(AO-146. dp. 11,600; l. 655'; b. 86'; dr. 35'; s. 20 k.; cpl. 254; a. 2 5", 63"; cl. Neosho)
River in Minnesota.
Kawishiwi (AO-146) was launched 11 December 1954 by New York Ship Building Corp., Camden, N. J.; sponsored by Mrs. Edmund T. Wooldridge; and commissioned 6 July 1955, Captain Joseph B. Swain in command.
Kawishiwi cleared Philadelphia 18 November 1955, and arrived at home port Long Beach 8 December for shakedown training. Upon completion of the training, she departed Long Beach 25 April 1956 to replenish ships of the 7th Fleet. She remained in the Far East on refueling operations until returning to Long Beach 10 October.
During 1957 the oiler divided the year into refueling duties in the Far East and operations out of Long Beach. Kawishiwi arrived Pearl Harbor, her home port, 21 January 1958, and 1 month later sailed for her third Westpac deployment. Her ability to refuel ships at a rapid rate increased the mobility of the U.S. 7th Fleet as it protected peace in the Far East.
Kawishiwi sailed once again 18 November, after a 5-month interval of Hawaiian exercises, for duty with the service force in the Far East. Carrier task groups were then operating off Taiwan, as the Chinese Nationalist held islands Quemoy-Matsu appeared in danger. The 7th Fleet served notice of America's intention to resist aggression blunting another Communist probe to test the Free World's determination. The oiler returned Pearl Harbor 23 March 1959 and resumed Hawaiian operations.
Her next Westpac cruise in August was also in the midst of Communist pressure, this time at Laos. However, the show of strength by the United States averted a crisis, and, after completing refueling duties, the oiler arrived Pearl Harbor 23 November. She sailed again 3 May 1960 on her sixth Westpac deployment, replenishing ships of the Taiwan patrol before returning to Hawaii 22 August.
Following replenishment operations in Hawaiian waters, Kawishiwi departed 6 February 1961 for 7th Fleet services. In addition to standing watch over the tense situation in Laos, the Fleet engaged in SEATO exercises in April. The oiler returned home 26 June for a 4-month respite before another Far East tour commencing 23 October. She fueled units of the 7th Fleet as the need for peacekeeping missions by the Navy intensified. Kawishiwi returned Pearl Harbor 27 February 1962 for overhaul.
From 17 September 1962 to 5 February 1963, she engaged in another Far East deployment with the 7th Fleet. During October she replenished many ships participating in amphibious exercises off Okinawa. Kawishiwi returned home 5 February and operated in Hawaiian waters throughout the year engaging in exercises and replenishment duties. As military operations in Vietnam grew in intensity, her duty in the Orient concentrated more and more on refueling the Navy's ships which were fighting Communist aggression in Southeast Asia. After devoting most of the first half of 1966 to servicing ships off Vietnam, she returned to Pearl Harbor 15 July. Operations in the mid-Pacific ensued until she headed back to the Western Pacific 27 March 1967. Kawishiwi arrived Subic Bay 12 April and fueled the ships of the mighty 7th Fleet thru mid-1967.