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U.S.S. SURIBACHI

(AE-21)

SERVICE WITH A PURPOSE

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The USS SURIBACHI (AE-21), a Suribachi-class ammunition ship, was commissioned on 17 NOV 1956. Built by Bethlehem Steel's Sparrows Point Shipyard outside of Baltimore, USS SURIBACHI served with the Atlantic Fleet for nearly all of her entire service career. SIRIBACHI deployed numerous times to the "MED", "Carib" and "IO". USS SURIBACHI made a Western Pacific - Vietnam deployment in 1972-73. USS SURIBACHI served her country for 38 years and 15 days, until decommissioned on 2 DEC 1994. SIRIBACHI was laid up at the NISMF - Ft. Eustis, Va for fifteen years until sold for scrapping in 2009.

The USS SURIBACHI (AE-21) deployment history and significant events of her service career follow:

AE-21 Deployments - Major Events

Add a AE-21 Shellback Initiation Add a AE-21 Deployment - Major Event
Month Year to Month Year Deployment / Event
JAN1955-Keel Date: 31 JAN 1955
at Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard MD
NOV1955-Launch Date: 2 NOV 1955
NOV1956-Commissioned: 17 NOV 1956
MAY1957-JUL1957Guantanamo Bay
AUG1957-NOV1957Mediterranean
JAN1958-APR1958North Atlantic-Med-Indian Ocean
JUL1958-SEP1958Guantanamo Bay
JAN1959-MAR1959North Atlantic
AUG1959-FEB1960Mediterranean
FEB1961-AUG1961Mediterranean
JUN1962-JUN1962Guantanamo Bay
AUG1962-APR1963Mediterranean
MAR1966-MAY1966Guantanamo Bay
JUL1966-MAR1967Mediterranean
JAN1968-DEC1968Mediterranean
MAY1968-DEC1968Mediterranean
JUN1969-JUL1969Guantanamo Bay
DEC1969-JUN1970Mediterranean
MAR1971-SEP1971Mediterranean
JUN1972-JUN1972Guantanamo Bay
JUN1972-NOV1972West Pac-Viet Nam
JUL1972-AUG1972West Pac-Viet Nam
JUL1972-AUG1972West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN1974-MAY1974Mediterranean
MAY1974-SEP1974Mediterranean
FEB1975-JUL1975med cruse
FEB1975-JUL1975Mediterranean
MAR1978-NOV1978Mediterranean
APR1979-NOV1979Dry Dock
SEP1980-FEB1981Mediterranean
OCT1981-MAR1982Mediterranean
DEC1982-JUL1983Mediterranean
OCT1983-OCT1983Granada operation
OCT1983-OCT1983Grenada
APR1984-OCT1984Mediterranean-Indian Ocean
JUL1984- Shellback Initiation - 15 JUL 1984 - Indian Ocean
JUL1984-Shellback Initiation - 15 JUL 1984 - Indian Ocean
FEB1986-MAR1986Guantanamo Bay
JUN1986-DEC1986Mediterranean
AUG1986-Shellback Initiation - 21 AUG 1986 - Indian Ocean
AUG1987-OCT1987Blue Nose - Arctic Circle
AUG1987-OCT1987North Atlantic
JAN1988-Shellback Initiation - 3 JAN 1988 - Atlantic Ocean
MAR1988-OCT1988Operation Deep Freeze
JAN1989-Shellback Initiation - 1 JAN 1989 - Pacific Ocean
MAR1989-MAY1989work at chester PA
JUL1989-AUG1989Guantanamo Bay
MAR1990-SEP1990Mediterranean-Indian Ocean
DEC1994-Decommissioned: 2 DEC 1994

AE-21 General Specifications

Class: Suribachi-class ammunition ship

Named for: Mount Suribachi

Complement: 20 Officers and 324 Enlisted

Displacement: 9758 tons

Length: 512 feet

Beam: 72 feet

Flank Speed: 20 knots

Final Disposition: Sold for scrapping 2009



USS SURIBACHI (AE-21)



Suribachi (AE-21) was laid down on 31 January 1955 at Sparrows Point Md. by Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard Inc.; launched on 2 November 1955; sponsored by Mrs. Lemuel C. Shepherd; and commissioned on 17 November 1956 Captain Brooks J. Harral in command.


Between commissioning and August of 1957 Suribachi completed fitting out and conducted shakedown training out of Guantanamo Bay Cuba. In September and October she participated in three NATO exercises "Seaspray " "Strikeback " and "Pipedown " as flagship for the Underway Replenishment Group. During the following year she continued to operate along the east coast and in the Caribbean Sea undergoing a yard overhaul and training at Guantanamo Bay. In November 1958 Suribachi sailed on an extended tour of duty with the 6th Fleet. She cruised the Mediterranean until May 1960 taking time in June 1959 to serve as flagship for Service Squadron 2 during Operation Lantflex.


Suribachi deployed to the Mediterranean two more times from February to August 1961 and from August 1962 until the spring of 1963 before entering the yard of the Maryland Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. at Baltimore Md. for conversion to a Fast Automatic Shuttle Transfer ammunition ship (AK-FAST). At that time she was placed in commission in reserve. In addition to the FAST conversion Suribachi received a helicopter platform on her fantail enabling her to conduct vertical replenishments for the fleet.


On 15 December 1965 the ammunition ship was placed back in full commission at Norfolk Va. where she continued fitting out until the beginning of February 1966. She then got underway for five weeks of shakedown training in the Caribbean area out of Guantanamo Bay. From mid-March to mid-April she and Dewey (DLG-14) conducted the operational evaluation of her newly installed FAST system in the vicinity of Mayport Fla. In June she returned to her schedule of 6th Fleet deployments and Atlantic coast Caribbean operations. Between June 1966 and June 13 1972 she made four more Mediterranean cruises during which she visited many of the interesting ports along the littoral of the "middle sea." Her mission as always was to maintain the logistics support for the fleet at a high level of readiness. When not deployed with the 6th Fleet she returned to operations along the eastern seaboard and trained in the Caribbean


On 16 June 1972 Suribachi negotiated the locks of the Panama Canal and joined the Pacific Fleet. Ten days later she arrived in Pearl Harbor. After an overnight stop she continued on to the operating area off the coast of South Vietnam. From mid-July 1972 until 8 February 1973 Suribachi rearmed and refueled the combat units of the 7th Fleet. She departed from the combat zone fairly frequently for port periods at Subic Bay in the Philippines and for a visit each to Hong Kong and Sattahip Thailand. Her periods away from the action zone were brief in every instance three or four days at most.


On 8 February 1973 she entered port at Subic Bay and on the 16th sailed for Yokosuka Japan en route back to the United States. Following stops there and at Pearl Harbor Suribachi re-transited the Panama Canal in mid-March and rejoined the Atlantic Fleet. Since returning to the east coast Suribachi has resumed her old schedule of operations in the western Atlantic-Caribbean area alternated with cruises with the 6th Fleet. She has made one Mediterranean deployment from January to June 1974 and was operating with the 2d Fleet as of March 1975.

[Note: The above USS SURIBACHI (AE-21) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS SURIBACHI (AE-21) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]