This entire site, including all its pages, is copyright © Stephen S. Roberts, 2001-2021 or later as indicated.

U. S. Navy Auxiliary Vessels

1946-1979 Supplement

To access the ship listings click on this photograph or click "Enter".

The new fast combat support ship USS Sacramento (AOE-1) with the equally new combat store ship Mars (AFS-1) and the oil-stained FRAM-II destroyer Walke (DD-723) alongside, probably during pre-deployment training for a Westpac cruise that started on 27 November 1964. Walke has a highline over amidships while Mars has only a phone and distance line over forward and may be breaking away. Sacramento was nearly as large as an Iowa-class battleship and had half of the propulsion plant of one, the incomplete Kentucky (BB-66). Photo no. USN 1105513 released 24 December 1964.

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Under Construction (Hard Hat Area)

This is a supplement to the auxiliary vessels portion of the Shipscribe site that takes the entire portion up to 1979 and carries the portion relating to "combat logistics ships" (underway replenishment ships, currently the AKE, AO, and AOE types) up to the present. A list of later auxiliary vessel classes of other types (but not their ships) up to the present is also provided. Work on this supplement began in July 2021 and as of June 2022 the ship type and class pages have been created and largely built, although more information is still being added and the information already presented is incomplete and subject to change. The separate photo pages will follow later..

The Navy added a new generation of auxiliary vessels to the fleet during the 1950s and early 1960s, but fiscal constraints largely caused by the increasing intensity of the Vietnam War brought auxiliary vessel procurement to a near stop by the end of the 1960s. The addition of World War II-era ships to the auxiliary fleet also ended in 1969 with Marshfield (AK 282), a Victory ship converted to transport fleet ballistic missiles. Only a few new auxiliary ships were added during the 1970s, some because of concern within OSD over the aging of the force rather than because the Navy asked for them. This supplement concludes with Fiscal Year 1979 procurement at the end of this slow period. When acquisitions began to pick up in Fiscal 1980 the types procured were quite different, and beginning in the mid-1990s the Navy began to move away altogether from operating its own auxiliary vessel force as it had in World War II, relying instead on the civilian-manned Military Sealift Command and on contract shipping. By 2021 the only auxiliary ships in full Navy commission were the two LCC-19 command ships, two AS-39 class submarine tenders (both at Guam), three of the new Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) type, and for the legal record Pueblo (AGER 2).

As does the main site, this supplement provides for each ship its name and classification, technical specifications, and procurement history, along with dates of and other relevant data on construction, commissioning, and disposal. Most career details, notably operational history, are outside the scope of this work. Ships are listed by type using standard U. S. Navy classifications (AD: Destroyer Tender, etc.) and class. To proceed to the ship class pages, click "Enter" above or click on the photograph at the top of this page to access the main ship type page. The Quick Links Menu is an alphabetical listing of ship types in this supplement with direct links to them

Two directives were added to SECNAVINST 5030.8A of 8 Feb 2011 and repeated in later editions: "Hyphens shall not be used in the hull number of any ship or craft," and "Periods shall not be used to separate any letters in a ship's name." These directives codified practices that had been in use since at least the early 1950s (though not in World War II) and are followed in this supplement.

The prefix "T" for MSTS/MSC ships originated in a letter of 1 December 1949 from Commander MSTS to CNO in which MSTS recommended classification symbols and numbers for a group of Army ships operating out of the continental United States that was scheduled for transfer to the Navy in the immediate future (1 March 1950). The classification symbol for these ships included the prefix "T", meaning "assigned to MSTS." MSTS also recommended that the same identifications be extended to former Naval Transportation Service ships, both commissioned and noncommissioned, while they were assigned to MSTS. However inasmuch as the prefix "T" was to be used for purposes of identification, it was not to appear as part of the classification symbol in the listing of MSTS ships in the Naval Vessels Register (NVR) or Ship Data U.S. Naval Vessels (the Ships Data Book), the information being provided in those publications by status codes. CNO approved these recommendations on 27 December 1949. This practice continues to this day, though the prefix "T" is no longer used for commissioned vessels. On 22 Feb 1950 CNO approved the assignment of the status "Active, in service" for all noncommissioned vessels assigned to MSTS.

Ship designs were managed and numbered by the Ship Characteristics Board (SCB, to c1971), Ship Acquisition and Improvement Council (SAIC, c1971-72), and the Ship Acquisition and Improvement Panel (SAIP, c1972-76). From 1974 design requirements were disseminated as Top Level Requirements (TLR). In 1963 for Fiscal Year 1965 and later the SCB replaced its numeric sequence of SCB numbers with block numbers (700 = auxiliaries) followed by a two digit suffix denoting the fiscal year under which the ship was to be built (concept work having began earlier). In effect, this new numbering scheme changed the focus of the SCB from design and development to procurement and budget compliance, and concept-only designs ceased to receive numbers. The assignment of design numbers stopped in 1979. Click here for a listing of all U.S. Navy Ship Characteristics Board (SCB) numbers and those of its successors, 1946-1979.

Whenever possible, a representative photograph has been provided for each ship class whith more photos to be provided in the future on special photo pages. The photos are primarily from the U. S. Naval History and Heritage Command and from other Navy sources, although documentation on these and other photos, including photo numbers and dates, is not as complete as for the period up to 1945 because many of the originals have not been cataloged by NHHC or NARA. Unlike the other information on this site, all of which is copyright © by Stephen S. Roberts, all photographs that originated from U.S. Government collections or that have U.S. Government file numbers are believed to be in the public domain, and this site claims no rights to them and places no restrictions on their reproduction and use.

This entire site, including all its pages, is copyright © Stephen S. Roberts, 2001-2021 or later as indicated.

Page made 9 July 2021