Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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(AO-84; dp. 21,650; l 523-6-; b. 68-; dr. 30-10-; s. 15.1 k.; cpl. 280; a. 1 5-, 4 3-, 4 40mm., 12 20mm.; cl. Suamico; T. T2-SE-A1)

A river in north central Florida.

Ocklawaha (AO-84) was laid down 10 February 1943 by the Marinship Corp., Sausalito, Calif. under a Maritime Commission contract; launched 9 June 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Van W. Rosendahl; acquired by the Navy and commissioned 9 March 1944, Comdr. Walter L. Sorenson in command.

Following conversion and fitting out for carrying potable water and after shakedown operations off the west coast, Ocklawaha sailed 19 May 1944 for duty with Service Forces Pacific during the remainder of World War II. She arrived at Eniwetok, Marshall Islands, in June 1944 to provide potable water for and to become a part of the forces being assembled there for the Marianas operations. Following the conquest of Saipan and Guam, she continued to supply fresh water in the forward areas, transporting 12 additional loads from Pearl Harbor and Manus to Eniwetok, Ulithi, Guam, Kossol Passage and Leyte Gulf. During this period, she delivered water to 809 ships, mostly landing vessels actively engaged in amphibious operations against the Japanese. Ocklawaha returned to San Pedro, Calif. 1 June 1945 for overhaul, then deployed again to the Western and South West Pacific areas where she continued her service operations until 29 May 1946. She returned to San Pedro 15 June, transited the Panama Canal 28 June, thence proceeded to New York where she decommissioned 19 July. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register and transferred to the Maritime Commission 23 April 1947.

Reacquired by the Navy 22 May 1948, Ocklawaha was simultaneously transferred to the Marine Transport Lines, Inc. then assigned 1 October 1949 to the Military Sea Transportation Service manned by a merchant crew. She saw active service in the Far East during the Korean conflict, then after alternating from active to inactive status for several years was struck from the Naval Register again and transferred to the Maritime Commission 9 June 1959.

Ocklawaha received two battle stars for World War II service.