A river that rises in Drake County, Ohio, near Fort Recovery and meanders westward across Indiana until it reaches Illinois at a point just southwest of Terre Haute. South of that point, it outlines the border between the two states until emptying into the Ohio a few miles west of Uniontown, Ky. Wabash is an abbreviation of the Miami Indian name for the stream, Wabashiki, which means "bright white" or "gleaming white." It refers to the limestone bed of the stream along its upper course.
(AOG-4: dp. 4,335; l. 310'9"; b. 48'6"; dr. 15'8"; s. 14 k.; cpl. 140; a. 4 3"; cl. Patapsco)
Wabash (AOG-4) was laid down on 30 June 1942 at Seattle, Wash., by the Seattle-Tacorna Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 28 October 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Louis A. Puckett; and was commissioned at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Wash., on 10 May 1943, Lt. James F. Ardagh, USNR, in command.
Wabash departed Seattle on 26 May for Alaskan waters. After delivering a cargo of gasoline to Annette Bay and Yakutat, the gasoline tanker returned to Seattle on 5 June. She made four more voyages carrying fuel to Alaskan ports before 15 September, when she headed south for the last time to San Francisco, Calif.
Proceeding to Hawaii soon thereafter, Wabash was assigned to Service Squadron (ServRon) 8 upon her arrival at Pearl Harbor on 19 October. From then through the first half of 1944, she made runs in the Central Pacific carrying high-test aviation gasoline and lubricants to Palmyra Island, Canton, and Midway. Departing Pearl Harbor on 9 July, Wabash steamed in convoy for the Marshall Islands. Transferred to ServRon 10 upon her arrival at Eniwetok on 18 July, Wabash pumped gasoline and lubricants to station tanker YOG-185; tended small craft; and carried Marine Corps equipment to Roi Island before moving on to the Marianas.
Arriving at Saipan on 20 August 1944, she operated in the Marianas until sailing for the Volcano Islands on 5 March 1945 to support the American conquest of Iwo Jima. There, Wabash furnished fuel and lubricants to amphibious ships of Task Force 53, including minecraft and tank landing ships. On 14 March, she returned via Saipan to the Western Carolines and arrived at Ulithi on the 27th.
Wabash soon got underway again to support her second major Pacific operation, the battle for Okinawa. Soon after her arrival off Hagushi beach on 9 April, she began tending miscellaneous small craft at Okinawa through the cessation of hostilities and the first months following Japan's surrender.
On 28 November, she sailed for Hong Kong. From December 1945 to the summer of 1946, Wabash operated in the Far East supporting the Fleet in its occupation duties. She served as tender and fuel ship at Hong Kong; Hainan Island, French Indochina; Subic Bay, Philippines; and at Shanghai and Tsingtao, China.
Decommissioned at Tsingtao on 29 July 1946, Wabash was transferred to the Army Transportation Corps on that day and was struck from the Navy list on 23 April 1947.
Manned and officered by Japanese, the tanker operated for the Army out of Yokosuka, Japan, into 1950. With the onset of the Korean War, Wabash was reinstated on the Navy list on 1 June 1950; enrolled in the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS); and designated T-AOG-4.
During the Korean conflict, the ship supported United Nations air operations with vital cargoes of jet fuel and gasoline through the year 1952. Manned by a mixed crew of Americans and Japanese, Wabash served MSTS through the Panmunjom armistice in the summer of 1953 and subsequently carried oil between Iwo Jima and South Korean and Japanese ports through the mid-1950's. Inactivated on 10 September 1957, Wabash was struck from the Navy list for the second time on 8 May 1958, placed in permanent custody of the Maritime Administration, and assigned to the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, Calif. She remained there into the 1970's.
Wabash received two battle stars for her World War II service and two for service during the Korean conflict.
The gasoline tanker Wabash (AOG-4) at Kodiak in July 1943. Her dull gray finish offers little contrast to the background. (80-G-7989)