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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Marias

 

A river in Montana.

 

(AO‑57: dp. 7,470; l. 533'; b. 75'; dr. 32'4"; s. 18 k.; cpl. 315; a. 15", 4 311; cl. Cimarron; T. T3‑S2‑A1.)

 

Marias (AO‑57), built under Maritime Commission contract by Bethlehem‑Sparrows Point Shipyard, Inc., Sparrows Point Md., was launched 21 December 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Henry Williams; and acquired and commissioned 12 February 1944, Comdr. Jens G. Olsen in command.

 

Marias completed her shakedown cruise in Chesapeake Bay 8 March and 10 days later was underway to Aruba, Netherlands West Indies. She loaded fuel oil and proceeded on to the Pacific. By 18 April she was anchored in Majuro Atoll, where she remained 6 weeks, fueling the ships participating in strikes against the Marianas and the Carolines.

 

On 3 June, the tanker sailed to Eniwetok to refuel fighting ships. Returning to Majuro on the 12th, she loaded for the upcoming Saipan assault, On the fueling station by the 21st, she remained through 3 July, servicing the ships covering the Saipan operation, including those returning from victory in the carrier Battle of the Philippine Sea.

 

After replenishing at Eniwetok, she sailed back to the Marianas to support the invasions of Guam and Tinian. On 20 August she proceeded from Eniwetok in convoy to Manus, to refuel ships moving against the Japanese in the Philippines, Volcano, Bonin, and Palau Islands. In mid‑October, she began to operate in support of the 3d Fleet, providing the fuel for their strikes on the Visayan Islands and the ensuing Battle for Leyte Gulf.

 

At the end of October, Marias commenced operations at her new base, Ulithi. Two weeks later, as the campaign in the Philippines moved north, Marias loaded her tanks and sailed for those islands to fuel the ships conducting strikes on Luzon. During the next 212 months she remained in Philippine waters refueling, returning periodically to Ulithi for replenishment.

 

Marias next fueled the ships of the 5th Fleet as they bombarded Iwo Jima and conducted raids on the Japanese homeland. On 24 February 1945, 5 days after the landings at Iwo Jima, the tanker returned to Ulithi to prepare for the Okinawa campaign. She arrived at the fueling area off Okinawa 16 March for the preinvasion air and sea bombardment. For the next 3 months she serviced the ships engaged in the bitterly fought operation making fast run to Ulithi for replenishment.

 

On 3 July the veteran tanker departed Ulithi for her last wartime operation. Nine days later she took up station in the fueling area east of Honshu fueling the fleet as it struck at the enemy’s home islands delivering the final blows of the war.

 

Following the signing of the surrender terms, Marias entered Tokyo Bay, remaining there, with the exception of a voyage to Ulithi for fuel, until departing for the United States 27 October 1945.

 

Marias arrived San Pedro 10 November, underwent yard overhaul and departed again for the western Pacific 5 February 1946. There she supported American occupational forces in the Far East until June 1947. During this period she served as a station tanker for 2‑month periods at Taku, Hong Kong, and Shanghai and, operating out of Yokosuka, made five runs to the Persian Gulf in addition to regular fueling assignments.

 

On 1 June, Marias sailed for San Pedro for another overhaul, followed by two round‑the‑world cruises, completing the second in April 1948. For the next 4 years, with one interruption—a cruise to Bahrein, 27 July to 9 October 1950—the ship delivered fuel from the west coast to Pearl Harbor and Alaskan ports.

 

On 19 November 1952, Marias departed San Francisco for her first deployment with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. The following years brought further 6‑mouth deployments as a “white oiler,” a supplier of aircraft fuel to the oilers that serviced the fleet. On 9 May 1955, she was assigned indefinitely to the Mediterranean, home ported at Barcelona, Spain, and for the ensuing years operated as part of Service Force, 6th Fleet.

 

Reassigned to the east coast in July 1960, Marias was home ported at Norfolk, Va., and attached to the 2d Fleet as a fleet oiler. Since that time she has operated primarily with ASW forces in the western Atlantic and into 1969 has periodically deployed to serve the 6th fleet (1962, 1964, 1965, and 1968). Her 1962 deployment was followed by a Caribbean cruise to support the ships enforcing the quarantine policy during the Cuban missile crisis of October‑November of that year. Other activities during this period have included participation in exercises such as “Sea Orbit 1964”; operation “Steel Pike,” the largest peacetime amphibious landing in history (fall 1964); and operation “Springboard” (1965 and 1967). These exercises have ensured her capability to perform her vital services whenever and wherever called for.

 

Marias received eight battle stars for World War II service.