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The USS SAVANNAH (AOR-4), a Wichita-class replenishment oiler, was commissioned on 5 DEC 1970. USS SAVANNAH operated out of Norfolk, VA after commissioning. Deploying to Mediterranean once and then was reassigned to the Pacific due to the need for her services caused by the war in Vietnam. After fueling the "line" for five months, she returned to Norfolk in June 1974. SAVANNAH assumed her regular "watches" in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. For the next twenty years SAVANNAH fueled the Fleet, true to her motto, "WE SERVE WITH PRIDE". USS SAVANNAH served her country for 24 years, 7 months and 23 days, until decommissioned on 28 JUL 1995. SAVANNAH was scrapped in 2009 and her dismantling was detailed in a National Geographic Channel television show titled "Break It Down".

The USS SAVANNAH (AOR-4) deployment history and significant events of her service career follow:

AOR-4 Deployments - Major Events

Add a AOR-4 Shellback Initiation Add a AOR-4 Deployment - Major Event
Month Year to Month Year Deployment / Event
JAN 1967 - JAN 1968 Mediterranean
JAN 1969 - Keel Date: 22 JAN 1969
at General Dynamics Corp. Quincy MA
APR 1970 - Launch Date: 23 APR 1970
SEP 1970 - MAR 1971 Mediterranean
DEC 1970 - Commissioned: 5 DEC 1970
SEP 1971 - MAR 1972 Mediterranean
JAN 1972 - JAN 1972 West Pac-Viet Nam
APR 1972 - SEP 1972 West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN 1973 - JAN 1974 North Atlantic-Med-Indian Ocean
JAN 1974 - APR 1974 Caribbean
APR 1975 - OCT 1975 Mediterranean
JAN 1977 - AUG 1977 Dry Dock
FEB 1977 - AUG 1978 Dry Dock
JAN 1978 - JUL 1978 Mediterranean
FEB 1979 - JUN 1979 Mediterranean
APR 1979 - JUL 1979 Collision with the USS Forestall in the Med in 1979 or80 during
JUL 1979 - JUL 1979 uss savannah while in carribian collision with uss forestall 59
JUL 1979 - JUL 1979 uss savannah while in carribian collision with uss forestall 65
JUL 1980 - Shellback Initiation - 4 JUL 1980 - Indian Ocean
SEP 1980 - DEC 1980 North Atlantic
NOV 1980 - Shellback Initiation - 29 NOV 1980 - Atlantic Ocean
NOV 1980 - Shellback Initiation - 29 NOV 1980 - Pacific Ocean
JAN 1981 - JAN 1982 Grenada
JAN 1982 - JUL 1982 Mediterranean
JAN 1982 - JAN 1983 Mediterranean-Indian Ocean
JAN 1983 - JAN 1985 Mediterranean-Indian Ocean-Persian Gulf
FEB 1983 - FEB 1983 Mediterranean-Lebanon
FEB 1983 - Shellback Initiation - 26 FEB 1983 - Indian Ocean
OCT 1984 - APR 1985 Mediterranean
SEP 1986 - MAR 1987 Mediterranean
AUG 1988 - NOV 1988 North Atlantic
JAN 1989 - MAR 1989 North Atlantic
MAR 1990 - SEP 1990 Mediterranean
OCT 1991 - APR 1992 Mediterranean
DEC 1991 - JUN 1992 Mediterranean-West Africa
AUG 1993 - JAN 1994 Mediterranean-Indian Ocean
NOV 1993 - Shellback Initiation - 16 NOV 1993 - Indian Ocean
JUL 1995 - Decommissioned: 28 JUL 1995
JUL 1995 - AUG 1995 Decommisioning

AOR-4 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 the Maritime Administration for disposal


The fifth Savannah was laid down on 22 January 1969 by the Quincy Shipbuilding Division, General Dynamics Corporation, Quincy, Mass.; launched on 23 April 1970; sponsored by Mrs. Ralph L. Shifley, wife of Vice Admiral R. L. Shifley, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations; and commissioned on 5 December 1970, Capt. Bernard P. Williams, Jr., in command.

Following shakedown out of Guantanamo Bay, Savannah proceeded to her homeport, Norfolk. Arriving on 12 May, she completed post-shakedown availability on 9 August, and prepared for deployment to the Mediterranean.

Savannah departed Norfolk on 20 September. En route to Rota, Spain, she refueled ships participating in a Caribbean exercise. After reporting to the 6h Fleet on 8 October, Savannah operated in Task Group 60.1; and, by the end of the year, she had replenished 178 ships.

Savannah continued to operate with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean until early March 1972. On 9 March, she headed west for Norfolk and arrived there eight days later. Her stay in the United States, however, was cut short by the exigencies of the Vietnam War. On 25 April, she exited the Chesapeake Bay and, four days later, transited the Panama Canal. Savannah arrived in Subic Bay, P.I., on 20 May and began a five-month tour replenishing the fleet along the coast of Vietnam. She made six line swings to the Gulf of Tonkin during this time. Each swing was punctuated by a 4-6 day load out period in Subic Bay.

Savannah departed Subic Bay on 5 November, bound for Norfolk. She transited the Panama Canal on 4 December and arrived at Norfolk on the 8th. Savannah operated out of Norfolk, along the Atlantic seaboard and in the Caribbean, for almost all of 1973. On 3 December 1973, she again headed eastward to join the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. From 12 December until late May 1974, she supported units of the 6th Fleet on-station in the Mediterranean. On 3 June 1974, she re-entered Norfolk and, as of mid-June, remains in port there.

Savannah earned one battle star and a Meritorious Unit Commendation for service in the Vietnam War.

[Note: The above USS SAVANNAH (AOR-4) history may, or may not, contain text provided by crew members of the USS SAVANNAH (AOR-4), or by other non-crew members, and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]