Detailed Official History
USS Salamonie (AO-26)
NOTE: This Official History is a composite narrative, distilled from several Official US Navy histories written at different times over the last 30 years, by the Naval Historical Center, now at Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.
It is a meld of information from Quartermaster Logs and various other impersonal Navy Department records. It is a valuable reference work because the history is recorded in time sequence by year. It describes many highlights of USS Salamonie's life. It provides information and viewpoints that support and add dimension to our memories that are recorded in this book They are worth reading.
Each reader can supply the personal understanding of the emotions and reactions that hang on these barebones log entries.... you were there! You regarded the SALAMONIE as your home at sea and you remember the background - the cold winds, mountainous seas, the rolling, pitching ship movements, threats of submarine and air attacks, the constant strains and harassment of Russian ships during the Cold War, weeks of cruising, watches, fueling at sea, underway with insufficient rest. The coin had another side the adventure of foreign ports in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the tropical islands of the Pacific Ocean, comradeship and support of shipmates, the satisfaction of difficult jobs well done and finally, the loving and happy reunion with your families in
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The Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry-Dock Company at Newport News, Virginia
built USS SALAMONIE AO-26 in conformity with the rules of the American Bureau of
Shipping. She was designed primarily for commercial use but, in accordance with
specifications of the U.S. Maritime Commission, certain features were incorporated to make her suitable for conversion to naval use.
The Standard Oil Company of New Jersey ordered twelve vessels of this type to be built at various yards, and since part of the cost was provided by the U.S. Government under the terms of the Appropriations Act of 1938, the government was to have the right to take over the vessels for conversion to naval use in case of war or national emergency.
The hull, with an over-all length of 553 feet, and a beam of 75 feet, was laid down on 5 February 1940 and was christened ESSO COLUMBIA as she was launched and slid down the ways. On 20 November 1940, as a result of the national emergency declared by President Roosevelt, and as a measure of preparation to meet the needs of a rapidly expanding fleet, ESSO COLUMBIA was taken over by the Navy when she was about 85% completed.
In the tradition of naming Oilers for rivers of the United States, ESSO COLUMBIA was rechristened USS SALAMONIE, after the Salamonie River in Jay County, Indiana, a one hundred mile tributary of the Wabash River, which also flows through Salamonie Township in Warren, Indiana.
Final conversion (in 1942) included installing a main battery of four 5"/38 cal dual purpose guns (with modern central fire control equipment in 1944) plus twelve 20 mm anti-aircraft guns, two 1.1" quad mounts amidships and depth charge racks on the fantail..
NOTE: The main battery at commissioning consisted of one 5"/51 cal gun above the
fantail (which was fired at and drove off one surfaced German submarine), two 3" 23 cal guns on the fo'c'sle and one 3'/23 cal on the after deckhouse structure plus some .50 cal machine gun, and one Browning automatic rifle.
Upon completion of conversion, SALAMONIE, with Commander T. M. Waldschmidt
USN, commanding, was assigned to operate with the Service Force Atlantic Fleet. Prior to her first overseas mission, SALAMONIE made frequent trips to various ports along the Atlantic coast supplying oil and replenishing her cargo from refineries in Texas and Aruba. The majority of deployments were made in company with other auxiliaries.
NOTE: She also made one trip to Reykjavik, Iceland with a heavily escorted troop
convoy, which took the first U S. troops to Iceland before our entry into the war. See Article #6 in our book, Memories of Old Sal.
On 25 May 1942, Commander E. H. VON HEIMBURG, USN, relieved Commander
WALDSCHMIDT as Commanding Officer. In 1942, SALAMONIE made a trip to Argentia, Newfoundland, and trips to Reykjavik, Iceland in July and September.
On 13 November 1942, SALAMONIE went on her first overseas mission as part of a
large convoy enroute to Casablanca, N. Africa. Despite intense U-boat activities at the time, no enemy action was encountered, and the huge convoy of 50 ships arrived without incident. NOTE: Early this year Sal was equipped with totally new armament, equivalent to that carried by newer destroyers.
The 12th of February 1943 was a "red letter day" for SALAMONIE.
NOTE: "Red letter day" is a strange description for a tragic event. As part of
eastbound convoy UGF-5, she was under tactical command of Commander Task Force
36 and was acting as primary refueling ship for convoy escorts. SALMONIE was leader of column seven in the seven-column formation, and had on her port bow USAT URUGUAY, lead ship in column six. Little did anyone dream that SALAMONIE was destined for a midnight tragedy.
Zero one hundred was the time scheduled for ceasing the zigzag maneuvers. Promptly at the appointed time, the Officer of the Deck ordered the helmsman to put his helm right and return to base course. At this time the rudder jammed eight degrees left, and could not be freed by any emergency measures. The situation deteriorated rapidly with SALAMONIE shearing to port and the rest of the formation altering course in the opposite direction. Danger signals and TBS were used in attempts to ward off the dangerous situation, but to no avail. SALAMONIE rammed SS URUGUAY on her starboard side, just abaft the bridge. After inspections of the resulting damage, both ships were detached from the formation and ordered to proceed to Bermuda for temporary repairs.
SALAMONIE had no personnel casualties, but a soldier from URUGUAY found himself
on SALAMONIE'S forecastle after the collision. Proceeding to the bridge, he asked directions to sick bay, where he evidently had been aboard URUGUAY. His only injuries were abrasions on the bridge of his nose and a cut under his left eye. His mattress and toilet articles were found on SALAMONIE's forecastle the next morning.
NOTE: Official ship histories are necessarily brief and omit much of the detail and personal feeling found in narratives written by participants. For an eyewitness account of this tragic accident, read the Personal History written by Robert G. Gehrz, in our book, Memories of Old Sal.
On 24 June 1943, Commander L. J. Johns, USN, relieved Captain E. E. VON
HEIMBURG, USN, as Commanding Officer of SALAMONIE.
March 1944 saw SALAMONIE engaged in lend-lease operations with convoys carrying
troops, equipment and supplies to Great Britain. It was during these operations that SALAMONIE earned the reputation as the "outstanding oiler" of the Atlantic Fleet, a reputation she later upheld in the Pacific Fleet.
On 6 June 1944, SALAMONIE was moored to the ESSO dock in Bayway, New Jersey
loading fuel. Six hours later she was scheduled for overhaul in the Portsmouth
Naval Shipyard, and promptly commenced discharging her cargo.
On 9 June 1944, she steamed through Norfolk Swept Channel and moored in the
Portsmouth Navy yard. Repairs progressed for 10 days before she moored in an adjacent dry-dock for 4 days.
During the overhaul, the ship received an MK 37 director, a fire control radar, an S/A radar, and a new exterior camouflage paint job, in preparation for duty in the Pacific Ocean.
On 27 June 1944, the ship made her post-repair trial runs in Chesapeake Bay. On 8 July 1944, a fortnight after leaving dry-dock, she sailed for Panama via Aruba in company with four tankers and an AOG. On 15 July 1944, after loading her final cargo in Aruba, the ship headed for the Canal Zone. After a day and a half at Cristobal, she entered the Gatun Locks for the eight-hour trip across the Isthmus. Emerging into the Pacific Ocean, she began her long trip Westward. On the night of 20 July 1944, she made the first of her several Equator crossings.
On 30 July 1944, she crossed the International Date Line into East Longitude. On 23 August 1944, SALAMONIE entered Milne Bay, New Guinea, when she reported for
duty to Commander Service Force, Seventh Fleet, 25 days after leaving Balboa.
During the next month, the ship traveled up and down the Northern coast of New Guinea and made a trip to Townsville, Australia. On 13 and 14 September 1944, the ship fueled in Mios Woendi Lagoon, and on 15 September 1944 sailed for Sansapor, where she fueled ships participating in the forthcoming landings on
On 12 October 1944, SALAMONIE sailed into Hollandia to commence an entirely new
phase of her career in the Pacific. It was from there that the Leyte Campaign was launched.
On 12 October 1944, SALAMONIE, in Task Unit 77.7 under Captain J. D. BEARD,
sailed for the Palau Islands fueling other Task Units enroute.
After replenishing fuel oil from SS PUEBLO in Palau, the Task Unit proceeded to Leyte Gulf to render logistic services.
On the morning of 24 October 1944, fueling exercises were hampered by frequent air attacks, and in the evening the unit was attacked as it was anchored off Samar Island. Two or three planes made a run between the two colunms of ships. A torpedo was launched into a void oil tank of the oiler USS ASHTABULA AO-51, guide ship for the formation. A vicious crossfire brought down the plane about 3,000 yards astern of SALAMONIE, and another plane crashed into the seas ahead of an escort on our port bow. The Unit remained underway that night and was subjected to no further attacks until the following day. Fueling on 26 October 1944 was interrupted frequently by air alerts.
Still hampered by air raids, the Unit put to sea on 27 October 1944 for a rendezvous with a carrier escort group and on 31 October 1944, anchored in Kossi Roads, Palau Islands.
Returning to Hollandia, SALAMONIE rendered logistic services in the area for the first two weeks in November and then sailed for Moratai to fuel ships engaged in landings in that area. Completing her services to the land forces, she returned to Hollandia until late December.
On 28 December 1944, SALAMONIE, in Task Unit 77.10.3, sailed for Leyte where the
unit joined Task Unit 77.2.1. On 3 January 1945, Task Unit 77.10.3 and SALAMONIE
left Leyte and on 4 January 1945, joined Task Group 77.2. Shortly after rendezvous, the Task Group was subjected to an air attack. USS OMMANEY BAY CVE-79 was struck by a bomb and burned fiercely until torpedoed by a destroyer detail.
NOTE: Lt. Douglas Kramm, USNR, Supply Officer of the CVE had been Salamonie's
Supply Officer in '41 and '42. He went over the side of Ommanev Bay and was picked up by a DD. He survived. See Article #24 in our book, Memories of Old Sal.
On 5 January 1945, Task Unit 77.10.3, steaming alone off Mindoro Island was strafed by a lone Japanese plane. The dive-bomber made one strafing run on
SALAMONIE, mortally wounding one man and injuring four others.
During the remainder of January and the months of February and March, the Task Unit rendered logistic services in the Mindoro area. On 7 February 1945, Commander J. A. Holbrook relieved Captain L. J. Johns as Commanding Officer. On 28 March 1945, Commander Holbrook became Commander Task Unit 72.10.1, head of logistic services in the Mindoro area.
On 5 April 1945, Captain J. F. Brown, CNSB Mindoro, relieved Commander J.S.
Holbrook as Commander Task Unit 72.10.1 and SALAMONIE sailed to Subic Bay,
Luzon Island. The following three months consisted mainly of harbor fueling, rendering logistic services to forces engaged in patrol, and operations near Borneo. On 2 May 1945, Commander HOLBROOK received his appointment as Captain, effective 10 May 1945.
On 1 July SALAMONIE sailed for San Fernando, where she rendered logistic services for three weeks before returning to Subic for the remainder of July.
On 12 August 1945, the ship sailed for Legaspi, where she fueled the ships present, then sailed for Leyte Gulf.
The official surrender of Japan on 15 August 1945, East longitude date, found
SALAMONIE at sea off San Bernadino Strait, Luzon, heading southward. As the sun set on the memorable day, the officers assembled on the bridge, and the crew stood at attention during the reading of a prayer to commemorate departed
Commander Service Squadron 9 conducted a quarterly military inspection on board in Manila Bay on 25 August. The ship received a grade of EXCELLENT.
On 7 September 1945, SALAMONIE sailed for Okinawa and after maneuvering for four
days to avoid a typhoon, dropped anchor in Hagushi Bay.
Five days later another typhoon crossed Okinawa forcing all ships present to proceed to sea in a general retirement.
After returning to Okinawa for a short time, the ship sailed westward again, this time to the Yangtze River and up the Wangpoo River to Shanghai, arriving there on 22 September 1945. Logistic services were rendered to the Shanghai occupation forces for the next five weeks until SALAMONIE received orders to proceed to the United States for overhaul. During SALAMONIE's long war service, the officers and crew performed their duties in keeping with the highest traditions of the naval service, completing each mission in a successful and most satisfactory manner.
The first three months of 1946 found SALAMONIE undergoing overhaul at Hodgson,
Greens and Helderman Repair Yard, Long Beach, California. After dry-docking at
Terminal Island and undergoing post-overhaul trials, fuel cargo was loaded, and the ship departed for Yokohama, Japan on 27 March. "CLUSA" was not to be seen again for a period still indefinite even in late 1948.
In mid-April 1946, SALAMONIE arrived in Yokohama, the first of many oriental ports to be visited during this post-war cruise. Time was taken only to unload cargo before proceeding further westward to Shanghai, China.
Life was pleasant on the Hwangpoo until 27 June, when the first of a series of long Persian Gulf trips began. These trips, which numbered nine, were part of the "Baurein Shuttle" to supply the Western Pacific with oil.
SALAMONIE's flag waved in Singapore on Independence Day, and, in spite of the heat and humidity, the crew enjoyed the first of many two-night stands in the port. After a rough trip through the Southwest Monsoon, Bahrain Island was reached on 17 July where curious crewmembers found a small oil producing and refining island under British protection, nominally independent and nearly self-sufficient. Strict Arab customs prohibited regular liberty, so recreation parties were organized. Swimmers, however, soon found that 96 degree "injection" does have a tangible meaning much to their disappointment in the intense heat.
Upon leaving Bahrain, course was set for Colombo, Ceylon. This shallow, artificial harbor was entered with little more than inches to spare under her keel. The ship remained for the usual two days before setting sail for the
Sasebo, Japan was reached on 7 August 1946 and provided six weeks worth of mail and "station tanker" duty until 6 October. During this time, on 15 September 1946, Captain Earl B. STOVER, USNR, relieved Captain HOLBROOK as Commanding Officer.
Upon departure from Sasebo, "SALA-MARU" as she had come to be called, again
shuttled off to the Persian Gulf via Singapore, calling this time at Ras Tanure (sometimes spelled Rasat-Tannura). This sand spit was finally found on the chart to be a part of the Arabian mainland about fifty miles Northwest of Bahrain, lying within the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The American-Arabian Oil Company (ARAMCO) made it plain that King Ibn Saud was undisputed boss and that his laws were to be strictly obeyed. SALAMONIE dutifully flew the Saudi Arabian ensign at her fore truck and obeyed the "NO SMOKING" AND "NO SHORE LEAVE" - - each in about 50 languages.
No pangs of regret were felt either when "Rats Nest" was left behind or when the clock tower of Colombo showed the way in for the liberty boat on 4 November 1946.
From Colombo, SALAMONIE traveled to Samar, Guam, Singapore, Pas Tahure, and
back again to Colombo on Christmas Day. An artificial Christmas tree secured to the foremast played havoc with the rules of the road, but provided some spirit for an understandably homesick crew. Perhaps the unfortunate French Foreign Legion deserter found on the fo'c'sle the next day felt the same.
SALAMONIE's log from January to April 1947 shows visits to Yokusuka, Sasebo,
Singapore, Ras Tanure, Colombo and Manila. On 21 April in the Arabian Sea,
Commander Edwin C. MILLER, USN, the Executive Officer of SALAMONIE, relieved
Captain STOVER as Commanding Officer. Captain STOVER then "reported aboard" for transportation to Ras Tanure, where he returned to the United States by air for release to inactive duty.
The return part of the 5th Bahrain run took the ship to Pusan, Korea after a short stop in Colombo for an emergency dental case. Shuttle duty from Colombo took SALAMONIE to Sasebo and Yokusuka for three weeks of tender availability,
Okinawa, and to Tsingtao on 26 June1947.
Station tanker duty at Tsingtao lasted until 23 July 1947, at which time SALAMONIE began Bahrain Shuttle No.6. It now became evident that the return home to the States in August would not materialize. The regular overhaul had been rescheduled and would not begin until December. Even more disheartening to the homesick crew was later news that overhaul would be at Pearl Harbor with no return to CLUSA. To add to her misfortunes, Salamonie's allowance was reduced to 10 officers and 125 men, placing a heavy burden on every man.
The 6th Bahrain shuttle included no liberty, and was followed by the 7th, which ended in Pearl Harbor, where overhaul was begun on 1 December 1947. On 13 December 1947, Captain Philip R. OSBORN, USN, relieved Commander MILLER as Commanding Officer. Commander MILLER remained aboard as Executive Officer until the following year.
Whereas the previous overhaul had consisted largely of repair work, Pearl Harbor
undertook numerous alterations in addition to much needed repairs. Major changes
included removal of the obsolete 1.1 gun mounts and single 20mm mounts, 36"
searchlight, the gig and one whaleboat, and installation of special radio equipment, twin 20m mounts, Elwood fueling-at-sea rigs, a forward cargo deck, new deck winches and new radar equipment.
Two leave parties were organized for 30-day leave periods in the U.S. traveling via air and returning by surface transportation.
The overhaul was completed on 8 March 1948 and SALAMONIE departed Pearl Harbor for Guam via Kwajalein with a load of aviation and motor gasoline. Refresher training was conducted during the period 27 March to 8 April, at which time the ship reported to Commander Service Squadron THREE for duty and departed on her 8th Bahrain run, via Colombo. The ship returned on 14 May to Hong Kong where all hands thoroughly enjoyed themselves. There, three landing craft were lifted aboard for further transportation to Yokusuka. The cargo loaded at Bahrain was discharged at Nagasaki where the crew was afforded an opportunity to see the effects of the second atomic bomb. The ship arrived at Yokusuka on 24 May 1948 for an upkeep and training period, operating with Command Support Group, Naval Forces Far East.
Up to that time the ship had been employed in local shuttle duties with trips to Manila and Tsingtao. On her last trip to the Persian Gulf and Bahrain, the ship served as SOPA Persian Gulf and as Communication Headquarters for Commander U.S. Naval Forces Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, who stopped at Bahrain on 2 September 1948, on his goodwill tour and inspection trip. Returning from the Persian Gulf on 21 September 1948, all hands eagerly anticipated returning to CLUSA for a 30-day leave period commencing 15 December 1948.
Captain A. V. WALLIS relieved Captain OSBORN as Commanding Officer in Long
Beach, California on 19 December 1948. During restricted availability repairs were made to some of the deck piping.
On 7 February 1949 SALAMONIE was inspected by the Board of Inspection and Survey (Sub-Board), San Francisco. She departed Long Beach on 17 February 1949 with wet and dry cargo for Pearl Harbor, fueling 8 ATF's enroute, and arriving in Pearl on 25 February. She was then assigned to the Atlantic Fleet. The ship departed Pearl Harbor on 25 March 1949 towing AFOB 3, Section George, and YTB, in company with other ships of Task Unit 56.2.4 She arrived in Balboa on 9 May 45 days and nights later.
SALAMONIE arrived in Norfolk on 21 May 1949 and reported for duty to Commander
Service Force, Atlantic Fleet. Upon arrival the ship received a special administrative inspection by Rear Admiral GOOD, Commander Service Force, Atlantic Fleet, and a material inspection by Commanding Officer, USS AMPHION. On 3 June 1949, SALAMONIE arrived in Newport for two weeks of tender availability alongside USS VULCAN (AR-5).
On 11 August 1949, SALAMONIE arrived in Philadelphia for a two-month shipyard
overhaul commencing 15 August 1949.
On 13 October 1949, during the 1st week of overhaul, Captain J.T. HARDIN USN
relieved Captain A. V. WALLIS, as Commanding Officer. SALAMONIE proceeded to
Norfolk upon completion of overhaul and on 30 October began her first post-war
refresher training and operational readiness inspection. On 23 November 1949 she
returned to Newport for a well-earned period of leave and upkeep.
On 20 February 1950, SALAMONIE deployed once more for interesting and colorful
foreign duty. After delivering two crated airplanes to Casablanca, she proceeded to Suda Bay, Crete and reported to Admiral John J. BALLANTINE, Commander
Sixth Fleet, for duty on 15 March 1950. The next two months she participated in
exercises with other Sixth fleet ships including USS MIDWAY, NEWPORT NEWS, ROANOKE, DIRERRA, ARNEB, CHEWAUCAN and DESRON 14.
During her two month duty with the Sixth Fleet, SALAMONIE fueled sixty ships
underway and nineteen in port. On 14 May 1950, American Ambassador to Portugal,
Mr. Lincoln MacVeagh and Admiral Ballantine paid in informal visit on board
SALAMONIE, and 15 May the ship sailed for home arriving in Newport on 30 May for
leave and upkeep.
On 18 September, having completed several months of independent ship's exercises in the Narragansett Bay area, SALAMONIE sailed for Gravesend Bay off Coney Island to take on ammunition. Returning to Newport on 19 September, SALAMONIE went alongside USS VULCAN AR-5 on 6 October for two weeks of tender availability.
On 31 October 1950, the ship got underway for a short training cruise. After a stop at Norfolk and a week in the Bermuda operating area, SALAMONIE headed for New York and liberty on the Great White Way. Departing New York on 13 November the ship arrived in Yorktown, Virginia to discharge gasoline. During the operation, a gasoline fire broke out on the forecastle, but was promptly extinguished by appropriate and timely action by the ship's fire party. Commander Donald W. TODD USN, the prospective Commanding Officer was aboard and in the process of relieving Captain James T. HARDIN. The change of command ceremony took place two days later on 17 November, while the ship was at Craney Island in Norfolk.
From Craney Island the ship proceeded to Aruba and returned to Craney Island with a full load of oil. A second load of fuel was picked up at Aruba and delivered to ports of Bermuda, St. Johns, Newfoundland and Argentia before SALAMONIE returned to Newport on 23 December 1950, just in time for the Christmas Holidays.
In January 1951, SALAMONIE was ordered to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to assist in
training newly commissioned ships in night fueling. The tropical weather was a welcome change from the harsh Newport weather.
In February, the ship participated in fleet exercises, upon completion of which she consolidated with CANISTEO and proceeded to Key West and on to Houston for more cargo. As the ship approached Houston up the restricted and tortuous channel, USS Texas at her final moorings at the San Jacinto battleground
provided an inspiring and memorable sight for the crew.
Trips to Baltimore and Norfolk were made before SALAMONIE deployed to the
Mediterranean in March of 1951. Enroute to the Med, the ship stopped at Bermuda to discharge passengers for the newly reactivated air base there. Early in April 1951 the ship delivered oil to Gibraltar to replace fuel taken by SABINE AO-25 on a previous visit. With the departure from Gibraltar, SALAMONIE commenced two and one half months of intensive operation and interesting liberty. One hundred forty-four ships were fueled and seven different ports visited during the cruise. The ship returned to Newport in early July 1951 before entering the Philadelphia shipyard for overhaul late in July.
At the shipyard an excellent and much needed overhaul provided additional space for gasoline and complete separation of cargo liquids. During the overhaul all hands worked in shifts to bring the ship into top condition. Not all was work, however, since leave and liberty were available to all hands to an extent not possible during the past two years. SALAMONIE visited Norfolk for cargo and an inspection by Service Force material personnel prior to refresher training, which began in mid-November under Commander Training Group, Narragansett Bay, and continued into December. The ship was assigned a mark of EXCELLENT and commended by the Training Group and the Atlantic Fleet Command.
On 22 January 1952, SALAMONIE left Newport to rendezvous with Task Force 24 for
fleet operations off the coast of Greenland. During this period SALAMONIE obtained valuable experience fueling under adverse conditions. Forty-eight ships were fueled during the exercises. Before returning to Newport, SALAMONIE and part of the convoy visited Halifax, Nova Scotia. The visit was cut short by the unexpected death of King George VI of England. Though all planned entertainment was canceled, the crew enjoyed seeing Nova Scotia's many sights. The convoy was dissolved on 9 February 1952 and SALAMONIE proceeded independently to Newport for leave and upkeep.
The rest was short-lived. On 25 February, SALAMONIE departed Newport for more
exercises. Enroute to the Puerto Rico operation area, the mild weather was a welcome change from the icy winds of the northern cruise. The ship entered San Juan on 3 March before beginning strenuous operations on the way to Port of Spain, Trinidad, where she stayed from 7 - 10 March. Leaving Trinidad, the ship headed for Guantanamo Bay, arriving on 13 March, 1952. Only base liberty was granted, because of the Cuban revolution. Leaving Guantanamo on 15 March, SALAMONIE steamed in convoy to the Virginia Capes and proceeded to Newport in company with other Oilers.
On 27 March, Commander Service Squadron FOUR conducted an administrative
inspection aboard SALAMONIE. The ship was awarded a grade of EXCELLENT.
An unexpected trip to Argentia, Newfoundland to deliver a load of fuel oil and aviation gasoline kept SALAMONIE underway from 2-9 April.
From 18 April to 2 May, SALAMONIE was alongside USS VULCAN for a tender
overhaul. In early June it was learned that the ship would make the annual midshipman cruise to Europe. The prospect of good foreign liberty greatly buoyed spirits and excitement ran high as SALAMONIE left Newport on 9 June to rendezvous at Norfolk with other ships to make the trip.
On 28 June 1952, the ship arrived in Torquay, England, a noted resort port where the crew thoroughly enjoyed five days of liberty. The next port of call, Le Havre, France, was found to be equally entertaining, and the eight day stay there was entirely too brief. Many of the crew were just as happy to return home to their families in Newport on 25 July 1952.
On the day of the return to Newport, Commander W. N. DORAGAN relieved Captain D. W. TODD as Commanding Officer.
Liberty, drills and upkeep consumed the month until 23 August when SALAMONIE got
underway for Norfolk to join other ships deploying for NATO exercises in the North Atlantic and North Sea.
Rough seas, long hours and not much fueling and drill made the weary crew happy for the two days rest at Greenock, Scotland. More drills and long hours were relieved by visits to Bergen, Norway on 20 - 21 September 1952 and to Plymouth, England on 26-27 September.
All hands were happy to return to Newport on 12 October where eleven days were spent alongside USS VULCAN.
The ship remained in Newport preparing for deployment to the Mediterranean until 7 November. The Straits of Gibraltar were navigated on 18 November 1952 after a one-day stay on the "Rock".
The 22nd through the 25th of November was spent in Athens, where all the ships were fueled outside the harbor in compliance with SOPA instructions. After tactical exercises with various units of the Sixth Fleet, SALAMONIE arrived in Naples to load cargo before rendezvousing with USS FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT. On 4 December the ship returned to Naples for more fuel and remained there until 12 December.
On 20 December 1952, the ship entered Golfe Juan on the French Riviera where she
spent Christmas. On 28 December, SALAMONIE proceeded to Genoa for five days.
Underway on 2 January 1953, the ship spent four days fueling ships of the Sixth Fleet before entering Palma de Majorca. The crew was delighted with this scenic resort island and the low prices. On 14 January, SALAMONIE departed Palma and made a brief stop at Barcelona to load some vehicles for transport to Naples, and then arrived in Naples on 22 January. Underway again on 27 January with a full load of fuel, SALAMONIE spent the next week participating in drills, exercises and fueling. On 3 February 1953 the ship passed through the Straits of Messina and entered Augusta Bay, Sicily. From 3 7 February, all hands worked long and hard loading fuel, deck cargo and stores, and undergoing an administrative inspection by Commander Service Force, Sixth Fleet on 5
The 13 through 18 of February was spent at anchor in Naples. Ship's dances were held on 10 and 11 February and, though weather prevented punctual return of many of the crew to the ship, the dances were a success. The 15 through the 21 February the ship spent fueling, finally consolidating with ELOKOMIN AO-55 before heading for Newport on 2l February 1953.
By selecting the southern rhumb line, the Commanding Officer routed the ship through calm seas and warm weather. During the transit time was spent cleaning the AVGAS tanks and preparing topside spaces for the return home. The ship arrived in Newport on 7 March, mooring to Mike 27. On 18 March ComServRon FOUR held an administrative inspection.
After several weeks of leave and early liberty, the ship's company settled down to in-port routine. On 20 March the ship went alongside the USS VULCAN for
two weeks tender availability and an INSURV Inspection from 25-27 March 1953.
With new railings and a fresh coat of paint on many topside areas, the ship moored at Melville on 6 April to load sixty-five mike-barrels of NSFO. Foul weather plagued the ship and she remained at the fuel piers for two days.
From 9 April to 9 May was spent in leave, upkeep and training. During this period the ship engaged in several sorties and "HUK" exercises with various units of the Atlantic Fleet.
SALAMONIE remained in the Newport area until 2 June 1953 at which time she left for Perth Amboy, New Jersey to load aviation gasoline for consignment to Guantanamo Bay. She arrived at the Navy fueling pier at Guantanamo on 6 June, discharged the aviation gasoline and returned to Newport on 12 June 1953. The remainder of June was spent in Newport.
On 2 July SALAMONIE left Newport for Brooklyn Naval Shipyard where she spent the
4th of July, arriving back in Newport on 7 July. On 21 July, SAL departed Newport for Copenhagen, Denmark on a Midshipman Cruise. She arrived in the Danish capital on 3 August 1953 and for the first time in many months tied up to a pier -- the famous Langeline Pier. Enthusiasm for the famous port ran high among the crew and it was with much reluctance that the ship sailed for home on the morning of 10 August. Local papers that morning lauded the good behavior of all U.S. sailors. Numerous maneuvers and exercises were conducted enroute to the U.S., and all hands were happy to arrive in Newport on 28 August.
Tender availability alongside VULCAN was granted for 4-18 September. On 10
September Captain Richard S. CRAIGHILL USN relieved Captain William N.
DORAGAN as Commanding Officer. From 18 September to 15 October 1953 was spent
in ISE in the Newport area.
On 15 October 1953 SALAMONIE departed Newport for a three-month shipyard
overhaul, stopping at Earle, New Jersey to off-load ammunition. Because bids for the overhaul were entered at a late date, the name of the shipyard getting the contract was not known even at the time ammunition was being off-loaded. The ship put in at Brooklyn Naval Shipyard for the weekend until the bid by Bethlehem Steel Shipyard at Hoboken, New Jersey was accepted. On 19 October 1953 SAL moored to Pier 2 at Hoboken where she remained until 1 February 1954.
During most of the overhaul the weather was warm and much work was accomplished.
The three major jobs were improvement and expansion of the crew's living spaces
forward, cargo tank alterations, which allowed the addition of two new fueling stations, and installation of 40mm guns.
Due to the extensive amount of work, the shipyard period was extended two weeks from 15 to 29 January 1954.
SALAMONIE left Hoboken and the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard finally on 1 February
1954 for Earle, New Jersey to load ammunition. On that same day she departed Earle for Newport and a week's preparation for sea. She came from the yards very dirty and with a slightly different profile. Her mount 53 (20mm) and mounts 23 and 24 (1.1") had been removed and two twin 40mm and two quad 40mm mounts installed. She also boasted two new fueling stations and a new shipfitter's shop. The old shop had been converted into a living compartment for Deck Petty Officers, a change that greatly improved the habitability.
On 8 February 1954, the ship sailed for Genaives, Haiti to report for refresher training on 15 February. For the next three weeks the crew drilled constantly, but the tedious hours paid off for the ship earned a grade of EXCELLENT.
On March 1954, SALAMONIE reported for Operation Springboard, arriving at St.
Thomas, Virgin Islands on 8 March. The next day after fueling three ships,
SALAMONIE arrived at San Juan, Puerto Rico, discharged some of her cargo, and
returned to sea on 10 March.
On 5 April 1954, the ship went to sea and participated as a "heavy" in an opposed sortie. While at sea, orders were received to proceed to Piney Point, Maryland to load to maximum draft with NSFO. The ship returned to Newport on 10 April. On 13 April 1954, SALAMONIE again participated in an opposed sortie with Destroyer Flotilla Two ships. After two weeks of opposed sorties and drill, the ship fueled the carrier ANTIETAM, proceeded to Piney Point to load NSFO, and returned to Newport on 30 April 1954.
SALAMONIE operated in the Newport area during the summer. On 31 August hurricane Carol hit Newport with full force inflicting millions of dollars worth of damage. Salamonie's gig was tossed up on fleet landing which was normally 14 feet above the water. One of her motor launches was also swamped. The launch was recovered, but a new gig had to be requisitioned from Boston Naval Shipyard.
Captain Francis E. FLECK, USN relieved Captain CRAIGHILL as Commanding Officer On 4 September 1954.
On 7 September 1954, SALAMONIE left Melville to rendezvous with DesRon 30
enroute to Lisbon, Portugal to participate in Operation Blackjack. Fifty-eight ships were fueled between 7 and 21 September. The ship consolidated twice.
On 22 September SAL dropped anchor in the Tagus River, Lisbon where the crew
enjoyed four days of liberty. On 27 September, the ship left Lisbon for Naples with Task Group 60.2. On 30 September, CORAL SEA CVA-43 sheared suddenly to port while alongside in heavy weather. Stations #2 and #4 were damaged and the entire rig on station #8 was carried away. The ten-ton boom on station #8 was bent in a ninety-degree angle. A commercial firm made repairs in Naples when SAL arrived there on 2 October 1954.
The ship left Naples on 7 October to rendezvous with units of the Sixth Fleet for exercises. Twenty ships were fueled before SALAMOME returned to Naples on 13
October for a cargo of black oil. Leaving Naples the next day, the ship proceeded to La Spezia, Italy, arriving on 15 October. After a brief period of relaxation, she left La Spezia for more exercises, during which she emptied her tanks.
On 28 October 1954, she moored stern to at Augusta, Sicily stopping there only long enough to take on 8,000 barrels of diesel fuel. On 29 October she departed Augusta for Naples, arriving there on the following day.
SALAMONIE left Naples on 31 October at midnight enroute for Golfe Juan, France,
arriving on 1 November just prior to midnight. On 4 November, the ship left Golfe Juan for more fleet exercises during which 26 ships were fueled.
On 11 November 1954 SAL was back in Augusta, Sicily with a very tired crew. Fifteen to eighteen hours of continuous fueling for three days had fatigued all hands. A ship's party at the Italian Naval Base provided a brief respite from the arduous exercises before the ship returned to sea on 14 November 1954.
USCG CURRIER WARG-410, the "Voice of America" was fueled and replenished at
Rhodes, Greece on 16 November. Heavy ground swells discouraged liberty seekers
there, but those who managed to get ashore reported Rhodes a friendly and inexpensive port.
On 18 November 1954, during cold, rainy weather, SALAMONIE arrived in Istanbul,
Turkey. The following day four Canadian ships were fueled as the rain continued and heavy swell rolled in from the Sea of Marmora. On 22 November 1954 all hands were happy as SAL heaved in the anchor and departed this cold, wet and very expensive city.
Gunnery practice with 5"'38, 40mm and 20mm was held on 26 November 1954. On 29
November, SAL returned to Naples in company with a large part of the Sixth Fleet. Again the crew was happy to gain a few days rest, but even then, in-port fueling and replenishment continued to plague a weary crew. One hundred ninety one ships had been fueled since SALAMONIE had deployed. Much to the delight of the crew, SALAMONIE returned to Newport in time to enjoy the Christmas holidays.
On 19 May 1955, SALAMONIE sailed for New York City to take part in the Armed
Forces Day program. She held "Open House" for visitors and many people including
former crewmembers, had the opportunity to visit SALAMONIE. She left New York
City on 23 May 1955, and arrived in Newport on 25 May only to get underway again on 3 June for England to participate in Midshipman Cruise ABLE. On 20 June 1955,
SALAMONIE arrived in Sheerness, England, where the crew enjoyed the hospitality of the English during their six-day stay. A dance was held in honor of SALAMONIE at which the crew chose a queen for the local annual festival.
The ship departed Sheerness on 27 June 1955 to conduct fueling exercises. On 4 July 1955, SALAMONIE departed Weymouth enroute for home. During the trip West across the Atlantic, many Midshipmen Cruise ABLE ships were fueled.
SALAMONIE arrived in Newport on 23 July, with everyone glad to be home and
looking forward to leave but, instead, on 28 July, the ship was underway for a
Mediterranean cruise. On 10 August 1955 she arrived in Naples to take on fuel. Various Med ports were visited between commitments until SAL headed back across the Atlantic, arriving in Newport on 25 August 1955 for a well-deserved stay at home.
The next several years were much the same for SALAMONIE, consisting of operations in the Atlantic and Caribbean areas and visits to Northern Europe, Mediterranean, and West Indian countries.
Enroute home from the Med in December 1957, SAL refueled USS GEARING DD-710
in extremely rough weather. During the fueling, SAL made an almost miraculous rescue of a man who had fallen overboard from the destroyer.
In June 1960, Captain Philip A. BESHANY, USN relieved Captain William N.
LEONARD as Commanding Officer. Shortly thereafter, Captain BESHANY took
SALAMONIE on an emergency deployment to assist United Nations forces in the
Congo, where the ship furnished fuel needed for the UN airlift.
In September and October 1960, SALAMONIE participated in NATO exercises during
which she visited Greenock, Scotland and received much publicity as a result of
congenial relations established between crewmembers and citizens of the Scottish town. A party for 25 orphans was held aboard SAL during the visit.
From April 1961 to August 1961 SALAMONIE served with the Sixth Fleet in the Med.
During this period, on 22 July 1961, Captain Richard D. REDMAYNE, USN relieved
Captain Lucian C. POWELL, USN as Commanding Officer. In November 1962, fresh
from overhaul and refresher training, SAL was ordered south to help support the
U.S. Cuban Quarantine Force. She remained in the Caribbean until the quarantine was lifted, and after a visit to Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico for fuel and liberty, returned to Newport for the Christmas holidays.
In January 1963 SALAMONIE deployed to the Med for Sixth Fleet duty. Naples was
visited frequently as always, and of course, the fuel depots at Augusta Bay, Sicily and Pozzuoli, Italy were on the itinerary. While in Pozzuoli, the crew gave a birthday party for nine-year-old Luisa Podota at the American Bar and Restaurant owned by Luisa's parents.
Upon her return from the Med in May 1963, SAL participated in normal Atlantic Fleet operations. In Newport, on 15 July 1963, Captain Jack M. JAMES USN relieved Captain REDMAYNE as Commanding Officer. On 22 December 1963, SAL was
ordered to the Virginia Capes operating area to participate in experiments with
On 5 January 1964, SALAMONIE headed south for the annual Operation Springboard.
During one hectic two-week period of the eight-week exercise, 77 ships were fueled. So heavy was the traffic alongside that the crew slept between fueling right at their fueling stations. A well-earned week in San Juan helped to rejuvenate the weary crew.
Upon her return to Newport from the Caribbean on 22 February 1964, SAL began
preparations for the Med once again. On 28 April with all stores aboard and all officers well instructed in the duties of the OOD, the ship got underway for the long trip to join the Sixth Fleet. Her first stop in the Med was Naples, where Commander Service Force, Sixth Fleet welcomed us with open arms - and an administrative inspection. Having passed with flying colors, SALAMONIE headed to sea and the first of many refuelings.
During a week's stay in Messina, Sicily, the crew of SAL spread good will for the United States by building a stage for St. Antonio's Orphanage. The service was repaid in full when one afternoon, two busloads of gaily-costumed young boys came aboard and performed folk dances and songs for the crew.
In July 1964, while still in the sixth Fleet, SAL was awarded the Battle Efficiency "E", a source of great pride to the crew of the 24-year-old oiler.
In Cannes, France on 2 August 1964, Captain Earl B. JOHNSON, USN relieved Captain JAMES as Commanding Officer. On 8 August after getting underway
from Cannes, SAL fueled units of Task Group 61, the Amphibious Force in the
Med. The winds were off the starboard beam as USS ROCKBRIDGE - APA 228 made her approach alongside and passed rapidly through station. She tried once to back into station. The wind carried her stern to within several precarious feet of SAL's side. She pulled ahead and tried once again to back into station, and this time was successful in ramming SALAMONIE. Carbon Dioxide was billowing from the AVGAS tanks as ROCKBRIDGE scraped along our side, swung around the bow and finally disengaged herself. SALAMONIE's accommodation ladder was rendered unusable by the collision, and several stanchions along the starboard side were badly bent, as were the handrails on the 02 level. ROCKBRIDGE lost one lifeboat. After the fueling course was changed at the suggestion of Captain Johnson, ROCKBRIDGE once again came alongside and this time was successful in her approach.
SALAMONIE's return to Newport was delayed slightly by the flare-up of trouble in
Cyprus. SALAMONIE waited while ships of DesRon TEN patrolled the area around
Cyprus. On 20 August 1964, she passed through the Straits of Gibraltar and arrived in Newport nine days later.
Six weeks later, on 13 October 1964, SAL was once more on her way across the Atlantic, this time to participate in Operation STEELPIKE I, the biggest
amphibious landing since the Normandy invasion on 6 June 1944. Three weeks of daily fueling were followed by liberty in Funchal, Madeira Island, and LaLuz, Canary Island. The ship returned to Newport on 26 November 1964, just in time to enjoy the Thanksgiving turkey. All hands were delighted to remain in Newport during the Christmas Holiday and to rest up for the coming year's operations.
The 1965 New Year was only a half-month old when SALAMONIE headed south to the
Caribbean to participate in Operation SPRINGBOARD 65, the annual amphibious
exercise. Liberty calls at San Juan, Puerto Rico and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands proved to be pleasant respites from the constant vigilance and hard work
that the exercises demanded.
Returning to Newport in February SAL underwent the usual annual inspections and then engaged in local operations until the middle of May when she once again headed for the Caribbean to support the U.S. Military effort during the crises in the Dominican Republic. After making liberty calls at Aruba and Guantanamo Bay, SALAMONIE returned to Newport on 11 June 1965.
On 30 June 1965, SAL entered the Bethlehem Steel Company Shipyard in East Boston, Mass., for an extensive overhaul. On 23 July 1965, while the ship sat in dry-dock, Captain Lorin W. HAY USN, relieved Captain JOHNSON as commanding officer. Shortly after leaving the shipyard in early November, SAL sailed for Guantanamo Bay for refresher training. Having spent Thanksgiving in Montego Bay, Jamaica, the crew completed the long training routine in time to return to Newport for the Christmas season.
January 1966 found SALAMONIE at Newport, busily engaged in preparations for the
forthcoming Med deployment. The deployment commenced on 14 February and the
crossing to Spain was marred not only by extremely bad weather, but also by two
collisions, one of which was largely due to the hostile elements.
On 19 February the USS RUSH DD-714 attempted to refuel with no success due to the weather. As she was in the process of departing from alongside, a large swell caused her stern to swing out with the result that her bow collided with SAL's starboard side. As RUSH's bow raked down the starboard side, hand rails, chocks and wire stays were ripped out of place. RUSH's port anchor also caught and held in one of SAL's spaces but quick thinking and careful station keeping by both ships allowed the anchor to be disengaged with no additional damage.
Later the same week, the USS MOALE DD-693 lost steering control and lightly nudged SAL's starboard side, straightening the boat boom that had been bent in the RUSH collision.
SALAMONIE entered the Med after turnover with the USS MARIAS AO-57 on 25
February 1966 at Rota, Spain. After some minor refueling commitments, the crew
enjoyed liberty, first in Toulon, France, and then in Barcelona, Spain. The following week 15-21 March, found the ship engaged in operations around Sardinia and Minorca. After a rendezvous with the entire Sixth Fleet at Taranto, Italy on 22 March when she entered Valetta, Malta with USS CADMUS to undergo repairs. Following the repairs and a fuel lift the ship continued operations off Sicily during the period 3-7 April before pulling into Naples on 8 April for the Easter weekend.
Leaving Naples on 12 April, SAL made a brief excursion to effect rendezvous with the carrier INTREPID off Algiers on 15 April before returning to Naples on the 18th for a 10 day tender availability.
While in Naples the observance of the ship's 25th anniversary was formally celebrated. Among the speakers was Rear Admiral Beshany, a former Commanding Officer of SALAMONIE. Additional highlights of the festivities were narrated history and skits, the stack unveiling, the cutting of the Anniversary cakes and the breaking of the Anniversary flag. The ceremonies being duly observed and completed, SALAMONIE left Naples on 29 April 1966, a true veteran of the fleet, with 25 years of dedicated service behind her. There was no time for the old warrior to rest on her laurels. Duty called and SALAMONIE answered rapidly and readily as she always had during the prior quarter-century. She took part in two major replenishments in early May and on 9 May 1966 she entered Augusta Bay for a fuel lift.
The hectic schedule now eased somewhat and the crew was able to enjoy liberty in some of the more interesting of the Med ports. On 11 May a seven-day visit to Valetta, Malta commenced. This visit was followed by a very pleasant week spent
in Athens, Greece, an excellent liberty port which many of the crew had never seen before.
Following a week at sea, during which time she operated in the Eastern Mediterranean, SALAMONIE commenced a one-week visit to Izmir, Turkey, where many of the crew enjoyed the excellent shopping values. Arriving in Cartegena, Spain on 17 June 1966, SAL demonstrated the true spirit of the Sixth Fleet when 18 members of the crew voluntarily devoted their liberty hours to a Catholic home for the aged, chopping wood and painting doors and windows.
The deployment was now near its end. Following visits to Malaga, Spain and Gibraltar, SAL met with the in-chopping group of ships on 29 June 1966 for replenishment and arrived at Rota, Spain a day later for turn over. Immediately thereafter, SALAMONIE out-chopped from the Sixth Fleet and arrived back at Newport on 8 July 1966.
SAL remained in Newport until 13 August. Then she received word that she might be making a cruise for an Apollo shot. Her station would be off the coast of Africa. SAL made preparations for the cruise. The crew was happy to cancel its forthcoming ORI, but regretted the cancellation of the dependent's cruise that was to take place on the 22nd.
A large training capsule similar to the capsule to be fired was set on deck. The last few stragglers from the leave period coming aboard, SAL set sail early the 15th, Monday morning. Before her was an exciting adventure, although you couldn't have convinced the crew of it.
A few days out to sea, the word got out about the equator, or "The Line" as it came to be known. The pollywogs began to shudder as the shellbacks (those who had crossed the line before) wrung their hands and laughed. Plans were made for the initiation to be held. A few posters were put up around the ship, some by the shellbacks and retaliatory posters by the pollywogs.
Finally the big day came. We had been relieved from our station for the Apollo shot, and we made it across the equator. The Royal Neptunus Rex came aboard and the initiation began. The whole crew was covered with garbage and salt water. There were a few cuts and bruises, but the crew all had fun.
SAL then started back to Newport. Heavy rainsqualls were hit all the way, but we
arrived back on the 4th of September just in time for the Labor Day.
As her history reads, SAL was always there with the right fuel, at the right time, at the right place. Whenever another ship needs petrol, SAL was, is and will be on hand to oblige.
On 9 September 1966 Captain L.W. HAY turned the command of the ship over to
Captain William B. MURRAY Jr.
During the months of October and November of 1966 the SAL made numerous weeklong trips to the NARRABY and VACAPS operating areas to replenish various ships.
On the 28th of October 1966 the ship pulled into Norfolk, Virginia for a busman's holiday. Some of the crew spent the weekend in the Nation's Capitol.
During a refueling on 10 November there were a few tense moments while refueling the aircraft carrier USS ESSEX CVS-9. The submarine USS NAUTILUS SSN-571 collided with the keel of the carrier. An emergency breakaway was immediately initiated. After the ships had safely cleared each other, it was determined that there had been no one seriously injured.
In December the ship headed to the Caribbean for LANTFLEX but was forced to return to Newport after she experienced a fire in the Engine Room.
During the holiday season of 1966 and 1967 the SAL was in Newport. This month in-port period allowed the crew the opportunity to spend Christmas and New Years with their families and friends.
On the 26th of January 1967 the ship unexpectedly had to get underway to refuel the USS JOHNSTON DD-821. The JOHNSTON was returning from a Med deployment and was running quite low on fuel. In order to rendezvous with her before her fuel shortage became critical it was necessary for the SAL to steam halfway to the Azores. Many men, who had left for weekend liberty, had to be called back. SAL's quick response to the plea for help well exemplified her motto - Anytime, Anywhere, Any Weather".
In the middle of March 1967 SALAMONIE was on her way to the Caribbean for
Springboard. The first weekend was spent in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, V.I. This was a pleasant change from winter in New England. Much of the crew spent long sun-filled hours on the beach at Magens Bay.
On the morning of March 24th, 1967 Good Friday, while refueling off the coast of Puerto Rico, the SALAMONIE had a major collision with the aircraft carrier USS WASP CVS-18. The rudder on the SALAMONIE jammed hard left, which caused the SAL to collide with the carrier. The elevator on the carrier completely destroyed the port side of SAL's bridge. The following is quoted from the Quartermaster's Notebook to suggest the seriousness of the accident.
0930 - Helmsman reported steering casualty. Sounded emergency breakaway. Notified cargo control to cease pumping. Shifted to hand electric. Shifted to after steering. Got hold of WASP and told them the rudder was jammed. Captain assumed the conn. Starboard engine stopped. Starboard engine back full. Elevator came to the wing of the bridge. All hands cleared the bridge with the exception of the Captain, XO, OOD and Lee Helm. All engines stopped. Set Condition Zebra throughout the ship. Established communications with the WASP.
1039- During collision with WASP, McKENTY, Terry L., SN, suffered a contusion,
muscle spasms and possible fracture of right thigh while running from scene of accident on deck. Injury not due to his own misconduct. HARRINGTON, Robert, SK3, suffered a sprain of right thumb while running from scene of accident. Injury was not due to his own misconduct.
1043 - held muster on station. All hands present and accounted for.
For the rest of the spring and part of the summer season of 1967 the ship was in the Bethlehem Steel yards in East Boston being repaired.
August and September of 1967 were spent in an intensive period of preparation for the forthcoming Mediterranean deployment. After being inactive for over four months, there was much needed training. She had some pre-deployment refuelings of the VACAPS to get the crew in shape.
On 15 September 1967 SAL set sail for Rota, Spain. Within twelve hours after departing Hurricane Dorian was tossing her about. During the half day steaming through Dora, one of the crew became seriously ill and it was necessary for the ship to return to Newport in order to transfer the man to the hospital. The evening of the 16th she was again underway for Rota and nine days later safely reached the Iberian shore.
During the first part of the deployment SAL experienced major problems with number two generator, which caused her to spend a month in Naples, Italy and six weeks in Valletta, Malta.
Because of the ship's long stay in Naples and Valletta, the crew had the opportunity to really become familiar with the area. While in Naples many men made weekend trips to Rome and visits to the many famous and interesting spots in the Neapolitan area.
On December 15th while in Valletta, Malta, Captain Carl J. SEIBERLICH assumed
command of the ship from Captain MURRAY.
The first month of 1968 the SAL's Can Do spirit paid off and within that month she refueled 78 ships. She refueled almost every ship in the Sixth Fleet and many ships more than once.
After being deployed for five months, the SALAMONIE returned to Newport the 24th of February 1968. Many happy parents and families were waiting on the pier to greet their husbands and sons.
After a month of leave and upkeep the ship got underway for the Caribbean and
Springboard. After ten days of independent steaming and refueling, the ship pulled into Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, V.I. for five days of liberty. Many of the crew who had been to the island before revisited spots they had thought of and talked about during the past year, while the new mates discovered the delights and beauty of the island. The ship also made stops in St. Croix, V.I. and Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. During this deployment the SAL refueled 29 ships including the Aircraft Carrier USS AMERICA CVA-66, which was on her way to Viet Nam.
Upon completion of the Caribbean operation, the ship spent a month refueling ships in the Jacksonville, Florida operation area. During this time, the
ship operated out of Mayport, Florida.
On the 22nd of May 1968, after being away two months, SALAMONIE steamed into
Narragansett Bay to be placed in Reduced Operational Status as of 1 June 1968.
On 23 August 1968, with a reduced crew aboard, SALAMONIE got underway from
Newport towed by USS LUISENO (ATF-156) in company with USS HOIST ARS-40 to
proceed to Philadelphia, Pa., for inactivation. She steamed the final 16 hours of the voyage arriving in Philadelphia on 25 August 1968. At this time SALAMONIE was the oldest ship in the Atlantic Fleet in continuous service, and the third oldest ship in the Navy in continuous service. Upon arrival at Philadelphia she was placed in the status of "In Commission in Reserve".
On 20 December 1968 USS SALAMONIE was placed "Out of Commission in Reserve"
and delivered to the custody of Inactive Ships Maintenance Facility, Philadelphia, standing ready for activation if the need for this venerable oiler should arise. She was stored with the inactive fleet in the James River, Virginia.
On September 2, 1969 she was struck from the Navy List. She remained in the James River facility until September 24, 1970 when her hulk was sold to ship-breakers at Rotterdam, Netherlands for scrapping.
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