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Graffias (AF-29)

(AF-29: d. 7,770 t; l. 468'11"; b. 63'; dr. 25'11"; sp. 16 k.; cpl. 319; a. 1 5", 4 3" ; el. Hyades T C-2-5-E1)

Common name of the Star Beta Scorpii in the constellation Scorpio.

Graffias, ex-Topa Topa, was built in 1943 by the Gulf Shipbuilding Corp., Chickasaw, Ala.; acquired by the Navy 19 February 1944; converted by the Bethlehem Steel Co., Baltimore, Md.; and commissioned at Baltimore 28 October 1944, Lt. Comdr. B. P. Caraher in command.

After a brief shakedown along the East Coast, Graffias sailed for the Pacific 25 November as a unit of ServRon Ten. Reaching Ulithi 31 December, she discharged her valuable cargo of provisions and returned to San Francisco a month later. Laden with foodstuffs and provisions for the staging areas and the front, Graffias made two more San Francisco-Ulithi voyages through May 1945.

The refrigerator-cargo ship returned to Pearl Harbor 31 May and from there sailed again to Ulithi with provisions, returning to Hawaii 14 July. After repairs at Pearl Harbor, Graffias sailed to Adak, Alaska, reaching port 18 August. With the Japanese capitulation, she began a new task-bringing desperately needed provisions to the starving island and to American occupation forces. Graffias reached Ominato, Honshu, 9 September, and after replenishing American bases at Wakayama, Nagasaki, and Sasebo, sailed for the States with home and discharge-bound passengers. Putting in at Seattle 26 October, she disembarked her passengers and checked into Bremerton Navy Yard for overhaul.

By January 1946 Graffias was well embarked on the routine which she was to follow until the Korean War, replenishing scattered American bases across the Pacific. Taking on cargo at Seattle or San Francisco, she would discharge provisions at such far-flung points as Wake, Eniwetok, Kwajalein, Bikini, Okinawa, the Philippines, Guam, Saipan, Formosa, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Yokosuka. These Pacific replenishment cruises, whose duration was 2% months on the average, were supplemented by periodic overhauls and participation in various fleet exercises.

When war broke out in Korea in June 1950, Graffias sailed to Sasebo, Japan, her new home port, to begin the vital task of provisioning United States and United Nations ships and troops. For three hectic years she shuttled between Sasebo and various at-sea replenishment areas to effect cargo transfer, as well as making frequent stops along the Korean coast.

As the conflict ended with an uneasy armistice in August 1953, Graffias remained on duty with the 7th Fleet to continue her essential but unheralded task of replenishing ships and troops. Replenishment cruises took her across the ocean to Hong Kong and Formosa as well as Okinawa and the Philippines. During the intensification of the Quemoy-Matsu situation in the summer of 1955, and thereafter, Graffias made frequent stops at Formosa to provision American and Chinese Nationalist forces as well as a beefed-up 7th Fleet.

In the decade that followed, Graffias operated almost continuously out of Sasebo supplying American naval ships in Far Eastern ports especially, in the Philippines, Formosa, Hong Kong and Vietnam. She departed Sasebo 26 February 1964 for her new home port San Francisco.

Following a thorough overhaul, she headed westward again 27 June and reached Yokosuka 13 July. On the last day of July, she sailed for Subic Bay, P.I. When North Vietnamese motor torpedo boats attacked U.S. destroyers Maddox (DD-731) and Turner Joy (DD-951) in the Gulf of Tonkin 4 August, Graffias was order to the area to provide logistic support. A week after the attack she replenished the two destroyers and subsequently supplied many other ships of the 7th Fleet. After setting a replenishment record during the deployment by transferring supplies at an average rate of 168.9 short tons per hour, Graffias steamed home via Hong Kong, Yokosuka and Pearl Harbor, arriving San Francisco 12 October.

Following two deployments to the Far East in 1965, supporting the Allied struggle in Vietnam, Grafflas operated along the Pacific Coast in 1966 until sailing for Oriental waters 10 December. On the last day of 1966 she departed Yokosuka to resume underway replenishment operations supplying ships of the 7th Fleet fighting off Vietnam in 1967.

A unit of ServRon 7, she remains today in the Pacific performing this supply and replenishment duty so necessary to the Navy.

Published: Sun Aug 07 18:22:18 EDT 2016