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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Otus

 

The son of Neptune.

 

(AS–20: dp. 3,600; l. 417’9”; b. 60’; dr. 20’2”; s. 15 k.; cpl. 644; a. 1 5”, 4 3”)

 

Otus was laid down under Maritime Commission Contract 3 June 1940 by the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Kearny, N.J.; launched as SS Fred Morris 2 November 1940; sponsored by Mrs. Fred Allain Morris; acquired by the Navy 1 March 1941; and commissioned as Otus (AS–20) 19 March 1941, Comdr. Joel Newsom, in command.

 

Assigned to the Asiatic Fleet as a submarine tender, she was anchored in Mariveles Harbor, Philippine Islands, on 7 December 1941. On 10 December 1941 she was slightly damaged during the Japanese air raid on the Cavite Navy Yard, when several bombs landed near her starboard side. Not wanting to risk one of the few tenders in his command, Admiral Hart, Commander Asiatic Fleet ordered Otus to leave the Philippines.

 

Departing 10 December she arrived at Port Darwin, Australia, 28 December. Remaining at Port Darwin through January 1942, Otus steamed to Java and Trincomalee Harbor, Ceylon, during February and the first part of March. She returned to Australia 10 March, where she tended submarines at Fremantle until departing for the United States 25 July.

 

Arriving Mare Island Naval Shipyard 24 August, Otus underwent an extensive overhaul until 23 January 1943. After a brief stop at Pearl Harbor she returned to Australia 22 February where she remained, steaming from port to port as the demand for her services dictated, until 1 September.

 

From September 1943 until December 1944 Otus served at four different sites in New Guinea furnishing tender services for escort vessels, minecraft, and amphibious craft as well as submarines.

 

Departing Hollandia Bay 25 December, Otus arrived at San Pedro Bay, Leyte Gulf, Philippines, 6 January 1945 and commenced providing routine upkeep and emergency repairs to the ships of the Southwest Pacific Area. On 25 June 1945 her classification was changed to ARG–20 (Repair Ship, Internal Combustion Engines).

 

On 1 December 1945 Otus left San Pedro Bay enroute to Portland, Ore. Arriving 2 January 1946, she was assigned the duty of deactivating vessels. She carried out this work at both Portland and Astoria until 29 June 1946, when she steamed to Seattle to commence inactivation overhaul.

 

Otus decommissioned 20 August 1946 and was sold the following day. She was struck from the Navy List 25 September 1946. In 1970 she is berthed at Olympia, Wash. with the National Defense Reserve Fleet.

 

Otus received one battle star for service in World War II.