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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Mauna Kea

 

A volcanic peak in the north‑central section of the island of Hawaii.

 

(AE‑22: dp. 9,540; l. 502'; b. 72'; dr. 29'; s. 21 k.; cpl. 349; a. 4 3"; cl. Suribachi)

 

Mauna Kea (AE‑22) was laid down at the Bethlehem-Sparrows Point Shipyard Inc., Sparrows Point, Md. 6 May 1955; launched 3 May 1956; sponsored by Mrs. Charles R. Brown; and commissioned 30 March 1957, Capt. Kenneth Loveland in command.

 

Following shakedown, Mauna Kea, designed for rapid replenishment of ammunition at sea, reported for duty with ServRon 1 in the eastern Pacific. Into the fall of 1957 she serviced the 1st Fleet and in November made preparations for her first WestPac deployment. Sailing west, she reported to SevRon 3 at Sasebo, Japan, in December and commenced distributing the bullets of “beans, bullets, and black oil” to the ships of the 7th Fleet. From that time until 1965, she rotated between duties with the above‑noted service squadrons, participating while with the 7th Fleet, in SEATO exercises and in joint exercises with Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese Nationalist Forces.

 

On 28 February 1965, the ammunition ship arrived at the Lockheed Shipbuilding & Construction Co. yards, Seattle, Wash. There having reverted to in commission in Reserve status, Mauna Kea commenced FAST (Fast Automatic Shuttle Transfer System) conversion. Completion of this conversion, which would enable her to transfer a “bird” from her hold to the magazine of a missile‑firing ship in 90 seconds and allow her greater versatility in servicing the fleet with the addition of a heliopad for vertical repenishment capabilities, was delayed for 8 months, because of strikes and lack of necessary parts, until June 1966. Then followed a fitting out period and intensive postconversion shakedown exercises, which continued into the fall. By November she was again an active unit of the Pacific Fleet’s Service Force and on 28 December she departed her home port of Concord, Calif., for her ninth WestPac deployment.

 

Traveling westward, Mauna Kea arrived at Subic Bay, Philippine Islands, 9 January 1967 to join ServRon 7. Four days later she departed Subic Bay for her first trip to the line off Vietnam. For the next six months she rearmed carrier groups on Yankee Station and cruisers and destroyers in the Corps’ areas off South Vietnam. At the end of July, she headed north to Japan for a brief visit at Yokosuka before getting underway for California. Arriving at Concord, 22 August, she underwent availability and then commenced participation in fleet and local exercises along the California coast. On 20 February 1968 she departed for her second tour of duty off Vietnam, returning 14 October, for leave and upkeep, after which she will, into 1969, continue servicing the 1st Fleet until setting out for the western Pacific and another tour with the 7th Fleet.