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USNS Alatna (T-AOG 81) ca. 1957.
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Class: ALATNA (T-AOG 81)
Design: MA T1-MET-24a
Displacement (tons): 2,367 light, 7,300 full
Dimensions (feet): 302' oa, 290' wl x 61' e/wl x 23' lim/max nav
Accommodations: 11 officers, 40 enlisted
Speed (kts.): 13
Propulsion (HP): 4,000
Machinery: High speed diesel electric, 2 screws
|81||ALATNA||16 Aug 1955||Bethlehem Steel, Staten Is.||16 Mar 1956||6 Sep 1956||17 Jul 1957|
|82||CHATTAHOOCHEE||16 Aug 1955||Bethlehem Steel, Staten Is.||1 May 1956||4 Dec 1956||22 Oct 1957|
|81||ALATNA||T||22 Jan 1985||None?||1 Oct 1995||MA/T||16 Dec 2006|
|82||CHATTAHOOCHEE||T||22 Jan 1985||None?||1 Oct 1995||MA/T||16 Dec 2006|
In 1954 Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas S. Gates ordered MSTS to assist in the planned construction of a string of radar outposts, the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line, across the northern Canadan Arctic. Its mission was to detect Soviet bombers attempting to penetrate American airspace from over the North Pole. Supply by sea would be necessary, but up to then no large ocean-going ship had attempted to navigate the waters east of Point Barrow, Alaska or west of Baffin Island.
The MSTS Long-Range Ship Construction Program of 1954 included seven specialized ships: six for the DEW line and one Roll-On/Roll-Off AK to speed up logistics support for the large U.S. force stationed in Germany. The six ships for DEW line support were one "LSD" (called an AKD from February 1955), two small AOGs, and three small AKs. The program also included the four long-range tankers of the T-AO 149 class. By October 1954 this program had became part of the Navy's FY 1955 shipbuilding program. The two small AOGs could resupply remote outposts that larger ships could not reach and had ice-strengthened hulls, light icebreaker bows, and polar environmental protection throughout for both Arctic and Antarctic service. They also had a secondary pilot house in the form of a subzero weatherproofed crow's nest on the foremast with a steering station and direct controls, and their rig included several cargo booms. The booms enabled the ships to carry deck cargo, specifically snow-cats for use on the ice and survival gear in case the ships became trapped in the ice. BUSHIPS completed the contract plans and specifications for the two AOGs in late March 1955 and then handed them over to MARAD to handle the contracting process. The two ships were accepted for service in the Atlantic in July and October 1957.
In 1958 the Distant Early Warning Line went into full operation. Support of the line shifted mostly to the Air Force and Canada, and by 1960 the DEW Line support responsibilities of MSTS were limited to Thule and Goose Bay. The two AOGs were released from Arctic service in 1960-61 and their careers then diverged for a few years until coming together again in 1972 at Suisun Bay as described in the Notes below.
|81||ALATNA||44||FY 1955. Accepted for service in Atlantic 17 Jul 1957. Transferred from MSTS Atlantic to MSTS Honolulu 1 June 1961, to MSTS Far East 25 May 1966, and to MSTS Pacific 22 Apr 1967. OOS and to MA custody 8 Aug 1972 at Suisun Bay, to MA (title) 1 Jul 1974. To Navy (title) 31 Jul 1979 and to MSC Pacific for reactivation and overhaul, to MSC and IS 3 Feb 1982 for service in the Pacific and then the Far East replacing AOG 78 and 80. OOS and to MA custody 22 Jan 1985 (RRF at Yokohama, Japan), Navy retaining title. Both with NODAWAY were in the RRF (ready reserve fleet) at the Tsuneishi Shipyard near Hiroshima in Japan 9 1994 (all from Yokohama Jan 1993), status from RRF to NDRF (regular reserve) 10.1994, back to RRF 8.1995. From RRF to disposal status 30 Sep 2006, sold by MA 16 Dec 2006 to the Teroaka Co. of Japan.|
|82||CHATTAHOOCHEE||45||FY 1955. Accepted for service in Atlantic 22 Oct 1957. To MA temporary custody 3 May 1960, returned to MSTS 23 Jun 1961. Transferred from MSTS Atlantic to MSTS Pacific 12 May 1965 and to MSTS Far East 16 May 1965. To MA custody 22 Feb 1972 at Suisun Bay, MA (title) 1 Jul 1973. To Navy (title) 31 Jul 1979 for reactivation and overhaul, to MSC and IS 11 Jan 1982 for service at Honolulu and then in the Far East replacing AOG 78 and 80. OOS and to MA custody 22 Jan 1985 (RRF at Yokohama, Japan), Navy retaining title. For 1994-95 see ALATNA. From RRF to disposal status 30 Sep 2006, sold by MA 16 Dec 2006 to the Teroaka Co. of Japan.|
Compiled: 18 Aug 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021