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Mission De Pala
(AO‑114; dp. 21,880; l. 524'; b. 68'; d. 30'; a. 16.5 k.; cpl. 52; a. none; cl. Mission Buenaventura; T. T2‑SE-A2)

A merchant name retained. A Franciscan mission in California founded in 1816.


Mission De Pala was laid down 26 November 1943 under a Maritime Commission contract by Marine Ship Corp., Sausalito, Calif.; launched 28 February 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Francis D. Malone; and delivered 22 April 1944.

Chartered to Pacific Tankers Inc. on 22 April for operations, she spent the remainder of the war carrying oil and fuel to our forces overseas, in the Pacific. Returned to the Maritime Commission on 28 May 1946, she was laid up in the Maritime Reserve Fleet at Mobile, Ala.

Acquired by the Navy on 22 October 1947, she was designated Mission De Pala (AO‑114) and placed in service with Naval Transportation Service. Taken over by the Military Sea Transportation Service on 1 October 19,49, she was designated USNS Mission De Pala (T‑AO‑114). Her service with MSTS was brief and on 23 December 1949, she was returned to the Maritime Commission and laid up in the Reserve Fleet at Orange, Tex.

When war broke out in Korea, there was an urgent need for logistics support vessels, especially tankers, so on 21 July 1950, Mission De Pala was reacquired by the Navy and placed in service with MSTS on the same date. The tanker spent most of the war shuttling between Korea, Pearl Harbor, and the west coast of the United States carrying fuel overseas. Transferred to the Maritime Administration on 15 November 1954, she was laid up in the Maritime Reserve Fleet at James River, Va. She was struck from the U.S. Naval Vessel Register on 22 June 1955.

Reacquired by the Navy 6 July 1956, she was placed in service with MSTS and operated, under charter, by Marine Transport Lines, Inc., until 13 March 1958, when she was again returned to the Maritime Administration and laid up in the Maritime Reserve Fleet at Orange, Tex. She was struck from the U.S. Naval Vessel Register on the same date.

Once again the call to service came and on 19 September 1964, the Mission De Pala was reacquired for the Navy for conversion into a missile‑range instrumentation ship. Converted at General Dynamics Co., Quincy, Mass., she was jumboized by having a 72‑foot section added amidships, an extensive array of electronic equipment was installed and a nest of antennas added topside. Essentially the ship was virtually rebuilt in order to prepare her for her new role. While under conversion, she was renamed and redesignated Johnstoum (AGM‑20) on 8 April 1965, but she was renamed Redstone on 1 Sept. 1965. Upon completion of conversion, she was accepted on 30 June 1966, by MSTS, for service as USNS Redstone (AT‑AGM‑20). Designed for use as a seagoing tracking station for the Apollo test series and moon shot, into 1969, she is continuing these duties and playing her part in helping fulfill the late President John F. Kennedy-s pledge to land a man on the moon before 1970.

Published: Mon Aug 10 14:29:07 EDT 2015