USS OAKRIDGE (ARDM-1)
ARD-19 was built in 1943-44 by the Pacific
Bridge Co., Alameda, Calif., and was accepted and commissioned 22 March 1944,
Lt. Comdr. P. D'Jurhuus in command.
Following commissioning, ARD-19,
a one-piece steel floating dry dock suitable for docking destroyers,
submarines and landing craft, began her journey west to join ServRon 10.
Self-propelled but unable to cross the ocean tinder her own power, she was
towed, in stages across the Pacific. While in transit she was used as a van to
help move the service squadron forward and at the end of August arrived at
Seeadler Harbor carrying a YTL, 2 pontoon crane barges, and 20 LCMs and LCVPs.
From Manus ServRon 10 provided the logistic support for the Palau offensive,
then moved itself forward to Ulithi and Kossol Roads. The Leyte landings soon
followed and the repair facilities were moved up to San Pedro Bay.
On 27 November ARD-19 was moored in that
bay with Ross (DD-563) in dock
undergoing repairs. Shortly before noon the Japanese launched an air attack. A
Tojo fighter crashed into the drydock, passed through the starboard wingwall
of the dock, and caused gasoline fed flames to encompass the dock basin deck,
searing Ross as they spread. As the
fire was being contained another Japanese fighter commenced a strafing run, but
was splashed by gunfire from the ARD, Ross,
and LST-556. Heavy damage kept the ARD busy on self-repairs for only a
brief time. She soon resumed her drydocking and repair role, and continued that
service, at Subic Bay, Luzon, until after the end of World War II.
In 1948, ARD-19 was towed back
across the Pacific and on 29 October she reported for duty with the Pacific
Reserve Fleet at Long Beach. For the next six months she operated tinder that
command and ServRon 1, carrying district craft to various berthing areas on the
west coast. In March 1949 she carried YFN-599 to Puget Sound, took on cranes
and got underway, in tow, for the Panama Canal Zone. From the Canal Zone she
continued on to Orange, Tex., with more district craft in her dock basin.
Arriving 10 June, she continued her ferry service until decommissioned and
assigned to the Texas Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet for berthing, 30 September
Thirteen years later, September 1962, ARD-19
was brought out of reserve and taken to Jacksonville, Fla., where she was
converted, by the Gibbs Shipyards to a fleet ballistic missile submarine
drydock. Her length increased to 536'1 and her displacement to 9,700 tons, she
became the first mobile single unit capable of such docking. She was than
named, redesignated, and recommissioned as Oak
Ridge (ARDM-1), 1 October 1963. Further changes, such as the replacement of
2 ten ton cranes with 2 twenty-five ton cranes, kept her at Norfolk until 4
June 1964 when she was taken under tow by Atakapa
to begin the long journey to her homeport of Rota, Spain. With Mahoa (YTM-519) in her dock basin, she
arrived at Rota 22 days later and commenced providing the services, to Polaris
submarines and others as required, which she has continued into 1970.
ARD-19 received 1 battle star for World War
[Note: The above USS OAKRIDGE (ARDM-1) history may, or may not, contain text provided by crew members of the USS OAKRIDGE (ARDM-1), or by other non-crew members, and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]