A city in southwestern Tennessee; so named because it is situated upon the Mississippi River in a manner similar to the capital city of the Old Kingdom of ancient Egypt on the Nile. In the Civil War, Memphis fell 6 June 1862 to Union naval forces led by Flag Officer Charles H. Davis and was an important Federal base for the rest of the war. The first Memphis retained her merchant name.
(AO‑162: dp. 21,800; l. 524'; b. 68'2"; dr. 30'2"; s. 14.5 4.;cl. Cumberland; T. T2‑SE‑A1)
The fifth Memphis (T‑AO‑162) was laid down as Esso Memphis under Maritime Commission contract by Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Chester, Pa., 11 March 1944; launched 17 June 1944; delivered to Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey at New York City 28 June 1944; and acquired by the Navy under contract from the Maritime Commission 28 November 1956 and placed in service is Memphis the same day.
Assigned to MSTS 23 December, Memphis was operated under General Agency Agreement by Marine Transport Lines, Inc., of New York City. Besides regular tanker services through most of the next year, she played a vital role in the MSTS Arctic sealift operations. In June and July 1957, during the severest polar pack ice conditions on record, she carried petroleum and its byproducts in convoy to help establish and maintain the American bases along the DEW Line, completed that summer after 3 years of work.
On 13 September Memphis was struck from the Navy list, returned the same day to the Maritime Administration, and entered the National Defense Reserve Fleet at James River, Va. Converted to a floating powerplant at Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Newport News, Va., in late 1966, she was transferred to the U.S. Army in 1967 for service into 1968 in the harbors of South Vietnam.