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Conecuh (AOR-110)


A river in Alabama.

(AOR-110: displacement 8,820; length 584'; beam 72'; draft 31'; speed 23 knots, complement 284; armament 8 40 millimeter; class Conecuh)

Dithmarschen, a combination oiler and supply vessel, was built by F. Schichau, Danzig, in 1937, for the German Navy. Taken over by British authorities at Bremerhaven, Germany, on 8 May 1945, Dithmarschen was allocated to the U.S. Navy on 15 January 1946 by the Inter-Allied Reparations Commission.

Placed in service on 2 May 1946 as Dithmarschen (IX-301), Capt. Adolph W. Maddox, USNR, in charge, the ship departed Bremerhaven on 8 May. She arrived at Philadelphia [Pa.] Naval Shipyard on 19 May for conversion to a naval vessel. The need for a one-stop oiler-replenishment type ship had been illustrated by the war in the Pacific, and Dithmarschen was used for experimental work in that field since she had been developed specifically for that type of duty. On 1 October 1946 she was renamed Conecuh and  redesignated as an oiler, AO-110, but lack of funds delayed her conversion and she was placed out of service on 24 October.

Her classification was changed to AOR-110 on 4 September 1952 and she was converted to a replenishment fleet tanker. Conecuh was commissioned on 16 February 1953, Cmdr. M. B. Freeman in command. Following her shakedown in the Virginia capes, she steamed to Greenock, Scotland to take part in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Operation Mariner (16 September-20 October). She sailed for a tour of duty with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean (5 March-28 May 1954), then underwent an extensive overhaul at Norfolk (30 June 1954-4 January 1955). She remained at Norfolk except for refueling units at sea, operations in the Caribbean, and off the Florida Keys (25 October-7 November 1955), until decommissioned and transferred to the Maritime Commission for retention in the Maritime Reserve Fleet. She entered the Reserve Fleet in the James River at 1100 on 4 April 1956. She was stricken from the Navy List on 1 June 1960.  She was approved for scrap sale on 7 July 1960.

Bids opened on 28 October 1960 concerning her disposition, and on 23 November 1960 she was sold to the Southeastern Rail & Steel Co. for $136,688, and was scrapped subsequently.

Conecuh proved the feasibility of the combination oiler-replenishment ship; experience gained during her operations led to the development of the fast combat support ship (AOE) in the United States Navy.

Published: Tue Mar 15 14:16:59 EDT 2016