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USS WICHITA (AOR-1) - a Wichita-class replenishment oiler

In Commission 1969 to 1993

AOR-1 Deployments - Major Events

Add a AOR-1 Shellback Initiation Add a AOR-1 Deployment - Major Event
Month Year to Month Year Deployment / Event
JUN 1966 - Keel Date: 16 JUN 1966
at General Dynamics Quincy Shipbuilding Division
SEP 1966 - Shellback Initiation - 6 SEP 1966 - Pacific Ocean
SEP 1966 - Shellback Initiation - 9 SEP 1966 - Pacific Ocean
MAR 1968 - Launch Date: 16 MAR 1968
JUN 1969 - FEB 1971 Wes Pac Vietnam
JUN 1969 - FEB 1971 West Pac-Viet Nam
JUN 1969 - Commissioned: 7 JUN 1969
JUN 1970 - FEB 1971 West Pac-Viet Nam
OCT 1971 - MAR 1972 West Pac
JUL 1972 - MAR 1973 West Pac
SEP 1973 - MAR 1974 West Pac-Indian Ocean
DEC 1973 - Shellback Initiation - 20 DEC 1973 - Indian Ocean
APR 1975 - OCT 1975 West Pac
APR 1977 - NOV 1977 West Pac
JUN 1977 - Shellback Initiation - 29 JUN 1977 - Indian Ocean
JUN 1980 - DEC 1980 West Pac-Indian Ocean
JUN 1980 - SEP 1980 West Pac
JUN 1980 - DEC 1980 Shellback initiation longitude 69* 22* E & Lattitude 000*
JUL 1980 - Shellback Initiation - 20 JUL 1980 - Indian Ocean
JAN 1981 - AUG 1981 West Pac
SEP 1983 - OCT 1983 Help search for Korean airlines 007 shot down by Russians
SEP 1983 - OCT 1983 West Pac
NOV 1983 - DEC 1983 KAL-007 salv-ops
JAN 1985 - JAN 1985 West Pac
JAN 1985 - DEC 1986 West Pac-Indian Ocean
OCT 1985 - Shellback Initiation - 6 OCT 1985 - Indian Ocean
JUL 1987 - APR 1988 West Pac
OCT 1988 - Shellback Initiation - 16 OCT 1988 - Indian Ocean
JAN 1990 - Shellback Initiation - 1 JAN 1990 - Pacific Ocean
JAN 1990 - DEC 1993 Desert Storm
MAR 1993 - Decommissioned: 12 MAR 1993

AOR-1 General Specifications

Class: Wichita-class replenishment oiler

Complement: 22 Officers and 398 Enlisted

Displacement: 40100 tons

Length: 659 feet

Beam: 96 feet

Draft: 35 feet

Final Disposition: Transferred to United States Maritime Administration 18 December 1998Laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet Suisu


The second Wichita  (AOR-1) was laid down on 16June 1966 at Quincy, Mass., by the General Dynamics Corp.; launched on 16 March 1968; sponsored by Mrs. Howard B. Yeager; and commissioned on 7 June 1969, Capt. Robert R. Deibler in command.

After fitting out in the Boston Naval Shipyard, Wichita on 17 June sailed for the west coast. Following stops at San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and after transiting the Panama Canal, she arrived at Long Beach, Calif., her home port, on 19 July. For the next four months, she remained at Long Beach undergoing postconstruction availability. In December, she got underway to conduct standardization trials, followed by shakedown training. In February 1970, the ship began a two-month post-shakedown availability at Long Beach. In April, she began normal operations out of Long Beach, which included type training and damage control training which kept the ship busy until 22 June, when she began her first deployment to the western Pacific. She changed operational control to Commander, 7th Fleet on Independence Day and arrived in Subic Bay on 11 July. After adjusting her load at Subic, she got underway for her first line period in support of the combat ships operating off the coast of Vietnam. During her first deployment to the western Pacific, Wichita made five separate line swings to replenish the ships operating on "Yankee Station." She terminated each at Subic Bay and varied her routine with two liberty calls at Hong Kong. The ship concluded her first deployment when she arrived back in Long Beach on 2 February 1971.

Wichita spent the next six months engaged in operations out of her home port. These included refresher training, underway replenishments, and port visits to other American and Canadian ports. She also participated as a support ship in the tests conducted on the new Mark 48 torpedo. On 7 August, she departed Long Beach for her second tour of duty with the 7th Fleet. She arrived in Subic Bay on the 24th and embarked upon her first line swing on the 31st. After two periods on station off Vietnam, Wichita visited Sattahip, Thailand, late in October. Two more line periods followed in November and early December. On 10 December, however, she received orders to join a contingency force bound for the Indian Ocean in the wake of the Indo-Pakistani War. She remained in the Indian Ocean until early January 1972 at which time all ships returned to the operating area off the coast of Vietnam. Wichita, however, after a very brief tour on station off Vietnam went to Subic Bay for a much-needed upkeep. She made one more line swing to "Yankee Station" in February and then headed back to Long Beach, where she arrived on 31 March. Wichita remained in the United States only long enough to allow for the usual month of post-deployment leave and upkeep and to conduct some major repairs at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard.

On 17 July, she again pointed her bow westward and set a course for the Far East. On 4 August, the ship arrived in Subic Bay. During the next six months, Wichita made six replenishment voyages to the waters surrounding Vietnam. She also made frequent stops at Subic Bay to load supplies and conduct repairs as well as liberty calls at Hong Kong and at Sattahip in Thailand. She concluded that deployment when she arrived back in Long Beach on 16 March 1973.

The end of that deployment coincided with the end to American involvement in the Vietnamese civil war. While that stopped Wichita's support of combat operations, it did not interrupt her pattern of deployments to the western Pacific. She settled into a more normal routine alternating peacetime operations with the 7th Fleet with routine duties along the west coast of the United States. After six months on the west coast of the United States, the ship embarked upon her fourth tour of duty with the 7th Fleet, her first under peacetime conditions. She provided routine support for the ships of the 7th Fleet and for the ships assigned to a fast carrier task force operating in the Indian Ocean. She returned to Long Beach on 26 March 1974 and, following post-deployment standdown and a brief period of west coast operations, entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard on 28 June to begin her first regular overhaul. She remained in the shipyard until the following January.

On 24 January 1975, her home port was changed from Long Beach to San Francisco. Four days later, she completed overhaul and got underway for the first time since early in the previous summer. Following trials out of Long Beach, a voyage to Acapulco, Mexico, and refresher training out of San Diego, Wichita finally arrived in her new home port on 4 April. After a month of preparations, the ship departed San Francisco on 6 May, bound for a seven-month deployment to the western Pacific. She arrived in Subic Bay on 24 May and began a tour of duty with the 7th Fleet characterized by a full schedule of underway replenishments and port visits to such places as Hong Kong, Sasebo, and Yokosuka in addition to Subic Bay. Her assignment lasted until 26 November at which time she departed Subic Bay to return home. She made a stop at Pearl Harbor early in December and reentered San Francisco on the 15th.

Wichita spent the entire year of 1976 engaged in normal operations out of San Francisco. She participated in type training and in several operational readiness exercises. By the end of the year, she was preparing for her sixth deployment to the western Pacific. That deployment began on 12 April 1977 after a period of refresher training. After a somewhat extended voyage, she arrived in Subic Bay on 4 May. During this deployment, the ship initially operated from Subic Bay; but, after 26 July, she limited heractivities to the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan, operating from the Japanese ports of Sasebo and Yokosuka. Those duties in support of the 7th Fleet continued until 6 November when she departed Yokosuka to return to the United States. She concluded the deployment at Alameda, Calif., on 21 November.

Following post-deployment standdown, Wichita resumed normal west coast operations. These included the usual type training and operational readiness exercises as well as port visits to American and Canadian ports. She also helped to train naval reservists. While participating in the initial phases of RIMPAC 78, the ship visited Pearl Harbor on 5 and 6 April 1978 to take on stores and to give her crew a brief liberty. She returned to Pearl Harbor later in the month at the conclusion of her RIMPAC duties. Such activities as these occupied her time until 2 November when she entered the Triple A Shipyard at Hunters Point, Calif., to begin a nine-month overhaul. As of the summer of 1979, she was completing that overhaul.

Wichita earned four battle stars for Vietnam service.

[Note: The above USS WITCHITA (AOR-1) history may, or may not, contain text provided by crew members of the USS WITCHITA (AOR-1), or by other non-crew members, and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]