USS TRUCKEE (AO-147)
Truckee (AO-147) was laid down in December 1953 at Camden, N.J., by the New York Shipbuilding
Corp.; launched on 19 March 1955; sponsored by Mrs. Murrey L. Royar; and commissioned on 18 November 1955, Capt. Joseph W. Leverton in command.
Assigned to the Atlantic
Fleet, the new oiler reported for duty with Service Squadron 4 off
Norfolk in January 1956 and spent February
in the Caribbean. In May, she carried fresh water, her first cargo, to Bermuda
and the following month got underway for her first transatlantic voyage. With a group of midshipmen
embarked for training, she steamed to
Copenhagen and through the North Sea;
then stopped at Sheerness, England, before
turning to the United States.
On 19 September, she
departed Norfolk; set her course southward and, throughout October,
acted as flagship and supplied fuel and
repairs for a hydro-graphic survey group operating in the vicinity of
two South Atlantic island groups-Ascencion
Island and Fernando de Noronha. In
November, she returned to the
Virginia capes and, before the year was out, had ranged as far as Portugal
serving the fleet.
In 1957, she continued to
ply the waters of the North Atlantic and Caribbean until August when she
again headed south to operate with the Atlantic Survey and Cable Group in the mid-South Atlantic. In addition
to her regular duties, Truckee served as flagship on this operation. She returned to Norfolk in April 1958
and, in June, sailed for European waters. She stopped at Portuguese, Norwegian, and British ports before
returning to the United States in August. Truckee operated out of
Norfolk throughout the remainder of 1958 and
during the early months of 1959.
In June 1959, she took
part in refresher training out of Guantanamo; then, in August, moved
north to fuel ships providing support for President Eisenhower's air trip to Europe. Late in the month, she stopped at Greenock; and she returned to the Norfolk area in
September. The oiler remained with the
2d Fleet into the new year,
conducting a midshipman cruise in the summer of 1960 and steaming northward in
the fall to take part in NATO
exercises inside the Arctic Circle. Truckee
then headed southward to warmer
climates and welcome Mediterranean
ports. The oiler spent Christmas and
New Year's at Cannes and continued her de- ployment with the 6th Fleet into 1961, making over 160 fuelings at sea between November 1960 and February
Into the 1960's, Truckee alternated 6th Fleet Mediterranean cruises with 2d Fleet duty in the
Atlantic. On her Mediterranean
deployment which began in February 1962, the oiler served as flagship,
Commander, Service Force, 6th Fleet. During the Cuban Quarantine operations in the fall of 1962, Truckee fueled
152 ships in 50 days, while serving
as flagship for Commander, Service
In 1963, while
continuing her regular round of duties with
the 2d Fleet, she was awarded the Golden "E" since she had won the Battle Efficiency Award for
five consecutive years. In 1964, she
participated in NATO Exercises "Teamwork" and
"Masterstroke" in the North Atlantic;
and, late in the year, she underwent 10 weeks of yardwork at Baltimore to provide adequate accommodations for the extra staff she would carry when used
as a flagship.
On 1 March 1965, Truckee
departed Norfolk for an eight-month
deployment in the Mediterranean. During this cruise, she served as flagship for Commander, Service Force, 6th Fleet, participated in several
major exercises, fueled over 400 ships and visited ports in five countries. On 6 November, she returned to Norfolk
and rejoined the 2d Fleet.
In 1966, she received her
eighth consecutive combat efficiency
"E" award, but her activities were curtailed in mid-summer when she began an extensive overhaul
at Norfolk, which was not completed
until the new year.
In January 1967, the
oiler conducted refresher training out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and, late in
March, set her course for the
Mediterranean, supporting the 6th
Fleet and serving as Service Force flagship. In May, tension mounted in the
Mideast as Arab-Israeli relations grew increasingly abrasive. On the
morning of 5 June, Truckee was fueling carrier America (CVA-66) when word came that war had broken out between these
two mideast neighbors. Truckee provided fuel and coordinated the support which enabled the carriers and
their escorts to remain on station during this explosive situation.
Although the technical research vessel Liberty (AGTR-5) was mistakenly bombed and torpedoed by the Israelis some
days later, American military involvement was
limited to maintaining readiness during the tense situation. After the crisis subsided, Truckee returned to Norfolk in September and participated in NATO exercises during November.
In the first half of
1968, Truckee alternated upkeep and
Caribbean cruises. The oiler was damaged by a collision with Wasp (CVS-18)
which occurred in June while she was
removing fuel from the carrier. In July and August, Truckee underwent repairs at Norfolk and, in September, got underway for the Mediterranean. During this deployment, she fueled 158 ships,
visited seven countries, and pumped
35 million gallons of fuel before
returning to the United States in April 1969 for fleet operations on the
Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean.
Later in the year, she underwent overhaul and took part in refresher training out of Cuba.
She began another
Mediterranean deployment in April 1970 and embarked 6th Fleet's Service
Force Commander at Rota. Again, as in 1967,
Truckee was on the scene when
new violence threatened in the Mideast. From 9 September 1970 until 8 October, the tanker supplied the naval forces standing off the coast
of Israel during the Jordanian
Crisis. Pumping day and night during
27 of her 30 days at sea, she earned the Meritorious Unit Commendation for her fine performance. On 18 November, Truckee returned to Norfolk
and began the conversion of her plant
to burn Navy Distillate Fuel.
The oiler plied the
Atlantic from Nova Scotia to the Virgin Islands in 1971, supporting NATO
and Atlantic Fleet operations. She participated in Exercise "Rough Ride" in June. After that 10-day NATO exercise
involving ships from five countries,
she supported a NATO sea power
demonstration off Norfolk in September.
February 1972 found Truckee
again underway, via the
Caribbean, for the Mediterranean. At the end of this deployment with the 6th Fleet, she returned to the east coast in November and, at year's end, had
pumped a total of 50 million gallons
On deployment with the
6th Fleet again in 1973, Truckee provided support during yet another Middle East
crisis, the October War. After an emergency sortie from Palma on 7 October occasioned by the heaviest Arab-Israeli fighting since 1967, Truckee remained
in the eastern Mediterranean until
ordered to standdown from alert posture on 18 November 1973. During this
cruise, the tanker pumped 25 million gallons
of fuel to NATO and United States
ships and steamed 25,000 miles.
In 1974, Truckee remained
on the east coast operating out of
Norfolk. She also underwent an extended overhaul which took seven and one-half months and was not completed until January 1975. In the summer
of 1975, she participated in
Exercises "National Week" and
"Dawn Patrol" in the eastern Mediterranean. Later in August,
she shifted operations to the western Mediterranean
before departing Rota in October at the end of her 10th Mediterranean deployment.
On 3 November, she
returned to Norfolk for overhaul. In
February 1976, she returned to duty with the 2d Fleet operating out of
Norfolk with occasional visits to other
east coast ports. Second Fleet operations took Truckee to
Guantanamo in May and to Puerto Rico in July, and she continued local
operations out of Norfolk for the remainder
of the year.
The early months of 1977 were spent in preparations for Truckee's forthcoming deployment to
the Mediterranean. She departed
Norfolk for operations with the 6th
Fleet on 31 March. Following six months of providing fuel to units of that
fleet, Truckee returned to CONUS,
arriving in Norfolk on 21 October. A two-week, post-deployment standdown was followed by an availability devoted primarily to overhaul of the
ship's entire Mk 56 gun fire control system. The close of the year found the fleet oiler in her home port.
During the period 6
January to 11 July 1978, Truckee conducted operations in the Caribbean
on four separate occasions. An upkeep
followed; and then, on 25 August, Truckee
departed Norfolk for a two and
one-half month deployment to the
North Atlantic. Port visits during the
deployment included Rotterdam, Netherlands; Kiel, Germany; and Lisbon,
Portugal. The ship returned to Norfolk on 30 October, and she continued local
operations out of that port into 1979.
[Note: The above USS TRUCKEE (AO-147) history may, or may not, contain text provided by crew members of the USS TRUCKEE (AO-147), or by other non-crew members, and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]