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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Shelikof

 

A strait on the west coast of Alaska.

 

(AVP-52: dp. 2,800;  l. 310'9"; b. 41'2"; dr. 13'6"; s. 18.2 k.; cpl. 367; a. 1 5", 9 40mm.; cl. Barncgat)

 

Shelikof (AVP-52) was laid down on 20 September 1942 by the Lake Washington Shipyard, Houghton, Wash.; launched on 31 January 1943; sponsored by Mrs. F. D. Wagner; and commissioned on 17 April 1944, Lt. Comdr. R. E. Stanley in command.

 

Upon completion of fitting out, Shelikof departed for Alameda on 8 May and loaded aircraft spares. She then moved to San Diego for a shakedown in the bay area; to San Pedro for a yard period; and, on 30 June, she departed for Pearl Harbor and the Pacific war zone. Nine days later, she was underway from Pearl Harbor with a convoy bound for Eniwetok.

 

While at Eniwetok from 18 July to 1 August, the tender had her aviation machine shop and carpenter shop converted into combination aircraft and aircraft radar maintenance facilities. Her next port of call was Tanapag Harbor, Saipan, a former Japanese seaplane base. Shelikof's personnel went ashore daily to clear debris from the hangars and the surrounding area in order to make the base operable, thereby relieving the congestion at aircraft tenders. When the ship departed on 3 December 1944, Naval Air Base, Saipan, was being used as a supply depot and a major overhaul facility.

 

Shelikof spent the next three months shuttling spare parts and supplies between Guam, Ulithi, and Saipan. She sailed from Saipan with Task Unit (TU) 51.20 on 23 March 1945 for the invasion of the Ryukyu Islands. The seaplane group moved into the anchorage at Kerama Retto five days later as Army units were still battling to secure those small rocky islands before the major assault on Okinawa Jima began. Shelikof laid eight seaplane mooring buoys that day and three of them were put into use the following day when the first PBM-5's arrived. The anchorage was under constant enemy air attack during the month of April, but the only casualties aboard her occurred on the 28th when friendly fire wounded two men. On 6 May, the tender took an enemy plane under fire which approached within 1,000 yards, 50 feet off the water, but no damage to it was noted.

 

The seaplane base was shifted to Chimu Wan, Okinawa, on 15 July and Shelikof operated there until the end of hostilities with Japan. She then shuttled between Okinawa and ports in Japan until departing for the United States on 25 October. En route, the tender made port at Midway, Pearl Harbor, San Diego, Acapulco, and Coco Solo before arriving at Norfolk on 4 December 1945. After an overhaul, she sailed on 12 March 1946 for the Azores. Back in Norfolk on the 30th, Shelikof made four voyages to San Juan and two to Trinidad by 11 June. Three days later, she was at Coco Solo, and the ship operated from there until 16 March 1947 when she sailed to Philadelphia for inactivation.

 

Shelikof was decommissioned on 30 June and placed in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet until 1 May 1960 when she was struck from the Navy list. The tender was sold on 20 December 1960 to Panagiotis Kokkinos, Pireaus, Greece, and converted for merchant service.

 

Shelikof earned three battle stars for World War II service.