fleet units did much to protect freedom in the area, notably in Greece and Turkey ; Hyades brought supplies and showed the flag in many Mediterranean ports, including Piraeus, Naples, Valencia, and Gibraltar.

 

As tension mounted in the Mediterranean in early 1956, Hyades replenished destroyers patrolling the eastern Mediterranean, returning to Norfolk 28 February. She later rendezvoused with powerful fleet units in July, including Iowa, New Jersey, Des Moines, and Macon, as American naval power moved in to prevent the widening of the Suez crisis. In April of 1957 the ship replenished carrier Lake Champlain during moves to support the threatened government of Jordan and took part in an important NATO fleet exercise during September-October in northern European waters.

 

In the years that followed, Hyades continued to support the 6th Fleet in its cold war operations, keeping the peace in the Mediterranean. During August-September 1958, she visited Crete and Turkey when the latter country was threatened. In 1959, she sailed 11 May for fleet replenishment in response to the heightened Berlin crisis, effectively showing American might and determination. The veteran stores ship returned twice more to the Mediterranean in 1959, and again in 1960 and 1961.

 

Hyades responded quickly in the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, arriving at Guantanamo Bay 22 October to evacuate dependents as the introduction of offensive missiles forced a naval quarantine of the island. After the safe evacuation, the ship returned to the quarantine line for underway replenishment of the ships patrolling off Cuba. After the easing of the situation in December, Hyades entered Home Bros. Shipyard in Newport News, Va., for the installation of a helicopter deck aft to increase her versatility and replenishment capabilities.

 

During 1963 the ship cruised with the 6th Fleet in July and August. In 1964 she took part in Operation Springboard in the Caribbean, returning to Norfolk 1 February 1964. Hyades continued to serve the Fleet through the mid 1960's and in the Fall of 1967 was based at Norfolk, Va.