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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Millicoma

 

A tributary of the Coos River in southwestern Oregon.

 

(AO‑73: dp. 5,782; l. 523'6"; b. 68'; dr. 29'11"; s. 15 k.; cpl. 251; a. 1 5", 4 3", 4 40mm., 12 20mm.; cl. Suamico; T. T2‑SE‑A1)

 

Millicoma (AO‑73) was laid down as King’s Mountain under Maritime Commission contract by Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Chester, Pa., 4 August 1942; subsequently renamed Conestoga; launched as Millicoma 21 January 1943; sponsored by Mrs. M. G. Hogan; acquired by the Navy 30 January 1943; converted for Navy use by Maryland Drydock Co., Baltimore, Md.; and commissioned at Baltimore 5 March 1943, Lt. Comdr. George E. Ely in command.

 

For more than 2 years Millicoma provided valuable at-sea logistics support as the might of American seapower moved westward across the Pacific to crush the warring Japanese Empire. Refueling and replenishment operations sent her throughout the Pacific to the islands of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia as well as to the home islands of Japan. During her Pacific service she refueled scores of ships ranging in size from battleships and aircraft carriers to destroyers and auxiliaries. She transferred thousands of barrels of oil and thousands of gallons of gasoline to the fighting ships of the fleet and thus helped the Navy press to a successful conclusion a sea war of the aggressor’s own making.

 

Departing Norfolk, Va., 20 April 1943, Millicoma steamed via the Dutch West Indies and the Panama Canal to carry a cargo of fuel oil and gasoline to the Fiji Islands. During the remainder of 1943 she continued to carry vital liquid cargoes to American bases in the South Pacific. Operating out of San Pedro, Calif., she made several runs to the Society Islands, the New Hebrides, New Caldonia, and New Zealand. Thence, after completing a round trip to Hawaii and back, she departed San Pedro 13 January 1944 to begin supporting the Navy’s series of brilliant island‑hopping campaigns.

 

Millicoma refueled ships off the Marshalls prior to and during the invasion; thence, arriving Majuro 4 February, she served as station oiler in the Marshalls until sailing for the New Hebrides 2 March. Between 31 March and 15 April she cruised north of the Solomons and refueled ships of TF 58 following intensive air strikes in the western Carolines. After returning to San Pedro 9 May, she underwent overhaul and on 20 June sailed to resume fleet oiler duty in the Marshalls.

 

Early in July she cruised for similar duty in the Marianas, and during the next month she supported fleet operations off Tinian, Guam, and Rota. She returned to Eniwetok 12 August, and between 26 and 31 August steamed to the Admiralties for duty with the At Sea Logistics Support Group (TG 30.8). Early in September she refueled ships of the fast carrier task force during sweeping, hard‑hitting strikes from the Palaus to the southern Philippines.

 

Millicoma returned to the west coast 19 October. Departing San Pedro 1 December, she steamed via Pearl Harbor and Eniwetok to Ulithi where she resumed duty with TG 30.8. She sortied 3 January 1945 and during the next 3 weeks cruised the replenishment areas in the western Pacific and refueled the fast carriers during far‑reaching operations against Japanese installations on Luzon, Formosa, China, Indochina, and the Ryukyus.

 

Millicoma served out of Ulithi during the remainder of World War II as she continued a busy pace of fleet replenishment operations which carried her to the heart of the Japanese Empire. In late February and early March she replenished ships during the conquest of Iwo Jima. Besides fuel, she provided ships with foodstuffs, medical supplies, ammunition, and mail. Thence, beginning 13 March, she sailed on the first of four major fueling operations in support of the invasion and conquest of Okinawa. She carried out additional deployments 30 March, 22 April, and 30 May, and each of the four runs lasted about 2 weeks. While cruising with TG 30.8 on the fourth deployment, she battled typhoon seas 4‑5 June. Sixty‑foot waves and winds in excess of 100 knots destroyed her fueling booms and cracked her foremast. She returned to Ulithi 11 June for repairs, thence departed for Okinawa 28 June to begin shuttling fuel to the newest of the American bases in the western Pacific. She completed two round trips to the Ryukyus and returned to Ulithi where she received news of Japanese capitulation.

 

Millicoma steamed to Japanese waters 8 September and refueled minesweep and support ships off Sasebo, Kyushu. She replenished more than 60 ships in less than 2 days. She arrived Sasebo the 29th to continue logistics support of minesweeping operations, and between 22 and 25 October she refueled ships in the Yellow Sea along the coast of Korea.

 

Millicoma arrived San Francisco 19 November, and decommissioned there 21 February 1946. Her name was struck from the Navy list 12 March, and she was transferred to the Maritime Commission in June. Reacquired by the Navy in February 1948 for use as a naval tanker, she was transferred to MSTS 1 October 1949. Her name was reinstated on the Navy list 28 April 1950.

 

Since 1949 Millicoma, has supported the worldwide shield of American seapower and the defense of the free world. Manned by a civilian crew, she has operated under MSTS on a contract charter basis to carry liquid cargoes along the coasts of the United States and to American bases overseas. Between June 1952 and June 1954, she bolstered the sea supply lines between Japan and South Korea. Since the Korean conflict she has continued wide‑ranging fueling runs under MSTS, primarily in the Atlantic and the Caribbean. Into late fiscal year 1969 she maintains her schedule of chartered runs out of east coast ports.

 

Millicoma received eight battle stars for World War II service.