(AO-48: dp. 5,958; l. 501-5-; b. 68-; dr. 20-2-; s. 16.5 k.; a. 1 5-, 4 3-, 12 20mm.; cl. Kennebec; T. T3-S-A1)
A river flowing south from its source in Morris County in east central Kansas until emptying into the Arkansas River near Fort Gibson in Muskogee County, Okla.
The third Neosho (AO-48) was laid down as Catawba (MC hull 145) 8 July 1941 by the Bethlehem-Sparrows Point Shipyard, Inc., Sparrows Point, Md., for the Socony Vacuum Co.; launched 23 December 1941; sponsored by Mrs. Wilbur F. Burt; renamed Neosho 18 July 1942; acquired by the Navy, at San Francisco, 4 August 1942; converted by the Bethlehem Steel Co., Union Works, San Francisco; and commissioned 16 September 1942, Comdr. Frank L. Worden in command.
Neosho, with a cargo capacity of 135,000 barrels, immediately took tip her duties of delivering oil, the life blood of the warship, when arid where it was needed. Attached to ServRon 8, she conducted shuttle runs along the West Coast and to Hawaii until 3 December when she sailed for Samoa. From Samoa she continued on to Suva, thence to Espiritu Santo where she served as station tanker, occasionally deploying for fueling at sea operations, until 26 March 1943. Neosho then returned to San Pedro for repairs.
On 28 April the tanker departed California for Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Arriving 5 May, she sailed again the next day for Adak whence she operated throughout the Aleutian Campaign. After that campaign Neosho returned to the South Pacific, departing Pearl Harbor 10 November with TF 50, to refuel and replenish TGs 50.2 and 50.3 prior to the invasion of the Gilberts. After the bloody, but successful, landings there she joined TU 16.10.11 to fuel TF 53 as it steamed toward the next objective, the Marshalls.
By 6 February 1944, when Neosho entered the lagoon, Majuro had been secured and set up as a base of operations. From there AO-48 sailed to fuel and provision the ships at sea as strikes were conducted at Hollandia. The Western Carolines fell next and Ulithi became Neosho's new base of operations. From there she supported the vessels of TFs 50 and 58 as they helped secure the Marianas and blocked the enemy's efforts to open aerial and maritime lanes to carry reinforcements and supplies to the defenders of their constantly receding empire.
On 26 August Neosho arrived at Manus whence she supplied the fleet as land forces secured the southern Palaus and invaded the Philippines at Leyte. In December, 1944, and January, 1945, she fueled and provisioned the fast carrier forces in the China Sea and the Western Pacific as those forces hit Japanese installations, and shipping, on, and along, the Asiatic mainland, in the Central and Northern Philippines, on Formosa, and in the Ryukyus to prevent reinforcements from reaching the Japanese fighting on Mindoro and Luzon.
Neosho continued to support TF 58 through the Iwo Jima campaign after which she returned to San Pedro, arriving 30 April for overhaul. On 16 May equipped with new surface and air sweep radar and radar controlled guns, she departed Southern California. On 7 June she arrived at Ulithi, whence she shuttled fuel to, and replenished ships at sea off, Okinawa until the end of the war, 15 August.
In October, Neosho was ordered back to the United States and on 21 November she reported to Com5 for inactivation. Decommissioning 13 December 1945, she was struck from the Navy Register 3 January 1946 and turned over to the Maritime Commission for disposal 30 June 1946.
Neosho received 13 battle stars for her World War II service.