Click to view crew list

USS PONCHATOULA (AO-148) - a Neosho-class oiler

In Commission 1956 to 1980

AO-148 Deployments - Major Events

Add a AO-148 Shellback Initiation Add a AO-148 Deployment - Major Event
Month Year to Month Year Deployment / Event
MAR 1954 - Keel Date: 1 MAR 1954
at New York Shipbuilding Camden NJ
JUL 1955 - Launch Date: 9 JUL 1955
JAN 1956 - Commissioned: 12 JAN 1956
AUG 1956 - FEB 1957 West Pac
OCT 1958 - OCT 1958 West Pac
APR 1959 - JAN 1960 West Pac
JUL 1960 - FEB 1961 West Pac
JAN 1962 - JAN 1963 West Pac
FEB 1962 - JAN 1965 West Pac-Viet Nam
APR 1962 - Shellback Initiation - 11 APR 1962 - Pacific Ocean
AUG 1964 - JAN 1965 West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN 1965 - OCT 1966 West Pac
AUG 1965 - Shellback Initiation - 8 AUG 1965 - Pacific Ocean
AUG 1965 - Shellback Initiation - 8 AUG 1965 - Pacific Ocean
OCT 1965 - Shellback Initiation - 23 OCT 1965 - Pacific Ocean
SEP 1966 - JUN 1967 West Pac
SEP 1966 - APR 1967 West Pac-Viet Nam
MAR 1967 - Shellback Initiation - 14 MAR 1967 - Pacific Ocean
JAN 1968 - SEP 1969 West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN 1971 - JAN 1973 West Pac-Viet Nam
MAR 1972 - JUN 1975 West Pac-Viet Nam
APR 1972 - Shellback Initiation - 25 APR 1972 - Pacific Ocean
JAN 1973 - SEP 1973 Dry Dock
JUN 1973 - Shellback Initiation - 23 JUN 1973 - Pacific Ocean
JUN 1973 - Shellback Initiation - 20 JUN 1973 - Pacific Ocean
JUL 1975 - OCT 1976 RIMPAC
JAN 1976 - JAN 1976 West Pac
SEP 1977 - Shellback Initiation - 18 SEP 1977 - Pacific Ocean

AO-148 General Specifications

Class: Neosho-class oiler

Complement: 324 USNS

Displacement: 11600 tons

Length: 655 feet

Beam: 86 feet

Draft: 35 feet


The second Ponchatoula (AO-148) was laid down by the New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J., 1 March 1954 launched 9 July 1955; sponsored by Mrs. I. N. Kiland; and commissioned 12 January 1956, Capt. William R. Wilson in command.

After fitting out at Philadelphia, Ponchatoula, the sixth of a class designed to combine speed and large cargo capacity for rapid underway replenishment over extended operational periods, got underway for the Pacific. Arriving at Long Beach 10 March, she underwent shakedown and training exercises off the California coast and in September deployed to the Far East. Enroute she assisted SS Venus, a Panamanian merchantman lying helpless on the fringes of two typhoons. Taking Venus in tow on the 26th, Ponchatoula was relieved of her tow on the 28th, and continued on to Sasebo to join the 7th Fleet.

Rotated regularly to the western Pacific since that time, Ponchatoula was homeported at Pearl Harbor in early 1958 and received her introduction to support under hostile conditions while operating with 7th Fleet units during the Quemoy-Matsu Crisis in the fall of that year. Support for experimental operations highlighted 1962 as she provided POL services to Joint Task Force 8 engaged in operation Dominic the Christmas Island nuclear test series, then operated Project Mercury recovery ships during the Sigma splashdown. Repeating that support with Faith Seven 1963, she shifted to combat operations in October 1964 deployed to the South China Sea to refuel ships employ the coast of Viet Nam. 279 refuelings later, she returned to Hawaiian waters. In June 1965 she participated in recovery operations for Gemini Four, then deployed again to Viet Nam. In December she interrupted operations there to support the recovery ships for Gemini Six and Seven and in April 1966 returned to Hawaii having set a new record in the Pacific Fleet by bringing 503 ships alongside, 464 of which she refueled. Deployed to WestPac again in November 1967, she pumped over 74 million gallons of fuel through her hoses before returning home in June 1968. In October she again joined ships in the Pacific splashdown area, this time to recover Apollo 7, the first U.S. three-man flight.

By 8 December, Ponchatoula was back in the Philippines, whence she got underway for Yankee Station in Tonkin Gulf on the 15th to again replenish ships operating in support of Allied operations in Viet Nam. In July 1969, she returned home and into 1970 remains in Hawaiian waters.

[Note: The above USS PONCHATOULA (AO-148) history may, or may not, contain text provided by crew members of the USS PONCHATOULA (AO-148), or by other non-crew members, and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]