The USS MARS (AFS-1), a Mars class combat stores ship, was commissioned on 1 DEC 1963. USS MARS was the first of her class was built at National Steel and Shipbuilding in San Diego, CA, and then homeported n San Diego after commissioning. Her career consisted of numerous Western Pacific deployments in support of the fleet from first, San Diego, then Alameda, CA, and while forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan. MARS ranged from the West Coast of the Untied States to the Gulf of Aden, with significant time "in theater" off of Vietnam. USS MARS served her country for 30 years, 2 months and 16 days, until decommissioned on 1 February 1993. MARS continued to deliver the goods with the Military Sealift Command (MSC) as USNS Mars (T-AFS-1) until her inactivation on 19 February 1998. The hulk of the MARS was disposed of during a multi-national fleet SINKEX in July 2006 off of Hawaii.
The USS MARS (AFS-1) deployment history and significant events of her service career follow:
AFS-1 General Specifications
Class: Mars-class combat stores ship
Named for: The borough of Mars in Butler County
Complement: 486 Officers and Enlisted
Displacement: 9200 tons
Length: 581 feet
Beam: 79 feet
Flank Speed: 20 kn
Final Disposition: Sunk as a target 15 July 2006
USS MARS (AFS-1)
The third Mars (AFS‑1) was laid
down by the National Steel & Shipbuilding Co., San Diego, Calif., 5 May
1962; launched 15 June 1963: sponsored by Mrs. Clyde Doyle, widow of
Representative Doyle of California; and commissioned at Long Beach Naval
Shipyard 21 December 1963, Capt. Russel C. Medley in command.
Mars was the first
of a new class that may eventually replace three types of supply ships: the AF,
AKS, and AVS. Two innovations were Boeing UH‑46 helicopters and an
automatic highline shuttle transfer system to make a rapid transfer of supplies
possible. To speed replenishment processing, Mars became the first ship
in the Pacific Fleet to be equipped with a 1004 Univac computer system.
Assigned to Service Squadron 1, Mars left
San Diego 16 March 1964 for Acapulco, Mexico, for shakedown, returning to San
Diego Faster Sunday. On 1 September she departed for the western Pacific,
arriving Yokosuka, Japan, the 23d. With Yokosuka as home port, the combat
storeship operated from the Philippines to the South China Sea through the rest
of the year.
through the next 3 years to provide logistic support to the far ranging
7th Fleet at sea, especially off Vietnam, while revisiting the South Pacific
ports of Hong Kong; Sasebo, Japan; and Subic Bay, Philippines. Typical of the
combat storeship's supply activities was a night vertical replenishment of Canberra
while the heavy cruiser was fighting off Vietnam, her 8 inch
guns on the engaged side blasting away in support of troops ashore. Mars
has taken an especially active part in similar operations helping block Chinese
communist inspired Vietcong aggression in South Vietnam. She set several
replenishment records in 1967 and 1968, and into 1969 continues to play an
important role in the fleet operations in the Southeast Asia area.
[Note: The above USS MARS (AFS-1) history may, or may not, contain text provided by crew members of the USS MARS (AFS-1), or by other non-crew members, and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]