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Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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(ARD-26: dp. 5,200; 1. 491'8"; b. 81'0"; dr. 5'8" (1.); cpl. 120; cl. ARD-12)


A city in southern New Mexico about 100 miles north northeast of El Paso, Tex. Alamogordo is the seat of government for Otero County. Nearby Holloman Air Force Base, then known as Alamogordo Air Base, was the site of the first man-induced atomic explosion on 16 July 1945.

ARD-26, a non-self-propelled floating dry dock completed in 1944 at Oakland, Calif., by the Pacific Bridge Co., was commissioned on 15 June 1944, Lt. Comdr. Irving B. Smith, USN (Ret.), in command. The drydock completed outfitting at Oakland and training at Tiburon, Calif., between mid-June and late August. On 3 September, she was taken in tow for the voyage west. En route to the Marianas, the dry dock made layovers of ten and seven days respectively at Pearl Harbor and Eniwetok. She arrived at Guam on 24 October and reported for duty with Service Squadron (ServRon) 11. Not long thereafter, however, she was assigned temporarily to ServRon 10.

During her more than eight months at Guam, ARD-26 repaired warships damaged in the Leyte, Luzon, and Okinawa campaigns. While carrying out that mission, she reported to several different organizational entities, including ServRon 12, ServRon 10, and the Naval Operating Base (NOB), Guam. In the second week in July 1945, the floating dry dock was towed to the Ryukyus where she transported equipment between various locations around Okinawa and docked warships for repairs. Her duty at Okinawa lasted until mid-August at which time she headed back to the Marianas. ARD-26 resumed her repair duties at Guam on 22 August 1945 and remained so employed for the next 17 years. In the latter part of 1962, the dry dock was towed back to the west coast of the United States. She was placed out of service in October 1962 and was berthed with the San Diego Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet.

ARD-26 did not remain inactive for long. Towed to the east coast in 1964, she underwent conversion to a medium auxiliary repair dry dock at Baltimore by the Bethlehem Steel Corp. ARD-26 was named Alamogordo on 22 March 1965 and simultaneously redesignated ARDM-2. She was placed in service again on 3 August 1965. Alamogordo then moved south to Charleston, S.C., where she became a support unit for Submarine Squadron (SubRon) 18. She has continued to provide repair services to the boats of SubRon 18 at Charleston for more than two decades. As of the beginning of 1986, she was still active at Charleston.

Published: Thu Jun 11 15:23:00 EDT 2015