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Wacissa (AOG-59)


A river in the state of Florida.

(AOG-59: displacement 4,335 (full load); length 310'9"; beam 48'6"; draft 15'8"; speed 14 knots; complement 124; armament 4 3-inch, 2 40 millimeter; class Patapsco)

Wacissa (AOG-59) was laid down on 11 November 1944 at Savage, Minn., by Cargill, Inc.; launched on 15 June 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Albert Ford; and completed on 20 May 1946. Declared surplus to Navy needs on 1 June 1946, the ship was authorized for disposal on the 5th. Stricken from the Navy List on 23 April 1947, Wacissa was delivered to the Maritime Commission during the following summer and berthed with the Maritime Commission Reserve Fleet at Lake Charles, La. She was then placed on a list of ships slated for disposal via sale.

The Navy, however, requested that the gasoline tanker be taken off the sale list. She was accordingly transferred to the Naval Reserve Fleet berthing area at Orange, Texas, on 3 April 1948. However, as facilities for upkeep and preservation were minimal at Orange, Wacissa was towed to New Orleans, La., for a preservation process which would prepare the ship for retention in the Navy's inactive fleet. Towed back to Orange, Tex., the ship was reinstated on the Navy List on 30 April, inactivated on 2 May, and placed in reserve on the 3rd.

The onset of the Korean War caused an expansion of the United States Navy. On 18 February 1952, Wacissa was transferred to the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) and received the designation T-AOG-59. She took part in Operation Sumac, exercises conducted in the North Atlantic from May through July 1952, and subsequently carried cargoes of high test aviation gasoline and lubricating oils to Goose Bay, Labrador, and Argentia, Newfoundland. She ran aground at Polaris Reef, Baffin Bay, on 9 October. Floated free on the 16th, the tanker then put into Halifax, Nova Scotia, for repairs which lasted from 25 October to 19 December. She then resumed her operations along the east coast and continued them into the spring of 1954.

On 25 May 1954, Wacissa was placed out of service, in reserve, and was assigned to the Florida Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet. Berthed at the Mayport Basin of the Green Cove Springs facility, the gasoline tanker remained in reserve until returned to MSTS on 24 May 1956. She carried a cargo of gasoline and oils from Aruba, Netherlands West Indies, to San Pedro and Long Beach, Calif., via the Panama Canal, and operated for a time off the west coast, stopping at Seattle, Wash., and San Francisco, Calif. She was then inactivated at the latter port and delivered to the Maritime Administration [MarAd] [the renamed Maritime Commission] and, on 16 October 1956, was delivered to the custody of National Defense Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, Calif., at 2:00 p.m. that day.

Remaining in custodial status from that date, she lay there inactive until 3 April 1957, when she was returned to MSTS at 11:15 a.m. on that date to resume her lubricant and fuel carrying duties off the west coast. Wacissa was transferred to the Department of the Air Force on 16 September 1957; but, soon thereafter, she was turned over to the Canadian government to operate with the Northern Transportation Co., Ltd., the firm which had assumed responsibility for the annual resupplying of Distant Early Warning (DEW) line radar stations in the central Arctic.

The Canadian government operated the tanker in these northern climes until Wacissa was returned to the United States Navy, re-entering MarAd's Olympia Reserve Fleet at noon on 8 October 1963. Stricken from the Navy List on 1 December 1963, she was advertised for sale on 5 May 1964. Before the month was out, the much-traveled tanker was sold on 27 May 1964 to Nicolai Joffe Corp., of Beverly Hills, Calif., for scrapping. She departed the Reserve Fleet at 10:42 a.m. on 1 July 1964. 

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

29 March 2022

Published: Tue Mar 29 08:29:10 EDT 2022