(AO-68: dp. 5.782; l. 501'8"; b. 68'; dr. 30'8"; s. 15 k.; cpl. 214; a. 1 5", 4 3"; cl. Chiwawa)
A river in Washington State.
Chiwawa (AO-68) was launched 25 June 1942 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Sparrows Point, Md., under a Maritime Commission contract as Samoset; sponsored by Mrs. H. G. Smith; acquired by the Navy 24 December 1942; commissioned the same day, Commander H. Fultz in command; and reported to the Atlantic Fleet.
Chiwawa cleared Norfolk 13 February 1943 to load oil at Aruba, and returned to New York 25 February to join a convoy for Casablanca, Morocco, which sailed 4 March. Attacked by a wolfpack east of the Azores, the convoy lost four ships, but aircraft from Port Lyautey, Morocco, drove the U-boats away, and the remainder of the convoy arrived safely 21 March. Chiwawa put out of Casablanca in convoy 11 April for Norfolk, arriving 28 April after a quiet passage. Between 4 May and 17 July she ferried oil on the east coast, loading at Aruba, Netherlands West Indies, and Port Arthur, Tex., and discharging her cargo at Bermuda, Argentia, Newfoundland and Norfolk. She made three convoy crossings, to Scotland, Wales, and Casablanca, between 17 July and 4 December, then resumed operations to Port Arthur and Aruba, except for the period 25 January-8 March 1944, when she again crossed to North Africa.
After two convoy crossings to the British Isles in May and July 1944, Chiwawa sailed 14 July from Norfolk for Mers el Kebir, Algeria, and Naples, Italy, arriving 5 August. From Naples, Chiwawa fueled the ships carrying out the invasion of southern France until she retired to Oran, Algeria, on 2 September. She returned to New York 14 September to resume coastal oil runs until her next convoy to Casablanca in November.
A series of runs between Aruba and New York, then to Guantanamo Bay and Bermuda, and later to Argentia occupied Chiwawa until 31 May 1945, when she entered Norfolk Navy Yard for overhaul until 1 July. She cleared Norfolk to load oil at Baytown, Tex., and on 1 August reached Pearl Harbor. Five days later she sailed for Ulithi and Okinawa, where from 30 August to 29 November she served as station tanker, making one voyage in September to fuel the 7th Fleet at sea. Homeward bound, Chiwawa put in to San Francisco and Balboa, arriving at New York 7 January 1946.
She sailed 19 January 1946 from Melville, R.I., for ports in England, Germany, and France, called at Casco Bay and Argentia, and put back to Iceland before her arrival in New York 18 March. Chiwawa was decommissioned 6 May 1946 and transferred to the Maritime Commission 23 August 1946.
Chiwawa received two battle stars for World War II service.