The first U.S. Navy ship named for a river which rises in Tangipahao Parish, La., and flows into the Natalbany River.
(AOG-38: displacement 2,700; length 220'6"; beam 37'; draft 13'1"; speed 10 knots; complement 62; armament 1 3-inch, 2 40 millimeter; class Sequatchie)
Ponchatoula (AO-38) was laid down under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1801) by the East Coast Shipyards, Inc., Bayonne, N.J., 7 June 1944; launched 30 July 1944; sponsored by Miss Cynthia Tenety; delivered to the Navy 30 September 1944; and commissioned 6 October 1944, Lt. W. G. Peyton in command.
Following shakedown, Ponchatoula departed the east coast 13 December 1944, took on oil in the Netherlands West Indies and continued on to San Diego. On 19 January 1945 she headed for Pearl Harbor, whence she shuttled gasoline to Canton Island in February. In March, she sailed for Ulithi with a cargo of aviation gasoline and diesel fuel and in May crossed the remaining distance to Okinawa in convoy UOK-11, anchoring off the Hagushi beaches on the 16th. Assigned to shuttle oil and gasoline from larger tankers to the fleet's smaller ships, she shifted to Ie Shims, on the 19th and to Kerama Retto on the 29th. Remaining in the area through the end of World War II, Ponchatoula continued her shuttle service until 14 December 1945 when she got underway for the United States and inactivation.
Decommissioned at Mare Island 24 April 1946, Ponchatoula was struck from the Navy List 31 May 1946 and transferred to the Maritime Commission for further disposal 9 September 1946.
Ponchatoula earned one battle star during World War II.