Real Rockford Area: Historical Society unearths photo of 'Kishwaukee' tanker

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-112429955321038.jpg’, ‘Photo provided’, ‘This photo of the ship the 'Kishwaukee (AOG-9)' was recently found in the Rockford Historical Society archives.’);

The Rockford Historical Society recently found in its archives a picture of the Kishwaukee (AOG-9), a Patapsco-class gasoline tanker named after the Kishwaukee River in Rockford.

The following information on the ship was copied directly from the Web site

“Kishwaukee (AOG-9) was launched July 24, 1943, by Cargill Shipyard in Savage Minn.; sponsored by Mrs. John Shipp and commissioned May 27, 1944, with Francis M. Hillman, USNR, in command.

“After shakedown, Kishwaukee cleared Norfolk July 8, 1944, and joined the Service Squadron at Pearl Harbor on Aug. 10. She completed a two-month shuttle among the central Pacific Islands, before sailing west to support the reconquest of the Philippine Islands.

“Kishwaukee arrived off Layette late in October, and operated as a station tanker, fueling ships in the vicinity. She supported the Philippine campaign until she sailed Feb. 1, 1945, for operations in the Palau and Caroline Islands.

“Late in March, as the war moved closer to Japan, Kishwaukee sailed for the Ryukyus to fuel ships engaged in the invasion of Okinawa. In spite of the constant enemy air raids, the oiler remained as station tanker until after Okinawa had been secured and continued servicing Allied ships in Okinawa until sailing for Japan, arriving Sasebo Dec. 22. The following six months as station tanker in the Far East, Kishwaukee cleared Japan July 5 and was put into San Pedro July 31.

“From 1946 to 1950, Kishwaukee remained on active service with the Pacific Fleet. Based at Pearl Harbor, she alternated tours in the Far East with cruises among the islands off the South and Central Pacific.

“During the Korean conflict, she supplied vital fuel to Pacific staging areas and operated as a station ship out of Sasebo in November through December 1950. Upon cessation of Korean hostilities, Kishwaukee resumed fuel shuttles from Pearl Harbor to the Pacific Islands and Alaska.

“During 1954, the oiler unloaded cargo in French Indochina as the war in that country was nearing an end. That August, she sailed to Formosa with a supply of aviation gasoline in anticipation of a possible Red Chinese attack on Nationalist-held islands in the Formosa Straits.

“Kishwaukee returned to Pearl Harbor Oct. 17 and, for the next three years, continued runs between Hawaii and the Marshall Islands before sailing for the West Coast on Nov. 10, 1957. She arrived in Astoria, Ore. on Dec. 11, and decommissioned at Seattle on April 2, 1958.

“Her name was struck from the Navy List July 1, 1960. Kishwaukee remained with the Maritime Administration Reserve Fleet until October 1965, when her name reappeared on the Navy List. The ship underwent extensive overhaul at Astoria, Ore., and recommissioned Sept. 1, 1966.

“After fitting out, Kishwaukee arrived at Pearl Harbor, her home port, on Oct. 7, 1966. Following shakedown training, she sailed to the Far East on Dec. 5 and arrived via Guam, at Subic Bay, on Dec. 22. The gasoline tanker entered the combat zone the last day of the year, and supplied fuel for naval aircraft for strikes against Communist targets ashore. From January until April in 1967, she operated out of Da Nang, Vietnam, before departing for Yokosuka, Japan, arriving April 30.

“Kishwaukee continued on to Pearl Harbor and joined ServRon 5 after her arrival on May 15. Kishwaukee received two battle stars for its World War II service.

“It is rumored that the Kishwaukee was decommissioned by being used for target practice.”

From the August 17-23, 2005, issue

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