Naval History and Heritage Command

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Neosho IV (AO-143)

(AO-143: dp. 11,600 (It.); l. 655-; b. 86-; dr. 35-; s. 20 k.; cpl. 324; a. 2 5-; 12 3-; cl. Neosho)

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 fourth Neosho (AO-143) was laid down 15 August 1952 by the Fore River Shipyard, Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, Mass.; named Neosho 29 September 1953; launched 10 November 1953; sponsored by Mrs. John S. Phillips, wife of Rear Admiral John S. Phillips, the last commanding officer of Neosho (AO-23); and commissioned 24 September 1954, Captain Norman E. Smith in command.

Neosho, first of a class designed to combine speed and large cargo capacity for underway replenishment, reported at Norfolk for duty in the Atlantic Fleet 8 December 1954. A unit of SERVLANT, she operated along the East Coast and in the Caribbean until 7 September 1955, when she got underway for her first Mediterranean deployment. Since that initial deployment, Neosho has rotated regularly between the 6th and 2nd Fleets. By 1967 she had taken part in over 2,500 replenishments to transfer more than 640 million gallons of petroleum products under both normal and crisis operational conditions. In the fall of 1956, during her second 6th Fleet deployment, she supported units of that fleet as they stood by in case they were called on to intervene in the Suez War and the tense period which followed. In the fall of 1962 she provided logistical support to the ships enforcing the Naval Quarantine of Cuba, and, less than three years later, in 1965, serviced Atlantic Fleet ships as they stood by off Hispanola during the political turmoil festering in the Dominican Republic.

In January 1968, Neosho emerged from overhaul at the Naval Shipyard at Portsmouth, Va., to commence another three year employment cycle beginning with refresher training and local operations, followed by two seven month Mediterranean tours sandwiching duty with the 2nd Fleet, and ending, in late 1970, with another overhaul.

Published: Wed Aug 12 14:49:48 EDT 2015