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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Platte

 

A river in Nebraska.

 

(AO–24: dp. 25,440; l. 553’0”; b. 75’0”; dr. 32’4”; s. 18 k.; cpl. 276; a. 4 5” ; cl. Cimarron).

 

Platte (AO–24) was built by the Bethlehem Steel Co., Baltimore, Md.; launched 8 July 1939; sponsored by Mrs. Harold R. Stark; and commissioned at Norfolk 1 December 1939, Comdr. P. L. Meadows in command.

 

After fitting out in the Philadelphia Navy Yard she departed Norfolk 27 March 1940, making two voyages to the oil docks of Houston, Tex., then supported the fleet operating from the Panama Canal Zone. During the next forty-five days she replenished fleet tugs Capella and Navajo who towed the huge floating drydock YFD–2 to Pearl Harbor. Platte reached her new base of San Pedro, Calif. 4 September. For the next fourteen months she carried liquid cargo, passengers and freight to Pearl Harbor. Her last voyage to Hawaii prior to outbreak of war terminated at San Diego 26 November 1941 and she was in that port when the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor.

 

On 17 December Platte put to sea with a convoy for Pearl Harbor and was underway 11 January 1942 in company with famed aircraft carrier Enterprise (CV–6), flagship of Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., Commander of Task Force Eight. She refueled this carrier task force as it guarded convoy lanes for the safety of troop and cargo ships reinforcing the Samoan Islands.

 

Platte spent the next months refueling task forces on offensive patrol in the Coral Sea. She fueled the Australian Squadron along with the Lexington carrier task force and the Yorktown carrier task force prior to the devastating carrier strikes on Salamau and Lae, New Guinea. She then stood out to sea with Enterprise 28 May as all fleet units prepared to turn back the expected Japanese attack on Midway, fueling the Enterprise task force and the Yorktown task force just before the Battle of Midway.

 

Platte then began her support of Solomon operations. She was in the ocean approaches to the Solomons the morning of 10 August, delivering fuel to the Enterprise carrier task group and two days later the Saratoga carrier group. Platte returned to Noumea 14 August and again filled her cargo tanks from chartered tankers. She subsequently fueled the Saratoga Wasp, and Enterprise carrier task groups. After a return to the West Coast, she resumed her vital support to fleet units engaged in the bitter struggle for Guadalcanal and other Solomon islands.

 

Platte departed San Pedro 9 April 1943 to provide vital logistic support in the campaign to regain control of the western Aleutians from the Japanese, serving as station tanker in Kulak Bay, Adak. After several runs between the West Coast and Pearl Harbor, Platte served with twelve other fleet oilers of Service Squadron Eight as one of a roving fueling task group which kept fuel going during the Gilberts campaign to some 200 combatant ships which remained at sea for 30 days without going into port.

 

Platte was underway for the Marshall Islands the afternoon of 31 January 1944, fueling Pennsylvania and six destroyers before standing out to sea 11 February. On 6 June Platte cleared Majuro Atoll with Fast Carrier Task Forcess for the Marianas, fueling the Yorktown carrier task group 14 June in sight of Tinian Island, and completing her last fueling and third replenishment cruise for logistic support of the Marianas Operation 14 August.

 

Platte loaded fuel and cargo at Eniwetok, then made passage to Seeadler Harbor, Manus, Admiralty Islands. This harbor was her base of logistic operations in support of the occupation of certain Palau Islands; Ulithi, in the Carolines; and Leyte and Samar in the Philippines. She cleared that base 4 September and was off Palau to fuel numerous ships. Platte was underway from Manus 20 October with five other oilers and escorts to support the liberation of the Philippine Islands.

 

After overhaul in the United States, Platte provided logistic,support to combat ships in the forward area to the northeast of the Marianas Islands where she fueled carriers, cruisers, battleships and destroyers engaged in the bitter struggle for Iwo Jima and the supporting carrier strikes on Tokyo.

 

Platte stood out to sea 13 March to commence support of Fast Carrier Task Forces in the conquest of Okinawa. She terminated her support of the Okinawa Campaign upon her arrival at Ulithi 14 June and departed that port 3 July as part of the logistic support force of Fast Carrier Task Force 38 for the strikes against Honshu, Japan. On 15 August word was received that President Truman had announced the agreement of Japan to surrender. Platte entered Tokyo Bay 10 September to act as station tanker in that port until 29 September when she got underway for return to the United States.

 

She arrived at Yokohama, Japan, to support the occupation forces 4 February 1946. During the next twelve months she constantly shuttled from the oil docks of Bahrein, Saudi Arabia, to support fleet operations at principal ports of Japan, Korea, and the Philippine Islands. In the following months she gave logistic support to the fleet at ports of Japan; Buckner Bay, Okinawa; and Tsingtao, China. Fleet tactics off the coast of Southern California and upkeep in the Long Beach and Mare Island Navy Yards were followed by another cruise to the Far East.

 

On 22 February 1951 Platte left the Hawaiian Islands astern and set her course by way of the Marshall Islands and Okinawa for Sasebo, Japan. She reached the last named port 2 April and was off Songjin, Korea, 4 April to deliver fuel to cruiser Saint Paul and five destroyers of the United Nations Escort and Blockade Force on the east coast of Korea. This was the first of an endless chain of logistic support runs from Sasebo to the coast of Korea where she also gave vital fuel and aviation gasoline to the fast attack carriers Boxer, Philippine Sea, and Bon Homme Richard. Platte entered the harbor of Keelung, Formosa, 17 May to serve as station tanker for the ships on Formosa Patrol. She resumed replenishment of the fleet off Korea from Sasebo 30 June.

 

Platte commenced a second tour of service in support of the warships on Formosa Patrol and those operating in combat areas off the coast of Korea 3 January 1952. She reached Sasebo 3 May 1953 for a third tour of duty in support of the United Nations Forces in Korea. She continued operations in the East China Sea and off Inchon after the truce agreement and put to sea from Yokosuka 24 October for return to Long Beach 10 November.

 

Platte stood out of San Diego Harbor 17 March 1954 and touched at Yokosuka on her way to Subic Bay in the Philippine Islands, thence to Formosa and Hong Kong before arrival at Sasebo. She returned to Long Beach 2 October and had completed six similar tours in support of 7th Fleet operations in the Far East by 28 June 1960. A unit of Service Squadron 3 on each of these tours in the Far East, her operations in support of the 7th Fleet carried her to every principal port of Japan, the Philippines, Okinawa, Formosa and Korea. Her operations on the West Coast which intervened this service were under Service Squadron 1.

 

Platte made almost yearly deployments to the western Pacific from 1960 to 1968, including extensive operations in Vietnamese waters and refueling the Enterprise task group off Korea during the Pueblo crisis. Platte still serves with the Pacific Fleet into 1970.

 

Platte received 11 battle stars for World War II service and 6 battle stars for Korean War service.