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USS Sara Thompson (ID-3148) circa September 1918
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Class: SARA THOMPSON (AO-8)
Design Tanker, 1888
Displacement (tons): 5,850 full
Dimensions (feet): 321.0' oa, 310.0' pp x 40.25' wl x 21.8' mn, 21.9' mx
Original Armament: None (1918)
Later armaments: 4-6pdr (in storage at Cavite, never installed)
Complement 104 (1929)
Speed (kts.): 9
Propulsion (HP): 1,300
Machinery: Vertical triple expansion, 1 screw
||8 Aug 18
||25 Aug 88
||16 Sep 18
||21 Jul 33
||12 Dec 33
||9 Aug 34
The iron-hulled steam tank ship GUT HEIL" was built by Sir W. G. Armstrong, Mitchell & Co. at their Low Walker shipyard for the German firm of Wilhelm Riedemann & A. N. Schuette & Sohn of Geestemunde. In 1890 Reidemann helped found the Deutsch-Amerikanische Petroleum Gesellschaft, a firm associated with the Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey, and GUT HEIL became a ship of that company. On 28 Apr 13 during a river flood on the Mississippi River she dragged anchor, broke adrift, was holed in a collision with the British tanker BULYSSES and perhaps the German tanker WILLKOMMEN, and sank near the Standard Oil docks at Baton Rouge, La., on a voyage from Tampico to Baton Rouge with crude oil. The wreck lay abandoned until the wartime demand for tonnage became so great that it was purchased in 1917 by J. W. Thompson of New York City, refloated on around 6 Dec 17, and taken to a shipyard for repairs.
On 8 Aug 18, while repairs were still underway at New Orleans, Louisiana, GUT HEIL was requisitioned by the Navy. On 6 Sep 18 the Navy name SARA THOMPSON was assigned at the request of her previous owner. She was placed in commission on 16 Sep 18 as USS SARA THOMPSON (ID-3148) and spent the rest of the war, and the first months following the November 1918 Armistice, carrying oil from the Gulf Coast to ports on the Atlantic Coast and to Bermuda and Ponta Delgada, Azores.
SARA THOMPSON remained at Ponta Delgada as a station tanker until early September 1919, when she began a two-month voyage to the Philippine Islands by way of the Suez Canal. On 17 Jul 20, when the Navy formally implemented its hull number system, she was designated AO-8. During her first years of Asiatic Fleet service SARA THOMPSON also was used to carry oil to Guam and to China, and operated with other U.S. Navy ships in Far Eastern waters, but because of her worn out machinery the Navy Department on 15 Aug 21 directed that she be placed in reduced commission at Cavite for use as floating storage for fuel and diesel oil. She was placed in commission in ordinary for this purpose on 8 Dec 21. Her cargo capacity was rated by the Navy as 3,826 tons of oil. The old ship had more than another decade of employment there, acting as a storage ship for fuel oil and, after 1930, as receiving ship. USS SARA THOMPSON was decommissioned in July 1933 and stricken from the list of Navy vessels in December. She was sold to a Philippine owner in August 1934 who used her for floating storage. The old ship was seized by the Japanese in January 1942 and refitted, and she was sunk by a U.S. submarine in June 1943 in the Philippines near Tawi-Tawi..
||Ex merc. GUT HEIL (ID-3148, completed Sep 88). Sold to Alberto Barette of Manila, merc. SARANGANI 1934, Japanese merc. SANRAKU MARU 1942, torpedoed by USS TROUT (SS- 202) on 15 Jun 43.
Compiled: 04 Sep 2012
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2012