(AO-81: dp. 5,782 (It.)
A river in western Maine that empties into Mooselookmeguntic Lake.
(AO-81) was laid down under Maritime Commission contract by Marineship Corp., Sausalito, Calif., 9 January 1943; launched 9 May 1943; sponsored by Mrs. W. E. Waste; acquired by the Navy 30 July 1943; converted by Matson Navigation Co., San Francisco, Calif.; and commissioned 4 December 1943, Comdr. B. N. Bock in command.
After shakedown off the West Coast, Kennebago carried a cargo of fuel oil and aviation gasoline from San Diego to bases in the Aleutians between 24 January and 19 February 1944. After returning to San Pedro 28 February, she loaded fuel oil and departed for the Marshalls 31 March. Steaming via Pearl Harbor, she reached Majuro Atoll 15 April. Assigned to Service Force, Pacific Fleet, during the next 2 months she made fueling runs among the Marshalls and between the Marshalls and Pearl Harbor.
Following the amphibious invasion of the Marianas 16 June, Kennebago departed Eniwetok 19 June to supply fire and support ships with fuel. She arrived off Saipan 22 June, and during the next several weeks refueled fighting ships of the 5th Fleet. She returned to Eniwetok 11 August; and, after loading oil and gasoline, she sailed for the Admiralties the 26th, arriving Manus 31 August.
Kennebago departed 11 September to support invasion operations in the Palaus. During and after the landings, she steamed to the east of the Palaus, refueling escort carriers and fire support ships. She continued replenishment operations between Manus and the Palaus until 7 October, then returned to Manus to prepare for the invasion of the Philippines.
In company with two other fleet oilers, Kennebago sortied from Manus 9 October and rendezvoused with carriers of Vice Admiral Mitscher's Fast Carrier Task Force. Steaming in the Philippine Sea, she refueled ships until 23 October. Then she sailed for Ulithi where she arrived the 29th. Operating out of Ulithi, she carried out additional refueling operations east of the Philippines between 12 and 24 November and between 16 and 25 December.
Task Force 38 again departed Ulithi 29 December to cover amphibious landings in Lingayen Gulf, Luzon. Steaming with other logistics ships, Kennebago refueled fighting ships at sea while American carrier-based air power pounded enemy air bases from Formosa to Luzon. Between 3 and 9 January 1945, planes from the fast carriers flew more than 3,000 sorties, wrecked havoc on Japanese air defenses, and directly contributed to the success of the Luzon invasion 9 January.
Returning to Ulithi 9 January, Kennebago refueled before resuming fuel replenishment operations off Luzon from 15 to 24 January. She arrived Ulithi the 27th; then, from 5 to 11 February, she steamed via Manus to Florida Island, Solomons, for anchorage fueling duty during the next month. Departing Tulagi 20 March, she loaded fuel at Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, and sailed for Ulithi via Manus 24 March. She reached Ulithi 2 April; after discharging her cargo, she sailed the 6th for the United States and arrived Los Angeles 24 April.
After overhaul at Terminal Island Navy Yard, Kennebago departed 12 June for the Western Pacific. Steaming via San Francisco and Pearl Harbor, she reached Ulithi 4 July and rejoined the logistics ships supporting carrier - operations off the coast of Japan. She departed Ulithi 10 July and until 2 August operated in the refueling areas as the mobile carriers ranged Japanese waters, launching strike after strike against targets on Honshu and Hokkaido. She returned to Ulithi 5 August for refueling, then continued at sea replenishment off Honshu from 8 to 28 August.
Following the Japanese surrender, Kennebago operated out of Okinawa from 19 September to 5 October. Loaded with fuel oil, she steamed to Taku, China, arriving 9 October. During the next 2 months she served at Taku and fueled ships of the 7th Fleet as American Naval forces assisted Nationalist Chinese troops during the struggle against the Communist Chinese for control of China. Departing Taku 14 December, she steamed via Yokosuka, Japan, to Pearl Harbor, arriving the 28th. Between 26 January 1946 and 14 February she returned to the Far East, carrying fuel to Yokosuka and Hong Kong. She departed Hong Kong 17 February for the United States; and after reaching San Francisco 7 March, she sailed the 28th for the East Coast. Kennebago arrived Boston 19 April and decommissioned there 19 July.
Transferred to the Maritime Commission 24 May 1947, Kennebago was reacquired by the Navy and assigned to MSTS 1 October 1949. She reactivated in September 1950, and, during the war to repel Communist aggression in Korea, she carried vital oil to bases in the Far East. During the following years, in response to intermittent threats to world peace by nations under Communist control, she helped support the might of American sea power in the Atlantic, Pacific and Mediterranean. On 27 November 1957 she was inactivated at Beaumont, Tex., and transferred to the Maritime Administration the same day. She was returned to MSTS control 23 May 1958 and reactivated for logistics duty in the Pacific. She provided refueling services during supply operations to American bases located in the Arctic. During late 1958 and early 1959 she supported the mighty 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. She returned to New York 22 May 1959, transferred to the Maritime Administration 23 June and entered the National Defense Reserve Fleet in James River, Va. She transferred to the Army 20 May 1966 for use as a floating power plant in South Vietnam.
Kennebago received six battle stars for World War II service.