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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
JAN 1955 - Keel Date: 31 JAN 1955
at Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard MD
NOV 1955 - Launch Date: 2 NOV 1955
NOV 1956 - Commissioned: 17 NOV 1956
MAY 1957 - JUL 1957 Guantanamo Bay
AUG 1957 - NOV 1957 Mediterranean
JAN 1958 - APR 1958 North Atlantic-Med-Indian Ocean
JUL 1958 - SEP 1958 Guantanamo Bay
JAN 1959 - MAR 1959 North Atlantic
AUG 1959 - FEB 1960 Mediterranean
FEB 1961 - AUG 1961 Mediterranean
JUN 1962 - JUN 1962 Guantanamo Bay
AUG 1962 - APR 1963 Mediterranean
MAR 1966 - MAY 1966 Guantanamo Bay
JUL 1966 - MAR 1967 Mediterranean
JAN 1968 - DEC 1968 Mediterranean
MAY 1968 - DEC 1968 Mediterranean
JUN 1969 - JUL 1969 Guantanamo Bay
DEC 1969 - JUN 1970 Mediterranean
MAR 1971 - SEP 1971 Mediterranean
JUN 1972 - JUN 1972 Guantanamo Bay
JUN 1972 - NOV 1972 West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN 1974 - MAY 1974 Mediterranean
MAY 1974 - SEP 1974 Mediterranean
FEB 1975 - JUL 1975 Mediterranean
FEB 1975 - JUL 1975 med cruse
MAR 1978 - NOV 1978 Mediterranean
APR 1979 - NOV 1979 Dry Dock
SEP 1980 - FEB 1981 Mediterranean
OCT 1981 - MAR 1982 Mediterranean
DEC 1982 - JUL 1983 Mediterranean
OCT 1983 - OCT 1983 Granada operation
OCT 1983 - OCT 1983 Grenada
APR 1984 - OCT 1984 Mediterranean-Indian Ocean
JUL 1984 - Shellback Initiation - 15 JUL 1984 - Indian Ocean
JUL 1984 - Shellback Initiation - 15 JUL 1984 - Indian Ocean
FEB 1986 - MAR 1986 Guantanamo Bay
JUN 1986 - DEC 1986 Mediterranean
AUG 1986 - Shellback Initiation - 21 AUG 1986 - Indian Ocean
AUG 1987 - OCT 1987 North Atlantic
AUG 1987 - OCT 1987 Blue Nose - Arctic Circle
JAN 1988 - Shellback Initiation - 3 JAN 1988 - Atlantic Ocean
MAR 1988 - OCT 1988 Operation Deep Freeze
JAN 1989 - Shellback Initiation - 1 JAN 1989 - Pacific Ocean
MAR 1989 - MAY 1989 work at chester PA
JUL 1989 - AUG 1989 Guantanamo Bay
MAR 1990 - SEP 1990 Mediterranean-Indian Ocean
DEC 1994 - 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


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]