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Naval History and Heritage Command

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Kern (AOG-2) (ex-Rappahannock)


A river in south-central California.

(AOG-2: displacement 1,850 (light); length 310'9"; beam 48'6"; draft 15'8"; speed 14 knots; complement 133; armament 4 3-inch, 12 20 millimeter, 2 depth charge projectors; class Patapsco)

Rappahannock (AOG-2) was laid down on 25 May 1942 at Tacoma, Wash., by the Seattle-Tacoma Ship Building Co.; renamed Kern on 18 July 1942; launched on 7 September 1942; sponsored by Mrs. L. A. Oldin; and commissioned at Seattle, Wash., on 9 March 1943, Lt. Cmdr. Lewis Williams in command.

Departing Seattle on 24 March 1943, Kern arrived at San Pedro, Calif., on 28 March to begin her shakedown training. On 12 April, she joined a convoy out of Los Angeles and reached Pearl Harbor on the 22nd. Loaded with aviation gas and diesel oil, she proceeded to Midway (8-12 June). She returned to Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, on 18 June, and from 27 June to 11 July she made a similar run to Canton and Palmyra Islands.

During the next year, Kern continued tanker operations out of Pearl Harbor, supplying American bases on Midway, Canton, and Palmyra islands with gasoline and oil. Departing Pearl Harbor on 19 August 1944, she sailed to Eniwetok, Marshalls, where she arrived on 31 August and served as station tanker during September. She departed Eniwetok on 5 October and carried gasoline to the Marianas and Ulithi before reaching Kossol Roads, Palaus, on 28 October.

From November 1944 to July 1945, Kern served as a station tanker at Kossol Roads and as a shuttle tanker to Peleliu and Angaur. In addition, she made replenishment runs between the Palaus and Ulithi during March, May, and June. Departing Kossol Roads on 21 July, she proceeded, via Ulithi, to Guam where she arrived on 6 August for overhaul.

Following the end of hostilities in the Pacific, Kern returned to Ulithi on 31 August 1945. She steamed to Okinawa (17-21 September) and served as station tanker there until sailing for Japan on 13 October. She reached Hiro Wan, Honshu, on 15 September and began refueling ships in support of occupation operations in Japan. She operated along the coast of Japan until 31 January 1946 when she departed Sasebo, Kyushu, for Korea.

Kern She reached Jinsen on 2 February 1946, and served there as a station tanker until shesailed for Japan on 15 April. The vessel arrived at Kobe, Honshu, on 18 April and resumed refueling duties along the coast of Japan. She decommissioned at Yokosuka, Honshu, on 6 August 1946 and was transferred to the Army the same day. She was stricken from the Naval Register on 23 April 1947. 

Reinstated on the the Navy List on 1 July 1950 in the wake of the North Korean invasion of South Korea, Kern was assigned to the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS). Redesignated as T-AOG-2 and manned by a civilian crew, she operated in the Western Pacific, supplying the U.S. Seventh Fleet with gasoline and oil. After the end of the Korean conflict, she continued to operate in the Pacific until turned over to the Maritime Commission for berthing in the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Suisuin Bay, Calif., on 28 September 1956.

Kern remained at Suisun Bay, Calif., until returned to Navy custory on 30 April 1957. During the late spring and throughout the summer of 1957 she returned to tanker duty for naval replenishment operations in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska. She was again inactivated at San Francisco on 1 October 1957 and re-entered the Reserve Fleet. Returned to Navy custody on 13 March 1958 for stripping preparatory to her being permanently laid-up, the ship returned to the Reserve Fleet, on permanent transfer, on 9 April 1958.

Stricken from the Naval Register on 10 April 1958, ex-Kern remained inactive until sold for non-transportation use to the National Metal & Steel Co., on 2 December 1975.


Published: Sat Aug 10 23:19:06 EDT 2019