Brazos (Fuel Ship No. 16)
A river in Texas.
(Fuel Ship No. 16: displacement 5,723; length 475'7"; beam 56'2"; draft 26'8"; speed 14.3 knots; complement 100; armament 4 5-inch; class Brazos)
Brazos (Fuel Ship No. 16)—a twin-screw, iron-hulled tanker—was laid down on 21 June 1917 at Boston, Mass., by the Boston Navy Yard; launched on 1 May 1919; sponsored by Miss Catherine Rush, daughter of Capt. William R. Rush, commandant of the Boston Navy Yard; and commissioned on 1 October 1919, Cmdr. Richard Werner, USNRF, in command.
Attached to the Train, Scouting Fleet, early in her career Brazos carried fuel oil and freight along the east coast of the United States and in the Caribbean. On 17 July 1920, she was reclassified from Fuel Ship No.16 to AO-4. In 1922 she served temporarily with the U.S. Naval Detachment in Turkish Waters and transferred men and remains of the war dead from Marseilles, France, home to the United States. In 1924 she joined the Train, Squadron 1, Fleet Base Force, to carry fuel and supplies to support the fleet. In 1925 she cruised with the fleet to the Territory of Hawaii, Samoa, and Australia. Except for brief periods in reduced commission for overhaul and repair, the succeeding years show no variation in Brazos’ vital duties.
On 7 December 1941, Brazos was carrying fuel from the west coast to the Aleutian Islands and Alaska. She continued servicing ships in this area until 27 June 1942. After operating briefly in the vicinity of the Hawaiian and Samoan Islands, she returned to the Aleutians where she remained until 27 January 1945.
On 29 March 1945, she reached Okinawa to furnish logistics support for the invasion fleet, after having made several brief stops in the southwestern Pacific. She remained in the Ryūkyūs until the middle of October except for a brief period of availability at Leyte, Philippine Islands. She then departed for Japan and supported the occupation forces in those waters until 9 November 1945.
On 26 November 1945, Brazos returned to San Francisco, Calif., where she remained until decommissioned on 8 February 1946; she was stricken from the Navy Register on 26 February 1946 and declared surplus to the needs of the service on 28 February 1946. Transferred to the Maritime Commission, ex-Brazos entered the Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, Calif., at midnight on 30 June 1946. Advertised for sale, the vessel remained in the reserve fleet, all bids being rejected.
Ultimately, she was sold, with the proviso that the hull be scrapped, on 19 November 1946, to the Boston Metals Co., agents for the Kaiser Company, being taken from the reserve fleet at 12:30 p.m. on 6 January 1947 to be broken up.
Brazos received one battle star for her participation in the assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto (27 March—30 June 1945).
Updated, Robert J. Cressman
6 May 2021