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This Month in Naval History
Cahaba AO-82


A river in Alabama.

(AO-82: dp. 5,782; 1. 623'6", b. 68'; dr. 30'10"- s. 15 k.
cpl. 225; a. 1 6", 4 3"; cl. Escambia)

Cahaba (AO-82) was launched 19 May 1943 as Laokawapen (later changed to Luckawaxen) by Marinship Corp., Sausalito, Calif.' under a Maritime Commission contract; sponsored by Mrs. B. Bloomquist; transferred to the Navy 15 August 1943; commissioned 14 January 1944, Commander E. H. Danesi, USNR, in command and reported to the Pacific Fleet.

Cahaba cleared San Pedro, Calif., 11 February 1944 for Pearl Harbor and Majuro, arriving 1 April. After 2 weeks as station oiler there, she put to sea to fuel TF 58 from 13 April to 2 May, as the massive task force hurled air attacks against the Palaus, Truk, and Hollandia. Returning to Majuro, the oiler based there for two fueling runs to Kwajalein and one refueling Voyage to Pearl Harbor between 3 May and 13 June.

With the development of the Marianas operation, Cahaba base became Eniwetok from 28 June, as she fueled 5th Fleet ships for their strikes on Guam, Saipan, and Tinian. As the fleet she served moved westward Cahaba followed, serving as station oiler at Ulithi from 13 October to 27 December, along with refueling 3d Fleet units at sea from 14 to 30 October. Supporting the LinFayen Gulf Covering Force, the oiler took station in Kossol Roads from 28 December 1944 to 26 January 1945, then returned to Ulithi. She contributed to the successful assault on Iwo Jima by fueling TF 58 ships at sea from 23 February to 4 March.

Following a much-needed overhaul, Cahaba sailed from San Pedro, Calif., to the kamikaze-ridden waters off Okinawa, delivering oil to the station tanker at Kerama Retto late in June 1945. Through the close of the war, she sailed out of Ulithi refueling the 3d Fleet at sea as it carried out its final smashing raids on the Japanese homeland. Clearing Ulithi 3 September, the oiler paused at Okinawa, then sailed on to Shanghai to aid in the reoccupation by Chinese Nationalists of areas held by the Japanese during the war. Occupation duty at Okinawa, Formosa, Hong Kong, and Amoy continued until 16 March 1946, when she cleared for the Panama Canal and New York City, arriving 28 April. Cahaba was decommissioned 15 May 1946,and transferred to the Maritime Commission 8 May 1947.

Reacquired in March 1948 and transferred to the Military Sea Transportation Service 31 July 1950, Cahaba served in a noncommissioned status until 20 January 1958 when she was returned to the Maritime Administration.

Cahaba received eight battle stars for World War II service.


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