Click to view crew list

The USS SYLVANIA (AFS-2), a Mars class combat stores ship, was commissioned on 11 JUL 1964. USS SYLVANIA was built at National Steel and Shipbuilding in San Diego, CA and after commissioning transited the Panama Canal in August 1964 and took up her duty with the Atlantic Fleet. April 1965 SYLVANIA began her "ship's work", a series of Mediterranean deployments that extended in to the Indian Ocean as needed. USS SYLVANIA served her country for 29 years, 10 months and 15 days, until decommissioned on 26 MAY 1994. The hulk of the SYLVANIA was scrapped in July 2001.

The USS SYLVANIA (AFS-2) deployment history and significant events of her service career follow:

AFS-2 Deployments - Major Events

Add a AFS-2 Shellback Initiation Add a AFS-2 Deployment - Major Event
Month Year to Month Year Deployment / Event
AUG 1962 - Keel Date: 18 AUG 1962
at National Steel and Shipbuilding Company San Diego CA
AUG 1963 - Launch Date: 15 AUG 1963
JUL 1964 - Commissioned: 11 JUL 1964
JUN 1967 - JUN 1967 Mediterranean
JUN 1967 - JUN 1967 support of rescue attempt-USS Liberty during Arab Israeli war
AUG 1967 - Shellback Initiation - 9 AUG 1967 - Indian Ocean
JAN 1968 - JUL 1970 Mediterranean
AUG 1970 - JAN 1971 Mediterranean
NOV 1970 - MAY 1971 Mediterranean
FEB 1972 - AUG 1972 Mediterranean
MAY 1973 - DEC 1973 Mediterranean
AUG 1974 - MAR 1975 Mediterranean
JUN 1975 - DEC 1975 Portsmouth Naval Yard / Newport News Ship Yard Ship OverHaul
JAN 1976 - JAN 1977 Mediterranean
OCT 1976 - JAN 1977 North Atlantic
SEP 1978 - FEB 1979 Mediterranean
OCT 1978 - MAY 1979 Mediterranean
MAY 1980 - SEP 1980 Mediterranean
SEP 1980 - FEB 1981 Mediterranean-Indian Ocean-Persian Gulf
APR 1981 - OCT 1981 Mediterranean
JUL 1982 - DEC 1982 Mediterranean
JAN 1983 - AUG 1984 Mediterranean
OCT 1983 - APR 1984 Mediterranean-Lebanon
NOV 1983 - APR 1984 Mediterranean
APR 1985 - OCT 1985 Mediterranean
SEP 1986 - FEB 1987 Mediterranean
JUL 1987 - OCT 1987 Mediterranean-Indian Ocean
JAN 1988 - JUN 1988 Mediterranean
JAN 1989 - JAN 1990 Mediterranean
JAN 1990 - AUG 1990 Operation Desert Storm
OCT 1991 - JUN 1992 Mediterranean-Indian Ocean-Persian Gulf
AUG 1992 - SEP 1992 Hurricane Andrew Support
MAY 1994 - Decommissioned: 26 MAY 1994

AFS-2 General Specifications

Class: Mars-class combat stores ship

Named for: Sylvania an asteroid

Complement: 486 Officers and Enlisted

Displacement: 17500 tons

Length: 581 feet

Beam: 79 feet

Flank Speed: 20 knots

Final Disposition: Sold for scrapping 28 July 2001


The second Sylvania (AFS-2) was laid down on 18 August 1962 by the National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., San Diego, Calif.; launched on 10 August 1963; sponsored by Mrs. Cyrus R. Vance; and commissioned on 11 July 1964, Capt. Bernard A. Lienhard in command.

At the time of commissioning Sylvania was the second of a new class of combat store ship designed to combine the functions of the AF (store ship), AK.S (stores issue ship), and AVS (aviation issue ship). She completed fitting out and, after sea trials, departed California for duty with the Atlantic Fleet. The Panama Canal was transited on 11 August, and the ship arrived at Norfolk on 16 October 1964 for post-shakedown availability. Upon completion thereof, the ship operated in the Norfolk area until the spring of 1965.

Sylvania stood out of Norfolk on 14 April 1965, en route to the Mediterranean and her first tour of duty with the 6th Fleet. She called at Rota, Spain, and arrived at her new home port, Naples, on 29 April. Two days later, she began her first underway replenishment operation with the 6th Fleet. On 31 July, Sylvania completed the first vertical replenishment of an aircraft carrier using UH-46A helicopters. In early October the store ship logged her 1,000th accident-free helicopter landing. She served as flagship for the Service Force, 6th Fleet, from 5 December 1966 to 17 April 1967. During the night of 8 January 1968, the cargo ship suffered her only material loss of the year. She experienced a roll of 38 degrees and took water over the flight deck. The roll, wind, and water parted the tie-downs on cargo staged on the flight deck for the next day's replenishment. Consequently, 52 pallets of provisions were lost. On 1 July 1968, Sylvania was awarded the Battle Efficiency "E" for her class and the Supply E for Supply Efficiency.

Sylvania was honored on 19 October by a visit from the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Charles A. Bowser, and a party of eight who came aboard for a briefing and tour and to observe an underway replenishment exercise. The ship was in drydock at Malta from 29 November until 10 December 1968 when she returned to normal 6th Fleet operations. On 16 June 1969 the ship lost a UH-46D helicopter when it crashed during vertical replenishment operations in the harbor of Palma de Mallorca, but the crew was rescued. On 30 September, the ship outchopped from the 6th Fleet and returned to Norfolk on 24 October after an absence of four and one-half years.

Sylvania deployed to the 6th Fleet again from 28 December 1969 to 15 February 1970. She then began preparations for her first overhaul since commissioning. The ship was in drydock from 11 April to 13 May when she moored at the shipyard, and was ready for sea on 13 July. On 20 July the ship was awarded the Meritorius Unit Commedation for service to the 6th Fleet during the period 25 April 1965 to 30 September 1969. The next day, Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., Chief of Naval Operations, visited Sylvania. The period from 13 August to 11 September was spent in refresher training at Guantanamo Bay.

Sylvania stood out of Norfolk on 18 November 1970 to begin a six-month deployment in logistic support of the 6th Fleet and returned to Norfolk on 17 May 1971. In June, the ship entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for a four-month restricted availability period.

Sylvania left the yard on 4 October and, from 23 to 27 October, conducted a four-day port call at Fort Lauderdale, Fla. After two weeks of refresher training at Guantanamo Bay, she returned to Norfolk for another two-month availability period. The ship then commenced predeployment loadout and underway training in the Virginia Capes area until mid-February. Sylvania deployed to the Mediterranean in support of the 6th Fleet from 24 February to 26 August. After five weeks of reloading supplies at Norfolk, the cargo ship returned to the Mediterranean, from 2 October to 10 November, to replenish the AFS that was on station there. The remainder of the year 1972 and until 5 March 1973 was spent at Norfolk in upkeep and underway training.

Sylvania, sailed to Guantanamo Bay and held refresher training from 6 to 16 March and then paid a three-day visit to Cape Kennedy before returning to her home port on the 23d. She stood out of Norfolk on 25 May for another tour with the 6th Fleet and relieved Concord (AFS-5) as the on-station AFS on 16 June. She, in turn, was relieved by San Diego (AFS-6) on 12 November and returned to Norfolk on 3 December 1973.

Sylvania operated out of Norfolk until early September 1974 when she again deployed to the Mediterranean for duty with the 6th Fleet. As of 1 March 1975, she was still serving with that fleet.

[Note: The above USS SYLVANIA (AFS-2) history may, or may not, contain text provided by crew members of the USS SYLVANIA (AFS-2), or by other non-crew members, and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]