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Cahaba (AO-82)

(AO-82: dp. 5,782; l. 523'6"; b. 68'; dr. SO'10"; s. 15 k.; cpl. 225; a. 1 5", 4 3"; cl. Escambia)

Cahaba (AO-82) was launched 19 May 1943 as Lackawapen (later changed to Lackawaxen) by Marinship Corp., Sausalito, Calif., under a Maritime Commission contract (MC Hull No. 1261); sponsored by Mrs. B. Bloomquist; transferred to the Navy on 15 August 1943; commissioned on 14 January 1944, Cmdr. E. H. Danesi, USNR, in command.

Assigned to the Pacific Fleet, Cahaba cleared San Pedro, Calif.,  on 11 February 1944 for Pearl Harbor and Majuro, arriving on 1 April. After two weeks as station oiler there, she put to sea to fuel TF 58 from 13 April to 2 May, as the task force hurledattacks against the Palaus, Truk, and Hollandia. Returning to Majuro, the oiler based there for two fueling runs to Kwajalein and one to Pearl Harbor between 3 May and 13 June.

With the development of the Marianas operation, Cahaba's base became Eniwetok from 28 June 1944, as she fueled Fifth Fleet ships for their strikes on Guam, Saipan, and Tinian. As the fleet moved westward, Cahaba followed, serving as station oiler at Ulithi from 13 October to 27 December, along with refueling Third Fleet units at sea from 14 to 30 October. Supporting the Lingayen Gulf Covering Force, the oiler took station in Kossol Roads from 28 December 1944 to 26 January 1945, then returned to Ulithi. She contributed to the successful assault on Iwo Jima by fueling TF 58 ships at sea from 23 February to 4 March.

Following a much-needed overhaul, Cahaba sailed from San Pedro, Calif., to Okinawa, delivering oil to the station tanker at Kerama Retto late in June 1945. Through the close of the war, she sailed out of Ulithi refueling the Third Fleet at sea as it carried out its final raids on the Japanese homeland. Clearing Ulithi 3 September, the oiler paused at Okinawa, then sailed on to Shanghai to aid in the reoccupation by Chinese Nationalists of areas held by the Japanese during the war. Occupation duty at Okinawa, Formosa, Hong Kong, and Amoy continued until 16 March 1946, when she cleared for the Panama Canal and New York City, arriving on 28 April. Cahaba was decommissioned on 15 May 1946, and transferred to the Maritime Commission on 8 May 1947.

Reacquired in March 1948 and transferred to the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) on 31 July 1950, Cahaba served in a noncommissioned status until 20 January 1958 when she was returned to the Maritime Administration.

Ultimately, the vessel was sold to Chin Tai Steel Enterprise, Ltd., on 4 August 1971, and was broken up for scrap. 

Cahaba received eight battle stars for her World War II service.

Published: Thu Jun 02 22:48:14 EDT 2016