USS WABASH (AOR-5)
laid down on 21 January 1970 Quincy,
Mass., by the General Dynamics Corp.; launched on 6 February 1971; sponsored by
Mrs. William G. Bray; and commissioned on
20 November 1971 at the Boston Naval
Shipyard, Capt. Robert P. Chrisler in
Wabash sailed for the west coast on 5 January 1972, called at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; transited the
bleak Strait of Magellan; and visited
Valparaiso, Chile; Callao, Peru; and
Acapulco, Mexico, before arriving at
her home port, Long Beach, Calif., on 3 March, She underwent shakedown from 22 May to 16 June and operated off
the coast of southern California into the autumn.
replenishment oiler commenced her first western Pacific (WestPac) deployment when she departed
Long Beach on 9
November. After proceeding via Pearl Harbor,
Hawaii, she arrived at Subic Bay, Philippine Islands,
on 1 December and, assigned to Service Squadron
9, assumed duties as flagship for Commander, Task Group (TG) 73.5.
group sortied for Tonkin Gulf on 7 December. Wabash conducted 46 underway
replenishments during her first tour on the
"line" off the coast of Vietnam and celebrated Christmas at sea while returning to the Philippines. Arriving in Subic Bay on 28 December,
Wabash soon headed back toward the line on 2 January
1973. She conducted two or three replenishments a day during the final phase of American combat
operations in Vietnam.
February, United States forces were withdrawn from combat. However, she made two more line
her WestPac deployment, for-while combat
operations had ceased-the vital job of supplying
the ships of the Fleet still remained. On 21 May, Wabash departed
Yokosuka, Japan, bound, via Pearl Harbor, for Long Beach.
The ship engaged in training
exercises and underwent inspections into
the summer. On 6 September 1973, her home port was changed to Alameda, Calif.
The oiler conducted local operations out of Alameda through the end of
the year and departed the west coast on 2 March 1974 for her second WestPac deployment. This lasted through the summer, with operations in Philippine
and Japanese waters, before the ship
departed Subic Bay on 25 September to return to the United States.
this period of Alameda-based fleet support operations, Wabash participated in the
"FleetEx 1-76." This operation, conducted off the southern California coast,
lasted from 1 to 13 March
1976, and included units of the United States, British, Canadian, and New Zealand navies.
On 5 June
1976, Wabash again set sail for WestPac. En route, she collided with Flint (AE-32)
during a towing exercise, but neither
ship suffered damage curtailing her primary
mission capabilities. No one was injured.
After damage and voyage repairs at Subic Bay, Wabash commenced
routine local operations in Philippine
waters. On 9 July, however, she returned hurriedly to Subic Bay to load stores and cargo and
departed the following day to conduct
a "stern chase" of TG 77.7. This
group was then headed for the Indian Ocean and a 30-day "show the
flag" cruise. En route, Wabash rendezvoused
with Mars (AFS-1) to load further supplies and stores, transited the Strait of Malacca, and entered
the Indian Ocean on 17 July.
underway replenishments with Ranger (CVA-61), Preble (DDG-46), Goldsborough (DDG-20), and Ouellet (FF-1077),
as TF-77 "showed the
flag" in the Indian Ocean as part of the American effort to balance a growing
Soviet presence in that area of the globe. Her duties thus completed, Wabash returned to Subic Bay on 7 August
and got underway nine days later to rejoin the Ranger task group to
replenish them as they returned to the United States.
Completing her duties with
the Ranger group soon thereafter, Wabash
put into Guam, Mariana Islands, and
prepared to provision the incoming Enterprise (CVN-65) task group. The replenishment ship subsequently conducted local operations in the
Philippines in September and in
Japanese waters in October- operating
out of Sasebo-before visiting Pusan, Korea. Returning to Sasebo on 25 October, the ship headed for Yokosuka soon thereafter for repairs and upkeep
prior to concluding her WestPac
deployment. During this, her third
WestPac tour, Wabash had steamed over 35,000 miles, conducted 100 underway replenishments, and had been at sea nearly 65 percent of the
time. Departing Japanese waters on 10
November, Wabash arrived at her home port one day before Thanksgiving.
the year 1976 in port at Alameda, Wabash spent the latter half of January 1977 undergoing a restricted availability
at Alameda. During the period 17 February to 1 March, the ship engaged in Exercise "RIMPAC "77," a major fleet
exercise involving ships from the United
States, Australian, New Zealand, and
Canadian navies. Wabash conducted 28 underway replenishments during this time. Refresher training continued throughout the spring until the
replenishment ship entered Todd
Shipyard, Alameda, on 15 June for the
commencement of a regular overhaul.
overhaul completed on 9 June 1978, Wabash devoted the remainder of the year in shakedown and refresher training.
January 1979 found Wabash in her home port of Alameda preparing to meet scheduled commitments for that year.
[Note: The above USS WABASH (AOR-5) history may, or may not, contain text provided by crew members of the USS WABASH (AOR-5), or by other non-crew members, and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]