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USS NECHES AO-47

A HISTORY OF COURAGE

WITH NINE BATTLE STARS DURING WORLD WAR II IN THE PACIFIC, THE USS NECHES WAS THE MOST DECORATED FLEET TANKER IN THE UNITED STATES NAVY. FROM GUADALCANAL TO TOKYO BAY, AND INCLUDING OPERATIONS IN THE ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, THE NECHES, UNDER THE ABLE COMAND OF CAPTAIN H. G. HANSEN, PERFORMED FLAWLESSLY IN IT'S TASK TO SUPPLY THE PACIFIC FLEET WITH FUEL TO ULTIMATELY DEFEAT THE JAPANESE. NOT TO BE OVERSHADOWED BY FIGHTING SHIPS, SHE SHOT DOWN A JAPANESE SUICIDE PLANE AT OKINAWA. THE ONLY TANKER TO DO SO IN THE ENTIRE WAR.

COMMISSIONED IN SEPTEMBER 1942 SHE REPLACED THE ORIGINAL USS NECHES AO-5 WHICH WAS SUNK BY 3 JAPANESE TORPEDOES OFF HAWAII. SHE JOINED THE FLEET FOR FUELING OPERATIONS OFF GUADALCANAL IN NOVEMBER 1942. SHOWING THE ADMIRALS OF THE PACIFIC FLEET HER ABILITY TO FUEL WITHOUT FLAW, THE NECHES WAS ASKED TO TAKE PART IN EVERY MAJOR INVASION IN THE PACIFIC THEATER. THOSE INVASIONS INCLUDED THE PHILIPPINES, IWO JIMA AND OKINAWA. IT WAS AT IWO JIMA THE CREW WATCHED AS THOSE GALLANT MARINES HOISTED THE FLAG ON MT. SURIBACHI. A TRIP FROM LEYTE GULF IN THE PHILIPPINES TO THE SOUTH CHINA SEA, WITH ONLY A SUBMARINE AS ESCORT, TO HELP LURE THE JAPANESE FLEET TO BATTLE WITH THE AWAITING AMERICAN FLEET WAS JUST ONE OF THE MANY ASSIGNMENTS SHE TOOK PART IN. LITTLE WONDER THEN, WHEN THE JAPANESE SURRENDERED, THE USS NECHES WAS INVITED TO REPRESENT THE TANKER FLEET AND TAKE PART IN THE CEREMONIES IN TOKYO BAY. SHE WAS THE ELEVENTH MAJOR SHIP TO ENTER TOKYO BAY ON AUGUST 29, 1945, FOUR DAYS BEFORE THE SURRENDER CEREMONIES.

THROUGH OVER 1000 FUELINGS THE NECHES NEVER PARTED A LINE OR A FUEL HOSE NOR SUSTAINED A CASUALTY. AT ONE TIME EVEN TRANSPORTED TWO CAPTURED JAPANESE PILOTS. SHE SURVIVED A DEVASTATING TYPHOON AND STRUCK A MINE WHICH TORE A 22' BY 15' HOLE IN HER SIDE, YET CONTINUED ON HER WAY TO COMPLETE HER ASSIGNMENTS. AFTER THE WAR THE NECHES MADE TRIPS TO THE PERSIAN GULF, HONG KONG, SHANGHAI AND MANY OTHER PORTS OF CALL. SHE SERVED IN THE KOREAN CONFLICT AND THE VIETNAM WAR AND WAS ULTIMATELY DE-COMMISSIONED IN 1970. TRULY, A HISTORY OF COURAGE.

 

THE CREW --- by ed anderson