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Aroostook III (AOG-14)


A river which rises in Piscataquis County, Maine, and meanders in a generally northeasterly direction through much of the northern tip of the state before entering the Canadian province of New Brunswick and joining the Saint John River. Aroostook is an Algonquian word meaning a bountiful and unobstructed


(AOG-14: displacement 1,707; length 260'6"; beam 43'6"; draft 15'11"; speed 10.5 knots; armament 1 3-inch, 4 20-millimeter)

The third Aroostook (AOG-14) was originally built at Newport News, Va., as the single-screw, steel-hulled, diesel-electric, tank barge Esso Delivery No. 11 by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. Launched on 8 December 1937, she was delivered to the Standard Oil Co., of New Jersey, on 8 February 1938 and was homeported at Baltimore, Md., over the next few years. Acquired by the Navy from the War Shipping Administration (WSA) on 1 April 1943, Esso Delivery No. 11, the first all-welded construction tanker owned by Standard Oil, was renamed Aroostook, classified as a gasoline tanker, and designated AOG-14. The ship arrived at the Key Highway plant of Bethlehem Steel Corp., Baltimore, on 3 April 1943 and after conversion for naval service, was commissioned there on 18 April 1943, Lt. Alfred O. Johansen, USNR, in command.

Getting underway for Norfolk on the 21st, Aroostook tarried there only briefly before sailing on 28 April to join United States Naval Forces, Northwest African Waters. Proceeding via Bermuda and Gibraltar, she reached Oran, Tunisia, one month later to commence operations in that theater. For the rest of her career under the American flag the gasoline tanker operated in the Mediterranean theater, assigned to the 8th Amphibious Force and ferrying cargoes of high-octane gasoline around the Mediterranean basin. Her ports of call included Bari, San Stafano, Civitavecchia, Taranto, Piombino, Leghorn, and Naples, Italy; Cagliari, Sardinia; Bizerte, French North Africa; Augusta and Palermo, Sicily; and the island of Malta. Only once during this entire period did she come in contact with the enemy. While she lay at Bari, Italy, on 2 December 1943, the German Luftwaffe raided that port. The ship sustained concussion and shrapnel damage when an ammunition ship exploded nearby, but she suffered no casualties among her men.

Decommissioned on 18 January 1945 at Bizerte, the ship was transferred to the French government the following day. Renamed Lac Pavin she served with the French Navy under lend-lease for four more years. Sold outright to the French Government on 21 March 1949, Aroostook was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 28 April 1949.

Ultimately, Lac Pavin was scrapped in 1953.

Published: Thu Mar 26 14:36:23 EDT 2020