Naval History and Heritage Command

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Ability III (AFDL-7)


A general word classification.


(AFD-7: displacement 1,200; length 288'0"; beam 64'0"; width 45'0" (clear inside); draft 3'3" (Iight), 31'4" (flooded); capacity 1,900 tons)

The construction of AFD-7, a one-section, steel, floating dry-dock built at Eureka, Calif., by the Chicago Bridge & Iron Co., was begun sometime early in 1943 and was completed in April 1944. The small, non-self-propelled auxiliary floating dry dock was then towed to the east coast for duty at the U.S. Coast Guard base at Curtis Bay, Md., where she began a long career of docking small naval combatants (up to the size of destroyer escorts) for hull repairs.

At the end of World War II, the vessel returned to the Pacific and proceeded via Pearl Harbor to Guam. While serving there, she was redesignated AFDL-7 in August 1946. Following brief operations at the naval operating base at Guam, AFDL-7 was taken out of service on 1 January 1947 and laid up with the Pacific Reserve Fleet. Some time in 1948, she was towed back to Hawaii and laid up at Pearl Harbor. New Year's Day 1950 found her at the Long Beach (Calif.) Naval Shipyard for repairs, which lasted into the following year. Two years later, she was back at Pearl Harbor, still inactive. She was inactive, in reserve, there until June 1970 when she was transferred, on loan, to the U.S. Army for service in South Vietnam. In October 1971, the small dry-dock was returned to the United States Navy and laid up at Guam. On 1 January 1973, she was reactivated and served at various advanced Pacific bases. She remained in this status through 1980.

During that period of service, AFDL-7 was named Ability on 7 June 1979. While at Guam, she was taken out of service early in 1981. Her name was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 15 February 1981.

James L. Mooney

8 February 2016

Published: Mon Feb 08 11:39:49 EST 2016