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Supply III (IX-147)


Named to perpetuate the names of previous ships named Supply.


(IX-147: displacement 13,250; length 411'9"; beam 55'0"; draft 27'2"; speed 11.8 knots; complement 167; armament 1 4-inch, 1 3-inch, 8 20 millimeter; class Supply)

The cargo ship Exton, later renamed Ward,  was built for the U.S. Shipping Board in 1921 by Doullet & Williams, New Orleans, La., was operated by the American Pioneer and American Export Lines. Ward sailed from Hoboken, N.J., to Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, on 25 November 1943, after calling at Norfolk, Va., and Oakland, Calif., to load aviation material. Upon her arrival at Pearl Harbor the ship was to be allocated to the Navy, on a bare-boat basis, by the War Shipping Administration (WSA).

Ward was acquired by the Navy at Pearl Harbor on 5 February 1944 and commissioned on 8 February 1944 as Supply (IX-147), Lt. Cmdr. A. J. F. Schmidt, USNR, in command. The ship entered the Navy Yard there for repairs, alterations, and conversion into an auxiliary aviation supply ship. Supply departed Pearl Harbor on 25 March for Majuro, Marshall Islands, to replenish aircraft carriers for further strikes west of those islands. After the fleet sailed, Supply steamed to Roi-Namur, on 22 April, and operated as a floating aviation supply depot there until early July.

Supply sailed for Pearl Harbor on 7 July 1944, where she underwent extensive alterations to enable her to double the amount of stores that could be kept in a ready-for-issue status. The ship sailed for Yap, Caroline Islands, to assist in setting up an aviation supply depot there. Pending the military operation against the island, the supply ship was routed to Peleliu, via Funafuti, Tulagi, and Manus, arriving on 14 October, the day the island was declared secure. As she could not anchor there, Supply moved up to Kossol Passage. The ship remained there for a month supplying Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 11 with aircraft stores. On 15 November, she steamed to the fleet anchorage at Ulithi where she assisted PBM tenders and MAG 45 for several weeks. At this time it was decided that Yap was to be bypassed, and the ship's destination was changed to Guam, M.I.

Supply arrived at Guam on 7 December 1944 and by 7 February 1945 had stripped herself of all supplies. She returned to Roi to replenish and then sailed for Saipan on 3 March. Her next mission was to assist in establishing an aviation supply depot at Okinawa. However, due to the kamikaze attacks on the fleet there, it was decided to retain the ship in the Mariana Islands until the island was secured. On 25 May, Supply was redesignated from an unclassified vessel, IX-147, to an aviation supply ship,AVS-1.

Supply finally sailed for Okinawa on 8 July 1945 and arrived there a week later. She first discharged her top-loaded cargo to seaplane tenders and then began transferring bulk stores to the beaches. The ship was at Okinawa when hostilities with Japan ceased. She remained there until 3 November when she weighed anchor en route to the United States, via Pearl Harbor.

Supply arrived at San Diego and unloaded her cargo at the naval air base before proceeding to San Francisco for inactivation. The ship arrived at San Francisco on 19 December 1945 and was decommissioned on 4 February 1946, entering the Reserve Fleet at noon onm the same day, moored in Suisun Bay, Calif., being returned to the WSA the same day. She was stricken from the Navy List on 25 February 1946.

She was sold to the Florida Pipe & Supply Co., on 24 January 1947, to be broken up for scrap.

Supply received one battle star for her World War II service.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

11 March 2024

Published: Mon Mar 11 16:11:00 EDT 2024