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Soubarissen was a chief of the “Neutral” Indian Nations which, although a part of the Iroquois confederation, were called “neutral” by the French because they took no part in the wars of the Iroquois and Hurons. The area he governed included the oilfields of northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York. The knowledge of the oil seepages there was well known among the Indians, and it was declared neutral ground so all Indians could obtain oil for medicinal and domestic purposes without danger or interference.


In 1627, Joseph de la Roche heard of the oil springs and made an expedition to visit them. He was kindly received by Chief Soubarissen, shown the oil seepages, and duly reported his observations to his superiors. These observations contributed largely to the interest in the petroleum resources of the Pennsylvania region.


(AO-93: dp. 21,650; l. 523'6"; b. 68'; dr. 30'10"; s. 15.1 k.; cpl. 255; a. 1 5", 4 3", 8 40mm.; cl. Siiamico; T. T2-SE-A2)


Souba/Hssen (AO-93), ex-Mission Santa Ana (MC hull 1828), was laid down on 19 June 1944 by Marin-ship Corp., Sausalito, Calif.; launched on 12 August 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Andrew F. Carter; acquired by the Navy and commissioned on 5 January 1945, Comdr. William H. Fogarty, USNR, in command.


Soubarissen was then converted from a fleet oiler to a water supply ship. On 23 January, she moved to San Pedro to begin her shakedown cruise. Upon completion of shakedown and yard availability at San Diego, she returned to San Pedro to top off fresh water and cargo. She sailed for Hawaii on 1 March and reported at Pearl Harbor on 7 March for duty with the Service Force, Pacific Fleet. She was routed onward to Eniwetok, Marshall Islands, where, by the 30th, she had discharged over three million gallons of water to Navy ships. She then proceeded to Guam, Mariana Islands, to refill her tanks.


Soubarissen sailed for Ulithi, Caroline Islands, on 6 April, where she was assigned to a task unit that was proceeding to Kerama Retto, Nansei Shoto, arriving on 26 April. She remained there discharging fresh water and fog oil until 17 May when she joined a convoy back to Ulithi. From there she was routed to Manus, Admiralty Islands. From 24 May to 1 June, she loaded cargo; returned to Ulithi on the 2d; sailed the next day with a convoy; and was back at Kerama Retto from 7 to 15 June. From that day and through 24 December, she made eight more voyages transporting fresh water between Kerama Retto and Lauaan Bay, Samar, in the Philippines. On 25 December 1945, Soubarissen moved to Hong Kong, and operated there until 30 March 1946 when she sailed for Mobile, Ala., via Pearl Harbor and the Canal Zone.


Soubarissen arrived at Mobile on 17 April and was decommissioned and returned to the War Shipping Administration in May 1946. She was reacquired by the Navy on 19 February 1948, delivered to Marine Transport Lines, Inc., to be operated, under contract, for the Military Sea Transport Service. Until 1955, she operated in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, calling at ports from Hamburg, Germany, to Saudi Arabia and Pusan, Korea. On 20 April 1955, she was returned to the Maritime Administration and berthed at Beaumont, Tex., with the National Defense Reserve Fleet.


Soubarissen was returned to the Navy on 6 July 1956 and operated in the Atlantic by MSTS until 30 December 1958 when she was again placed in the reserve fleet of the Maritime Administration. She was struck from the Navy list on 1 July 1961.


Soubarissen received one battle star for World War II service.