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Panoramic view of USS Alameda (AO-10) on 7 March 1921
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Class:        ALAMEDA (AO-10)
Design        EFC 1128
Displacement (tons):        5,450 light, 14,450 full
Dimensions (feet):        446.0' oa, 430.0' pp x 58.0' wl x 25.5' mn
Original Armament:        2-5"/51 (AO-10)
Later armaments:        2-5"/51 2-3"/50 (1940: AO 15, 17)
2-5"/51 4-3"/50 0<8-20mm (1941-42: all);
2-5"/38 4-3"/50 8-20mm (1945: AO-16)
Complement        104 (1929)
Speed (kts.):        11
Propulsion (HP):        2,800
Machinery:        Vertical triple expansion, 1 screw

AO Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
10 ALAMEDA 17 Oct 19 William Cramp & Sons 16 Dec 18 15 Jul 19 17 Oct 19
15 KAWEAH Dec 21 William Cramp & Sons 6 Jan 19 14 Aug 19 28 Dec 21
16 LARAMIE Dec 21 William Cramp & Sons 14 Apr 19 26 Nov 19 28 Dec 21
17 MATTOLE 6 Mar 22 William Cramp & Sons 2 Jun 19 16 Mar 20 16 Jun 40

AO Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
10 ALAMEDA 29 Mar 22 -- 9 Aug 22 Sold --
15 KAWEAH 16 Nov 45 28 Nov 45 28 May 46 MC/S 1 May 46
16 LARAMIE 16 Nov 45 28 Nov 45 11 Jun 46 MC/S 1 May 46
17 MATTOLE 25 Oct 45 13 Nov 45 7 Jun 46 MC/S 1 May 46

Class Notes:
In mid-1918 the Navy and the Shipping Board's Emergency Fleet Corporation collaborated on a plan to build twelve merchant-type tankers for Navy use. The EFC added the ships to its building program as its hulls 1650-1661 and retained ownership of the vessels, but it delegated to the Navy all aspects of their construction, including contracting, design, and supervision of construction. The ships were built at yards that worked for the Navy and not the EFC. On completion the EFC was to loan the ships to the Navy, which would take them over and man them for its own use. On 29 Aug 1918 the Navy on behalf of the EFC signed a contract with the William Cramp & Sons Ship and Engine Building Co. for construction of four oil tank steamers of about 10,000 tons deadweight capacity. Navy names for the four ships were assigned by Navy General Order 503 of 2 Sep 19 and promulgated within the EFC on 15 Oct 19.

For these ships Cramp selected a 446-foot design to which it had built 5 earlier tankers: J. M. DANZIGER (1916), SUNOIL (1916), WM. ROCKEFELLER (1916), HAROLD WALKER (1917), and WILLIAM GREEN (1917). In World War II HAROLD WALKER served as USS BANSHEE (IX-178, q.v.). The first of the four new ships, ALAMEDA, was delivered to the Navy and commissioned in October 1919, but with the war over the Navy turned the other three over to the Shipping Board as soon as the shipbuilder delivered them. As built the ships had a cargo capacity of 8,850 tons of oil.

ALAMEDA (AO-10) was commissioned in October 1919. She operated primarily along the east coast, making periodic trips to Port Arthur, Texas, to load oil. Beginning in February 1920 ALAMEDA also carried oil across the Atlantic to support American warships in European waters. On 19 November 1921, while about 30 miles off Cape Henry, Va., she suffered an explosion in her boiler room. The resulting fire forced her crew to abandon ship in stormy weather. Merchant ships rescued the entire crew, and naval tugs brought the damaged ship into Norfolk. Ordered sold 20 Feb 22 and formally decommissioned in March 1922, ALAMEDA was sold on 9 Aug 22. Repaired by her new owner, she entered merchant service in 1925 as S.S. OLEAN. She rejoined the Navy in World War II as USS SILVER CLOUD (IX-143, q.v.).

In 1920 the Navy's lawyers determined that ships could be acquired from the Shipping Board by Presidential Executive Order, and by 17 Oct 21 negotiations between the Navy and the Shipping Board had reached the stage at which 15 specific hulls (3 refrigerating ships, 11 cargo ships, and one passenger & cargo ship) had been selected to replace an equivalent number of worn out Naval auxiliaries. All 12 of the 1918 tankers were also included in the deal, and on 29 Oct 21 Presidential Executive Order No. 3570 authorized the transfer of the 27 ships. Of the twelve tankers, five (AO 9-13) were already in Navy custody on loan from the Shipping Board, three were in commercial service under allocation from the Shipping Board, and four had been laid up by the Shipping Board.

As of 2 Nov 21 KAWEAH and LARAMIE were inoperative and immediately available at Mobile, Ala., and MATTOLE was being operated by Columbus Steamship Co. As of 22 Dec 21 the crew of KAWEAH and ship-keepers for LARAMIE were at Mobile, the ships were ready for sea service, and it was expected that they would be taken over from the Shipping Board within a few days. Both ships were commissioned on 28 Dec 21. As of 7 Jan 22 KAWEAH was to proceed to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, sailing from Mobile about 20 January, while LARAMIE was to proceed to the Norfolk Navy Yard, sailing from Mobile about 6 January. Both ships were out of commission by August 1922. MATTOLE was delivered at the New York Navy Yard on 6 Mar 22, and on 14 Mar 22 the Department stated that she was to be laid up for future commissioning when required. All three ships remained in reserve until late 1940.

Ship Notes:
AO Name EFC Notes
10 ALAMEDA 165 (ID-4838.) Burned at sea 19 Nov 21. Merc. OLEAN 1925. Reacquired 12 Jul 44 as SILVER CLOUD (IX-143), q.v.
15 KAWEAH 165 (ID-4536.) Deliv. to Navy 19 Nov 19 and by Navy to EFC 20 Nov 19. Decomm. 15 Aug 22 at Norfolk. In commission in ordinary 28 Jun 40, in full commission 16 Dec 40. To buyer 28 May 46, scrapped by 31 Jan 48.
16 LARAMIE 165 Deliv. to EFC 19 Feb 20. Decomm. 19 Jun 22 at Norfolk. In commission in ordinary 26 Jun 40, in full commission 6 Dec 40. To buyer 11 Jun 46, scrapped by 10 Nov 47.
17 MATTOLE 165 Deliv. to EFC 24 Jul 20. Comm. in ordinary 26 Jun 40, full commission 15 Nov 40. To buyer 7 Jun 46, scrapped by 1 Jun 47.

Page Notes:
AO        1918
Compiled:        04 Sep 2012
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2012