USS Octorara (IX-139)

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History
US flag 48 stars.svgUnited States
Name: USS Octorara
Namesake: A creek in Pennsylvania named for an Indian word meaning running water.
Builder: Southern shipbuilding Co., San Pedro, California
Laid down: date unknown
Launched: 1921
Christened: as La Purisima
Acquired: 11 September 1944
Commissioned: 11 September 1944 at Oakland, California
Decommissioned: 8 April 1946
Struck: 1947 (est.)
Fate: sold 28 February 1947 and scrapped
General characteristics
Tons burthen: 11,579  tons
Length: 407.4 ft (124.2 m)
Beam: 51 ft (16 m)
Draft: 25.5 ft (7.8 m)
Speed: 10 knots (19 km/h)
Complement: 88
Armament: 2 × 3 in (76 mm) gun mounts

USS Octorara (IX-139) was a tanker originally loaned to the Soviet Union during World War II and then returned to the United States in 1944. She was then commissioned by the U.S. Navy and served as a tanker for the remainder of the war.

Tanker (ship) ship designed to transport liquids or gases in bulk

A tanker is a ship designed to transport or store liquids or gases in bulk. Major types of tankship include the oil tanker, the chemical tanker, and gas carrier. Tankers also carry commodities such as vegetable oils, molasses and wine. In the United States Navy and Military Sealift Command, a tanker used to refuel other ships is called an oiler but many other navies use the terms tanker and replenishment tanker.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 30 December 1922 to 26 December 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Contents

Leased to the USSR

Octorara, a tanker built in 1921 as La Purisima by Southern shipbuilding Co., San Pedro, California, was lent to the Soviet Union under Lend-Lease early in World War II.

Lend-Lease United States foreign policy during World War II

The Lend-Lease policy, formally titled An Act to Promote the Defense of the United States, was an American program to defeat Germany, Japan and Italy by distributing food, oil, and materiel between 1941 and August 1945. The aid went to the United Kingdom, China, and later the Soviet Union, Free France, and other Allied nations. It included warships and warplanes, along with other weaponry. The policy was signed into law on March 11, 1941, and ended overnight without prior warning when the war against Japan ended. The aid was free for all countries, although goods in transit when the program ended were charged for. Some transport ships were returned to the US after the war, but practically all the items sent out were used up or worthless in peacetime. In Reverse Lend Lease, the U.S. was given no-cost leases on army and naval bases in Allied territory during the war, as well as local supplies.

World War II service

Commissioned at Oakland, California

Upon return to the United States she was acquired by the U.S. Navy 11 September 1944; and commissioned the same day at Moore Dry Dock Company, Oakland, California, Lt. Comdr. A. G. Munro, USNR, in command.

Moore Dry Dock Company was a ship repair and shipbuilding company in Oakland, California.

Oakland, California City in California, United States

Oakland is the largest city and the county seat of Alameda County, California, United States. A major West Coast port city, Oakland is the largest city in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, the third largest city overall in the San Francisco Bay Area, the eighth most populated city in California, and the 45th largest city in the United States. With a population of 425,195 as of 2017, it serves as a trade center for the San Francisco Bay Area; its Port of Oakland is the busiest port in the San Francisco Bay, the entirety of Northern California, and the fifth busiest in the United States of America. An act to incorporate the city was passed on May 4, 1852, and incorporation was later approved on March 25, 1854, which officially made Oakland a city. Oakland is a charter city.

Assigned to the Pacific campaign

Octorara was assigned to Service Squadron 8 Pacific Fleet. After necessary repairs, the tanker loaded a cargo of bunker oil and 100 octane gasoline and on 14 October 1944 departed San Francisco Bay for the Marshall Islands.

A Service Squadron (ServRon) was a U.S. Navy squadron that supported fleet combat units. Service Squadrons were used by the United States Navy from their inception in 1943 to as late as the early 1980s. At the time of their inception during the Second World War they allowed the US Navy to operate across the vast reaches of the Pacific ocean for extended periods of time. Service Squadrons created temporary forward bases to allow the naval squadrons to spend less time in transit and more time in the area of combat. Ulithi, a small volcanic atoll in the central Pacific, is an example of a site converted for use as a forward base of supply. Service Squadrons essentially created a major naval base near the area of operation. With the naval base at Ulithi to refit, repair and resupply, many ships were able to deploy and operate in the western Pacific for a year or more without returning to a major port facility. Among the vessels operating in service squadrons were tankers, oilers, refrigerator ships, ammunition ships, supply ships, floating docks and repair ships. They provided diesel, ordnance, aviation fuel, food stuffs and all other supplies. Equally important at places like Ulithi were the portable piers and floating dry docks which allowed many ships damaged by enemy action or Pacific storms to undergo repair without having to travel the thousands of miles back to a major US naval base. Ulithi was as far forward from the US naval base at San Francisco as the San Francisco base was from London, England. To have a fully functional major port in the middle of the Pacific was a significant aid to U.S. Navy operations.

San Francisco Bay bay on the California coast of the United States

San Francisco Bay is a shallow estuary in the US state of California. It is surrounded by a contiguous region known as the San Francisco Bay Area, and is dominated by the large cities of San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland.

Marshall Islands country in Oceania

The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands, is an island country and a United States associated state near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, slightly west of the International Date Line. Geographically, the country is part of the larger island group of Micronesia. The country's population of 53,158 people is spread out over 29 coral atolls, comprising 1,156 individual islands and islets.

Arriving Eniwetok, via Pearl Harbor, 6 November, she discharged diesel oil to Beagle and on the 15th got under way with a convoy for the Caroline Islands. Octorara remained at Ulithi for a month (21 November–22 December), dispensing diesel and aviation gasoline to the Fleet, before proceeding to Kossol Roads, Palau Islands, for fueling operations until June 1945.

Pearl Harbor harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii

Pearl Harbor is a lagoon harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, west of Honolulu. It has been long visited by the Naval fleet of the United States, before it was acquired from the Hawaiian Kingdom by the U.S. with the signing of the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875. Much of the harbor and surrounding lands is now a United States Navy deep-water naval base. It is also the headquarters of the United States Pacific Fleet. The U.S. government first obtained exclusive use of the inlet and the right to maintain a repair and coaling station for ships here in 1887. The attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan on December 7, 1941, was the immediate cause of the United States' entry into World War II.

USS Beagle (IX-112), was an Armadillo class tanker designated an unclassified miscellaneous vessel. She was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the beagle, a breed of small, short-coated hunting hound.

Convoy group of vehicles traveling together for mutual support and protection

A convoy is a group of vehicles, typically motor vehicles or ships, traveling together for mutual support and protection. Often, a convoy is organized with armed defensive support. It may also be used in a non-military sense, for example when driving through remote areas. Arriving at the scene of a major emergency with a well-ordered unit and intact command structure can be another motivation.

Octorara departed Kossol Roads 7 June 1945, and on the 10th arrived in San Pedro Bay, Leyte, Philippine Islands. She continued fueling operations in the Pacific Ocean until after the Empire of Japan surrendered.

San Pedro Bay (Philippines) bay at the northwest end of the Leyte Gulf, Philippines

San Pedro Bay is a bay in the Philippines, at the northwest end of Leyte Gulf, about 15 km east-west and 20 km north-south. The bay is bounded by two islands; on the north and east by Samar, and on the east by Leyte. It is connected by San Juanico Strait to Carigara Bay of the Samar Sea. The largest city on the bay is Tacloban City, the capital of Leyte province.

Pacific Ocean Ocean between Asia and Australia in the west, the Americas in the east and Antarctica or the Southern Ocean in the south.

The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south and is bounded by Asia and Australia in the west and the Americas in the east.

Empire of Japan Empire in the Asia-Pacific region between 1868–1947

The Empire of Japan was the historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 to the enactment of the 1947 constitution of modern Japan.

Post-war decommissioning

Returning to the U.S. East Coast early in 1946, the tanker decommissioned 8 April and was transferred to the War Shipping Administration the same day. She was sold to Pinto Island Metal Co. 28 February 1947 and scrapped.

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References

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships .The entry can be found here.