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USN Auxiliary Ships, Tenders, Replenishment, Repair etc

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Class leader USS CASTOR (AKS-1) Three war general stores issue ship in service 1941 to 1968


Strafed at Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941 she was a major supply vessel throughout the war. In the post war and Korean war era she was homeported at Yokosuka and Sasebo supplying Inchon, Pusan and the 7th Fleet. In September 1954 she took part in the Vietnamese evacuation, Operation Passage to Freedom, from Indo-China



Korean War era patch

AKS 1 USS CASTOR 001.jpg

AKS 1 USS CASTOR 002.jpg

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Class leader USS CASTOR (AKS-1) Three war general stores issue ship in service 1941 to 1968


CASTOR was homeported in Sasebo, Japan during the mid sixties. She made runs to Vietnam, picking up stores in Sasebo, Subic Bay, Philippines and Kaoshung, Taiwan. She and USS MARS (AFS-1) and Castor's sister ship USS POLLUX (AKS-4) posted here http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/194762-usn-auxillary-ships-tenders-oilers-ammo-repair-etc/?p=2387769 which was homeported in Yokosuka, Japan were the only supply ships serving the Vietnam units until Castor's decommissioning. Pollux was also decommissioned during the Vietnam War (1968).


Vietnam era patch

AKS 1 USS CASTOR 003.jpg

AKS 1 USS CASTOR 004.jpg

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Combat stores ship and Class leader USS MARS (AFS-1) In service 1963 to 1993. MARS was the first of a new class that was intended to replace three types of supply ships: the AF (Store Ship), AKS (Stores Issue Ship), and AVS (Aviation Supply Ship). She was a major Vietnam supply ship of SERVRON 1 in San Diego earning a Navy Unit commendation and eleven campaign stars for Vietnam service.

AFS 1 USS MARS 001.jpg


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USS OTUS (AS-20/ARG-20) Asiatic Fleet submarine tender, she survived the attack on the Philippines in 1941 and escaped to Australia where she tended subs during the war.


Converted to a Repair ship Internal combustion engine tender (ARG) in 1945, she was decommissioned in 1946 and assigned to the National Defense Reserve Fleet in Washington state to maintain the mothballed ships (which is where this patch comes in) until 1970

ARG 20 USS OTUS 001.jpg

ARG 20 USS OTUS 002.jpg

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USS REGULUS (AF-57) Denebola class Stores Ship, served as SS ESCANABA VICTORY in WWII. Commissioned in 1954 but lost due to grounding while riding out typhoon Rose at Hong Kong. Regulus grounded on Kau I Chau Island on 17 August 1971, ripping open her hull. After three weeks of attempting to refloat Regulus, it was finally decided that the damage she had incurred was too severe to warrant salvage. The ship was cut up and removed in pieces. Regulus was decommissioned 10 September 1971 and subsequently struck from the Navy List.


Japanese made Vietnam era patch

AF 57 USS REGULUS 001.jpg

AF 57 USS REGULUS 002.jpg

AF 57 USS REGULUS 003.jpg

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Attempted salvage of USS REGULUS (AF-57) in 1971 by my ship and her sister ship
USS Safeguard (ARS-25) (inboard) and USS Grasp (ARS-24) (outboard) conducting salvage operations of USS Regulus (AF-57) after she ran aground on a reef at Kau I Chau Island off the coast of Hong Kong following the passing of Typhoon Rose on 16-17 August 1971.
US Navy photo


AF 57 USS REGULUS 005.jpg

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Different version, 1960's cut edge with more details


USS SYLVANIA (AFS-2) Mars class combat stores ship in service 1964 to 1994


Flagship of Service Force Sixth Fleet, Service Squadron Four and Service Group Two (Second Fleet)



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USS NIAGARA FALLS (AFS-3) Mars class combat stores ship in service 1967 to 1994. USNS NIAGARA FALLS (T-AFS-3) 1994 to 2008


Combat Action Ribbon - First Gulf War (Desert Storm)
Niagara Falls participated in Operation Desert Storm, transiting the Straits of Hormuz at midnight on 16 January 1991 and assigned an operating area in the northern end of the Persian Gulf, known as the 'NAG' or North Arabian Gulf operational area, this was the sea opposite Kuwait which was heavily mined by Iraqi prior to the start of combat operations. Due to limited mine countermeasure assets in the Persian Gulf and Niagara Falls operating area, an EODMU detachment was assigned. During the course of the war Niagara Falls destroyed five naval mines herself while operating in the northern Persian Gulf.
One interesting incident on 23 January was the visible flash of an explosion reported by the aft lookout, possibly an errant Scud missile which had been reported heading out into the Persian Gulf.
On 29 March Niagara Falls assisted the M/V Mercs Horana which was undergoing a major shipboard fire while underway in the Salton Sea. Niagara Falls arrived at night and the crew was presented with the sobering image of the Horana's superstructure fully engulfed in flames, and four other coalition ships, including Shasta and Francis Hammond circling the burning vessel. Niagara Falls At-Sea Fire Party was told to stand ready to motorboat over, however the Commonwealth Coalition ship in charge at the scene declined the manpower and requested spare fire fighting foam be supplied.
For spending 143 days in the combat zone, and operating North of 28.30 N and West of 49.30 E between 17 January–28 February 1991 the ship was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon. During the course of the war the Niagara Falls primary assignment was USS Missouri (BB-63) and her battlegroup, however she also serviced Ranger, the Amphibious Group, and the hospital ships. During this period Niagara Falls would mainly resupply from Jebel Ali near Dubai, however stops were also made at Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.



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