A river in south-central California.
(AOG-2: dp. 1,850 (It.); l. 310'9"; b. 48'6"; dr. 15'8"; s. 14 k.; cpl. 133; a. 4 3", 12 20mm., 2 dcp.; cl. Patapsco)
Kern (AOG-2) was laid as Rappahannock by Seattle-Tacoma Ship Building Co., Tacoma, Wash., 25 May 1942; renamed Kern 18 July 1942; launched 7 September 1942; sponsored by Mrs. L. A. Oldin; and commissioned at Seattle, Wash., 9 March 1943, Lt. Comdr. Lewis Williams in command.
Departing Seattle 24 March, Kern arrived San Pedro, Calif., 28 March for shakedown. On 12 April she joined a convoy out of Los Angeles and reached Pearl Harbor the 22d. Loaded with aviation gas and diesel oil, she steamed to Midway between 8 and 12 June. She returned to Pearl Harbor 18 June, and from 27 June to 11 July she made a similar run to Canton and Palmyra Islands.
During the next year Kern continued tanker operations out of Pearl Harbor, supplying American bases on Midway, Canton, and Palmyra I lands with gasoline and oil. Departing Pearl Harbor 19 August 1944, she sailed to Eniwetok, Marshalls, where she arrived 31 August and served as station tanker during September. She departed Eniwetok 5 October and carried gasoline to the Marianas and Ulithi before reaching Kossol Roads, Palaus, 28 October.
From November to July 1945 Kern served as a station tanker at Kossol Roads and as a shuttle tanker to Pele-liu and Angaur. In addition, she made replenishment runs between the Palaus and Ulithi during March, May, and June. Departing Kossol 21 July, she steamed via Ulithi to Guam where she arrived 6 August for overhaul.
Following the end of hostilities in the Pacific, Kern returned to Ulithi 31 August. She steamed to Okinawa from 17 to 21 September and served as station tanker until sailing for Japan 13 October. She reached Hiro Wan, Honshu, 15 September and began refueling ships in support of occupation operations in Japan. She operated along the coast of Japan until 31 January 1946 when she departed Sasebo, Kyushu, for Korea. She arrived Jinsen 2 February, served there as a station tanker, then sailed for Japan 15 April. The veteran tanker arrived Kobe, Honshu, 18 April and resumed refueling duties along the coast of Japan. She decommissioned at Yokosuka, Honshu, 6 August 1946 and was transferred to the Army the same day.
Reacquired by the Navy 1 July 1950, Kern was assigned to MSTS. Manned by a civilian crew, she operated in the Western Pacific. During the effort to repel Communist aggression in Korea, she supplied fighting ships of the mighty 7th Fleet with gasoline and oil. After the end of the Korean conflict, she continued to operate in the Pacific as the might of U.S. seapower sought to keep the peace in the tense Far East. She was inactivated at San Francisco in September 1956 and was berthed in the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, Calif., from 28 September to 30 April 1957. During the late spring and throughout the summer of 1957 she returned to tanker duty for Naval replenishment operations in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska. She was again inactivated at San Francisco 1 October. She entered the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay and remained under MSTS control until 10 April 1958 when she was transferred to the Maritime Administration. At present she remains berthed at Suisan Bay, Calif.