Caloosahatchee AO-98



A river in Florida.

(AO-98: dp. 7,295; 1. 553'; b. 75'; dr. 32'4"; s. 18 cpl. 304; a. 1 5", 4 3"; cl. Cimarron)

Caloosahatchee (AO-98) was launched 2 June 1945 by Bethlehem-Sparrows Point Shipyard, Inc., Sparrows Point, MD., under a Maritime Commission contract; sponsored by Mrs. C. L. Andrews; acquired by the Navy 10 October 1945; commissioned the same day, Commander H. R. Livingston, USNR, in command; and reported to Commander,Service Force, Atlantic Fleet.

Caloosahatchee cruised off the east coast, transporting oil and fueling ships at sea, and made a voyage to Iceland from Norfolk during her first two years of operations. On 14 August 1947, she sailed for her first tour of duty with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean, a deployment that marked almost every year of her operations from that time into 1960. In this era when the U.S. Navy had perfected at-sea replenishment to greatly increase mobility, flexibility and efficiency, Caloosahatchee played a key role in increasing the enormous power for peace represented by the mighty 6th Fleet. Among other widespread operations, Caloosahatchee participated in NATO Operation "Mariner" off Greenock Scotland, from 16 September to 20 October 1953, and provided summer training for future naval officers in midshipman cruises to LeHavre, France, in 1964, and to Copenhagen Denmark, in 1966. In fall 1957 and again in summer 1958, the oiler sailed with forces calling at ports in England, Scotland, France, and Portugal.

Caloosahatchee constant readiness for emergency deployments or other challenges to her operational capability was developed and maintained through training operations along: the east coast, and participation in such large-scale Atlantic Fleet exercises as Operation "Springboard" held in the Caribbean, which operations continued through 1960.

During the Cuban Missile Crises, October 1962 the Caloosahatchee performed the duties of refueling the blockade fleet off the cost of Cuba.

On 8 May 1968Caloosahatcheereturned to Bethleham Steel Corporation at the Key Highway Shipyard, Baltimore, Maryland where she was delivered to the custody of the Commandant FIFTH Naval District and the Supervisor of Ship?Building for conversion and modernization.Caloosahatcheewas re-commissioned as mini-multi-commodity replenishment ship on 27 September 1969 and assigned to Service Squadron TWO, then homeported in Newport, Rhode Island.
Since rejoining the Atlantic Fleer following conversion,Caloosahatcheehas established an enviable record of operational performance and material reliability. In December 1969 she was awarded the highest operational readiness inspection grade assigned by the Commander Training Command, U.S. Atlantic Fleet during the calendar year 1969. During September, 1970 theCaloosahatcheewhile in the eastern Mediterranean Sea participated in the naval blockade off the coast of Lebanon & Jordan during The Jordanian Crises when members of the PLO seized control of three jetliners which were later blown up on the ground in Jordan after the passengers (including some Americans) and crew were evacuated and held as hostages. TheCaloosahatcheesupported units of the SIXTHFLEET from September 1969 to February 1971 and was awarded the Battle Efficiency E, and the Engineering Excellence E in 1973. In February 1975Caloosahatcheewas reassigned to her present homeport, Norfolk, Virginia, coincidently transferring allegiance to Service Squadron FOUR. She departed for the Mediterranean via the North Atlantic, North Sea, and Baltic Sea Areas.
Complimented for her overall material condition and cleanliness for a vessel her age by the INSURV Board in March 1977,Caloosahatcheethen commenced a major RAV, which she completed two weeks early, a first in the Surface Force community over a considerable span of time. Following a brief period of refresher training and WESTLANT support operations,Caloosahatcheeagain departed for the Mediterranean to spend the winter of 77-78 operating with units of the SIXTH FLEET.

This deployment was highlighted by two very fruitful industrial availabilities in Marseille, France and Palermo, Sicily opening commercial shipyard facilities to the SIXTH FLEET in the Mediterranean basin.Caloosahatcheewas recognized for her effective performance while ashore and afloat by the Commander, SIXTH FLEET and the Commander, Service Force SIXTH FLEET. While serving the fleet with pride,Caloosahatcheewas runner-up to COMNAVSURFLANTs 1977 Golden Anchor Award for retention. In the winter and spring of 1978Caloosahatcheeendured a bitter winter and an eight-month major extended regular overhaul in Brooklyn, New York during which she received five competitive awards:
Combat Information Center Green E, Communications Green C, Gunnery Systems E, Damage Control DC, and the Deck Seamanship Award.
Following overhaul and after refresher training in August 1979,Caloosahatcheein September departed with Commander SECOND FLEET for Northern Europe and NATO Exercises to be conducted in the North Atlantic, North Sea, and Baltic Sea areas.Caloosahatcheesustained her enviable record of operational performance and material reliability by replenishing 116 ships and meeting all commitments.
During 1980 theCaloosahatcheeparticipated in various readiness exercises, which involved two deployments to Cuba and a five-month cruise to the Mediterranean. Over 170 safe replenishments were completed in 1980, which set a new record for the CALOOS and established a precedent difficult to follow. 1981 brought the CALOOS another fast paced Caribbean deployment and a six-month cruise to the Mediterranean. TheCaloosahatchees reputation continued to shine as she serviced the fleet with pride and professionalism.
TheCaloosahatcheewas decommissioned on February 28, 1990 at Norfolk, VA after 45 years of SERVICE TO THE FLEET WITH PRIDE. She was towed to the Mothball fleet on the James River where she sat until 2003 when she was sold for scrap to a salvage company in England. On October 6ththeCaloosahatcheewas taken under tow by an Ocean-going tug along with her sister shipCanisteo(ex AO-99) for a 4,500 mile / 21 day trip across the Atlantic to the Able UKs Graythorp yard, near Hartlepool, England. When the ships arrived there was protesting against the scraping of the ships in England due to the oil, asbestos, and PCB contamination aboard both ships. As of spring of 2005 theCaloosahatcheeand theCanisteoare moored next to each other until the legality of the scraping can be resolved. Even long after theCaloosahatcheehas stopped serving the U. S. Fleet she is still making history.

History From 1960 forward written by Paul Scheerer (DC 2 1969 t0 1972)