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M.V. Flying A, formerly USS Kaloli (AOG-13), in 1955
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Class: KALOLI (AOG-13)
Design Small tanker, 1941
Displacement (tons): 1,155 light, 3,610 lim.
Dimensions (feet): 256.0' oa, 246.5' wl x 43.0' e x 14.8' lim.
Original Armament: 1-3"/50
Later armaments: 1-3"/50 4-20mm (1942)
Complement 46 (1944)
Speed (kts.): 9.5
Propulsion (HP): 1,360
Machinery: 2 screws, De La Vergne Co. diesels
||29 Apr 42
||Charleston SB & DD
||29 Apr 42
||7 Dec 45
||3 Jan 46
||7 Dec 45
FY 1942. FY 1942. In August 1941 the Charleston Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. of Charleston, S.C., a yard that produced only two trawlers, one small freighter, and this small tanker between 1935 and 1941, delivered the gasoline carrier FLYING A to the Tidewater Oil Co. The Navy soon took control of this shipyard and built many of its large tugs (AT, later ATF) there.
On 10 Dec 41 CNO authorized the acquisition under time charter of the tanker BLUE SUNOCO from the Sun Oil Co. at New York and the tanker FLYING A from the Tidewater Associated Oil Co. at Philadelphia. No conversion was to be made at present, the vessels were to be operated by the Naval Transportation Service, and they were not to be classed or renamed. FLYING A was time chartered on 16 Dec 41 and sent to the Pacific, where she ranged the Central Pacific from her base in Pearl Harbor providing logistic support to bases at Midway, Johnston, Canton, Christmas, and Palmyra Islands. She received her 3"/50 gun and probably a few machine guns on 26 Feb 42 for self defense in this increasingly hazardous duty. In March 1942 CinCPac, citing the future contemplated operations of both of these tankers, requested that they be acquired under bareboat charter and operated with Navy crews. On 31 Mar 42 VCNO asked the MC for the ships and authorized the Commandant, 14th Naval District to take them over. Again, no conversion was to be made at the present time unless directed by CinCPac. According to VCNO the two ships were to be classed as Base Oilers (AOb), a designation signifying slow (10 knot) and probably small oilers that had been used in Navy Department plans for the mobilization of the merchant marine since at least the mid-1930s, but by 10 Apr 42 BuShips had classified them AOG (gasoline tankers). On 11 Apr 42 the Auxiliary Vessels Board took note of VCNO's letter of 31 Mar 42 and recommended acquisition of the two ships.
On 21 Sep 42 the Commanding Officer of KALOLI asked BuShips to forward instruction manuals for the ship's two De La Vergne diesel engines. The request eventually ended up with the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, which on 4 Nov 42 informed a Navy official that "No instruction books for the main engines of the subject vessel have ever been prepared. These are the only Marine engines of that type which the company has built. However they were basically similar to non-reversing engines on other tankers operated by the Tidewater Associated Oil Company, for whom this ship was originally built, and the original personnel of the ship were sufficiently familiar with the type of engines not to require complete instruction books." BuShips settled in November 1942 for a summary of the specification of the engines. In early 1943 the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard asked for plans of the ship. The ship's builder replied that it could find only a few blue prints which it wanted to retain, but that it had forwarded a full set of tracings to the Tidewater company which it invited the Navy to contact. The record does not show whether the Navy had more luck getting plans of this unique ship than it did manuals for its unique engines, but this was a common problem with many of the miscellaneous vessels taken in by the Navy from the merchant marine.
||Ex merc. FLYING A (completed Aug 41). Limited conversion ca. 10-27 May 42 by Inter Island DD Co., Honolulu. MC delivered ship to temporary operator 7 Dec 45 and to previous owner 13 Feb 46. Merc. FLYING A. 1946. Lying derelict at Harahan, La., 1976 and condemned 1978.
Compiled: 14 Aug 2010
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2010