(AO-40: dp. 21,580; l. 501'5"; b. 68'; dr. 30'9"; s. 16.7 k.; cpl. 287; a. 1 5", 4 3", 4 40mm., 12 20mm., 2 dcp.; T. T2)
A river in Pennsylvania.
Lackawanna (AO-40), ex-Conastoga, was laid down 27 December 1941 by Bethlehem-Sparrows Point Shipyard Inc., Sparrows Point, Md., under a Maritime Commission contract; launched 16 May 1942; sponsored by Mrs. S. J. Dickey; acquired by the Navy 20 June 1942; and commissioned 10 July 1942 at Baltimore, Lt. Comdr. S. R. Sands, Jr., USCG, in command.
After shakedown Lackawanna departedNorfolk 15 August 1942 bound for fueling operations in the Pacific. Arriving New Caledonia 18 September, the oiler replenished ships out of Noumea for the next 3 months. Following overhaul at San Pedro, Calif., Lackawanna resumed operations as a unit of ServRon 8 in the Central Pacific 16 February 1943.
The oiler replenished fighting ships for 8 months prior to sailing in support of the Gilbert Islands invasion during November. The allied objective of this campaign was to neutralize the threat of Japanese air and sea plane bases on the islands.
Lackawanna's next mission was to refuel units engaged in the invasion of Kwajalein and Majuro. Departing Espiritu Santo 20 January 1944, she continued support missions in the Marshalls through March. Turning her attention to the removal of other barriers "on the road to Japan," Lackawanna refueled the carrier task forces as they unleashed their devastating raids on Palau, Yap, and Truk during April and May.
As expanding operations established the need for additional staging areas, the fleet prepared for the invasion of the Marianas. On 15 June amphibious assault forces landed on Saipan, and once again the lifeline of the fleet was on hand to refuel the thirsty ships. When Saipan, Tinian, and Guam fell into American control, the stage was get for the return to the Philippines.
The need for advance bases necessitated the invasion of the Palaus, and Lackawanna supported the 3d Fleet in this operation. With preliminaries complete, the oiler departed Seeadler Harbor in mid-October bound for a refueling area off the Philippines. Providing replenishment services for almost 2 months, she played a vital role in the successful Philippine campaign.
Lackawanna took departure from Ulithi 10 December for a brief repair period at San Pedro, Calif. Returning to the war zone 6 March, she arrived in time to participate in the largest operation of the Pacific war, Okinawa. Departing Ulithi 13 March, Lackawanna supported units of the fleet as they made their way to Japan's last stronghold. She continued operations off Okinawa until the island was secure in late June.
With Japan itself the only remaining target, Lackawanna sailed 3 July to refuel the 3d Fleet units engaged in raids on the enemy homeland. Following the cessation of hostilities 14 August, the oiler continued operations in the Far. East until she departed Tokyo Bay 12 October. Arriving San Francisco 2 weeks later, Lackawanna remained on the west coast until she decommissioned at Oakland 14 February 1946. She was returned to the Maritime Commission 1 July. Subsequently sold to Socony-Vacuum Oil Co., Inc., she was renamed Tatarrax.