A star of the first magnitude in the constellation Orion.
(AF - 58: displacement 15,150 (full load); length 502’; beam 72’; draft 29’; speed 21 knots; complement 350; armament 8 3”; class Rigel; type R3-S-4A)
The second Rigel (AF-58) was laid down under Maritime Administration contract 15 March 1954 by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp., Pascagoula, Miss.; launched 15 March 1955; sponsored by Mrs. Austin K. Doyle; and commissioned 2 September 1955, Capt. W. T. Griffin in command.
The first of a new class of high-speed, large-capacity, fully refrigerated stores issue ships, Rigel completed shakedown out of Newport and her homeport of Norfolk. In February 1956, she sailed south for the first time; underwent further training in Cuban and Puerto Rican waters; and into the fall provided logistic support along the mid-Atlantic seaboard and in the Caribbean. In late fall (14 November-9 December), she completed her first 6th Fleet deployment which included her initiation in her primary mission - replenishment at sea.
During the winter of 1957, she spent 2 months in the Caribbean, then sailed east, in May, for 4 months in the Mediterranean. January 1958 brought a return to the Caribbean, followed in March by the initiation of a regular schedule of 6-week replenishment deployments to the Mediterranean with intervening periods spent in loading, upkeep, training, and shipyard overhauls. On her second and third deployments of that year, she directly supported units of the 6th Fleet sent to Lebanon at the request of that country's president.
Rigel maintained her regular Mediterranean logistic deployment schedule through the 1960s. Interruptions came with the replenishment of units engaged in good will visits to West Africa (January 1961); exercises off Iceland and Canada (June 1962, June 1965); and crises in the Caribbean - the Cuban Quarantine (November 1962) and the Dominican Republic Crisis (May 1965).
Rigel was fitted out with an amidship helicopter platform in 1961, thus providing her with a vertical replenishment capability. Two years later, that platform was replaced with one on her fantail to simplify the pilots' problems when landing aboard or conducting replenishments.
Rigel served until decommissioned on 23 June 1975. Struck from the Navy list on 16 May 1994, the store ship was transferred to the Maritime Administration for disposal on 1 April 1998.
29 September 2005