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USS Mauna Kea (AE 22).
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Class: SURIBACHI (AE 21)
Design: SCB Project No. 114
Displacement (tons): 9,758t light, 15,688t full (AE 21)
Dimensions (feet): 511' oa, 486' wl x 72' e/wl x 28' max nav
Armament: 4-3"/50T; (1965 except 25: 1969) 2-3"/50T
Accommodations: 20 officers, 324 enlisted (AE 21)
Speed (kts.): 21
Propulsion (HP): 18,000
Machinery: Geared steam turbines, 2 boilers (615psi/850deg), 1 screw

Construction:
AENameOrdBuilderKeelLaunchComm
21SURIBACHI4 Jun 1954Bethlehem Sparrows Point31 Jan 19552 Nov 195517 Nov 1956
22MAUNA KEA4 Jun 1954Bethlehem Sparrows Point16 May 19553 May 195630 Mar 1957
23NITRO23 Aug 1956Bethlehem Sparrows Point20 May 195725 Jun 19581 May 1959
24PYRO23 Aug 1956Bethlehem Sparrows Point21 Oct 19575 Nov 195824 Jul 1959
25HALEAKALA23 Aug 1956Bethlehem Sparrows Point10 Mar 195817 Feb 19593 Nov 1959

Disposition:
AENameTDecommStrikeDisposalFateMA Sale/Depart
21SURIBACHI2 Dec 199412 Dec 199631 Mar 2000MA/T8 Jun 2009
22MAUNA KEA30 Jun 199512 Dec 199618 Dec 1998MA/TTarget
23NITRO28 Apr 199514 Aug 199531 Mar 2000MA/T23 Jun 2008
24PYRO31 May 19948 Apr 199724 Feb 2001MA/T23 Nov 2011
25HALEAKALA10 Dec 199310 Dec 19939 Mar 1994MA sale--

Class Notes:
The need for a new ship design for AF and other naval auxiliaries was raised in an internal BUSHIPS memorandum in September 1951. On 27 February 1952 George G. Sharp as design agent delivered an initial preliminary design of an AF (Project No. 97), which included consideration of an AE. On 16 April 1952 preliminary characteristics dated 20 March 1952 for an AE mobilization conversion from MARAD hull type C3-S-DX1 (SCHUYLER OTIS BLAND), SCB Project No. 99, were examined. (This was a ship of 15,900 tons full load measuring 477.5' oa x 66' x 28.5' and with 18.5 knots sustained speed.) On 19 May 1952 a Conference on Mobile Logistic Support recommended that four types of ship should be equipped for replenishment at sea: an oiler (AO), an ammunition ship (AE), a refrigerated stores ship (AF), and a general stores issue ship (AKS), the latter to carry technical and aviation spares in addition to general stores. While commercial ships could and would be modified for these functions in the event of mobilization, it was decided to base the original design for the replenishment ships included in the Navy Shipbuilding Program on Navy rather than commercial requirements and thus obtain the most favorable spacing of decks and sheer and camber. It was decided that the AF, AE, and AKS would use substantially the same hull, machinery, and design policies. On 16 July 1952 the Ship Characteristics Board forwarded its first preliminary characteristics for an AE, Project No. 114. On 21 July 1952 Sharp delivered a Summary of Design for Refrigerated Stores Ship (AF) Shipbulding Project No. 97, supplemented by several reports on 1 August 1952, all being partly applicable to the AE. It was decided that a generally similar hull and machinery installation would be used for the new AE and that no design agent need be employed. Initially the AE's like the AF's were to be built by the Maritime Administration and under their supervision for the exclusive use of the Navy, although the Navy ended up contracting for the AE's itself. Both types were also to be designed to commercial standards. During the design process some changes were made from the AF 58 desigh: longitudinal framing replaced transverse framing, the stern was redesigned based on the "Mariner" type to reduce vibration, and deck heights were changed to provide even heights between decks as opposed to the different heights in the AF 58 design required to accommodate the refrigeration insulation.

The first job order for design work on the new AE was issued on 18 August 1952. Special emphasis was to be placed on providing the fastest practicable safe rate of transfer of ammunition at sea. Cargo handling issues involving automatic tensioning winches, various types of fork lift trucks, cargo elevators, and a new type of adjustable permanent dunnage were controversial, and unfortunately the results of a major experiment ("Project 104") with this equipment in DIAMOND HEAD (AE 19) and WHITLEY (AKA 91) that ran from November 1951 to October 1953 would not be available for the new design. (The experiment showed that practically all of the equipment tested needed to be redesigned.) Changes to the basic design to improve cargo handling included rearrangement of booms, kingposts and elevators, the reduction in size of some hatches, and a reduction from six to five holds to increase the size of the individual holds. The design work also addressed cargo stowage, fire fighting, cargo cooling, and other features directly related to the mission of the ship. Approved characteristics for a new construction Ammunition Ship (AE), SCB Project No. 114, were promulgated on 7 January 1953 and updated on 14 December 1955, 19 June 1957, and 26 May 1958. The AE contract drawings and specifications were signed on 12 May 1953.

The design as of April 1955 had their two forward twin 3" mounts on the centerline, and SURIBACHI and MAUNA KEA were completed with this arrangement. However trials of SURIBACHI in November 1957 showed that visibility forward from the bridge was blocked by the centerline gun and director installation on the bow, and the later three ships had the guns located athwartships, which improved visibility. All five ships originally had two more mounts on the centerline aft, but these were soon replaced with a flight deck.

Approved characteristics for the conversion of ammunition ships (AE 21-23 class), SCB Project No. 232, were promulgated on 15 January 1962 and updated for Ammunition Ship (AE FAST) conversion in FY 1964 on 1 April 1963 with a final change on 23 June 1966. In April 1963 SURIBACHI entered the yard of the Maryland Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. at Baltimore for conversion to a Fast Automatic Shuttle Transfer ammunition ship (AE FAST), and at the same time she received a helicopter platform on her fantail enabling her to conduct vertical replenishments for the fleet. She was placed back in full commission on 15 December 1965. The other four ships also received this SCB 232 conversion in FY 1963 and FY 1964 as indicated below.

Ship Notes:
AENameMANotes
21SURIBACHIFY 1954. FAST conversion, SCB 232.63, ord 21 Jun 1963, Maryland SB/DD, start 1 Apr 1964, compl 15 Dec 1965 (completed fitting out). To MA custody 14 Dec 1999. Departed MA custody 17 Jun 2009 under sales contract with International Shipbreakers LLC of Brownsville, TX.
22MAUNA KEAFY 1954. FAST conversion, SCB 232.64, ord 26 Mar 1964, Lockheed, start 1 Mar 1965, compl 3 Jun 1966. To MA custody 2 Mar 1998. MA accepted title 18 Dec 1998. Towed from Concord, CA to Pearl in May 2006 for SINKEX, sunk as target 12 Jul 2006.
23NITROFY 1956. FAST conversion, SCB 232.64, ord 26 Mar 1964, Maryland SB/DD, start 5 Mar 1965, recomm & compl 31 Aug 1967. To MA custody 9 Feb 2000. Departed MA custody for scrapping by ESCO Marine at Brownsville 23 Jul 2008.
24PYROFY 1956. FAST conversion, SCB 232.64, ord 26 Mar 1964, Lockheed, start 12 Feb 1968, deliv 7 Nov 1968. To MA custody 17 Aug 2000. Departed MA custody 24 Jan 2012 under domestic sale to EMR's Southern Recycling in New Orleans, LA.
25HALEAKALAFY 1957. FAST conversion, SCB 232.63, ord 21 Jun 1963, Todd Seattle, start 28 Feb 1964, compl 26 Apr 1965. Ship decomm. at Guam and MA was asked to sell her there outside its usual process. MA on 9 Mar 1994 reported the sale, release to the buyer was authorized on 29 Mar 1994, and the ship was towed out of Guam on 15 Apr 1994.

Page Notes:
Compiled: 22 July 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021
Sources: DB, Maroon, NVR, PHS