Yellowstone II (AD-27)
The first Yellowstone (Id.No. 2657) retained the name she carried at the time of her acquisition; the second and third Yellowstones were named for the National Park in the states of Montana and Wyoming, established in 1872.
(AD-27: displacement 16,880 (full load) ; length 492'0"; beam 70'0"; draft 28'0" (maximum); speed 18.0 knots; complement 962; armament 2 5-inch, 8 40 millimeter, 22 20 millimeter; class Shenandoah)
The second Yellowstone (AD-27) was laid down on 16 October 1944 at Tacoma, Wash., by the Seattle Division of the Todd-Pacific Shipyards, Inc.; launched on 12 April 1945; sponsored by Mrs. F. A. Zeusler, the wife of Capt. F. A. Zeusler, USCG, the District Coast Guard Officer of the Thirteenth Naval District; and commissioned on 16 January 1946, Capt. J. A. Ferrall, Jr., in command.
After shakedown training out of San Diego and repairs at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash., to correct minor deficiencies which appeared during her initial cruise, Yellowstone operated in the Seattle area into March 1946. She departed Seattle on the last day of the month, transited the Panama Canal on 11 April, and arrived at Newport, R.I., on the 20th to take up her duties tending destroyers of the Atlantic Fleet.
Yellowstone performed faithful service to the Fleet for the next 28 years, providing repair, supply, and auxiliary services (power and fresh water, etc.) not only to destroyers (the purpose for which she was designed) but also to aircraft carriers and submarines. In time, this valuable adjunct to the fleet earned a reputation for reliability and dependability that caused some to nickname her "Old Faithful," after the famous geyser in Yellowstone National Park. The destroyer tender also earned the coveted Battle Efficiency "E" Award 10 times.
Yellowstone was deployed to the Mediterranean 11 times between 1947 and 1968. Her ports of operation ranged from Izmir, Turkey, to Naples, Italy; from Venice to Taranto; from Suda Bay, Crete, to Gibraltar; and included cities in Spain, France, Italy, and Greece. In between her deployments with the Sixth Fleet, the destroyer tender operated out of Boston, Newport, Norfolk, or Bermuda.
Her tasks were performed mostly unheralded and from from the public eye but were necessary to maintain the ships of the Fleet in operational trim. In October 1969, she performed a noteworthy repair job when she relaced 1,162 tubes in the number one propulsion boiler of Forrest Royal (DD-872) as that ship was preparing to deploy to the Mediterranean. Working against the destroyer's deadline, Yellowstone's skilled artisans accomplished the task in only 12 days and thus allowed her to get underway on time.
Soon thereafter, Yellowstone deployed to the Mediterranean for the 12th and last time. She arrived at Naples on 9 December 1969 and, before long, found herself with another difficult, major repair task ahead of her. She replaced the starboard propeller of Sampson (DDG-10), a job that normally required a dry-docking. Repair, supply, and deck divisions of both ships participated in the evolution that earned Yellowstone a commendation.
A little more than a month later, the tender's talent was once again subjected to a rigorous test. On 10 February 1970 at Naples, the Greek registry freighter Mautric collided with Yellowstone and the tender's nest of destroyers. Semmes (DDG-18), Samuel B. Roberts (DD-823), and Charles F. Adams (DDG-2) all suffered extensive hull and structural damage, but Yellowstone worked nearly 24-hour shifts from 13 to 22 February and effected the necessary repairs. Capt. R. D. Wood, commanding Yellowstone, and Senior Chief Ship Fitter William S. Burman received Navy commendation medals for heading the exemplary repair work that soon had all ships back in operational condition.
After a brief in-port period at Piraeus, Greece, from 18 March to 5 April, Yellowstone returned to Naples, where she subsequently performed her second underwater propeller replacement of the deployment on Corry (DD-817). The repair ship sailed for home in mid-May and arrived at Mayport, Fla., on 1 June. One month later, on 1 July, the ship's home port was changed from Mayport to Charleston, S.C.
The destroyer tender provided services to ships of Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla (CruDesFlot) 6 into January of 1971. At the end of that month, she sailed for Puerto Rico and took part in Springboard exercises before returning to Charleston on 16 February. That spring, when the Commander, CruDesFlot 6, embarked in America (CVA-66) to deploy to the Sixth Fleet, Yellowstone's commanding officer became the administrative deputy to the Charleston representative of Commander, CruDesFlot 6. In that role, he coordinated local pier assignments; arranged for tug and tow services; made military guardship and pier sentry assignments; scheduled ship tours; provided information and assistance to dependents; and represented the destroyer force at meetings of numerous naval station, base, and district advisory boards and committees.
Yellowstone remained in port at Charleston into 1973. Among the noteworthy events that occurred that year was the ship's nomination to receive the Ney Award, recognizing the ship's outstanding food service mess, as the nominee of the Commander, Cruiser Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet.
After 28 years of continuous service to the Fleet, the last few years of which were spent along the eastern seaboard of the United States,Yellowstone was decommissioned on 11 September 1974. Stricken from the Naval Vessel Register the next day and subsequently transferred to the Maritime Administration for disposal.
Ultimately, ex-Yellowstone was purchased by Andy Machinery Co., Brownsville, Texas, on 5 February 1982 to be broken up for scrap.
Updated, Robert J. Cressman
16 February 2022