USNS Asterion (T-AF-63)


USNS Asterion (T-AF-63)

USNS "Asterion" (T-AF-63) was an "Asterion"-class stores ship acquired by the U.S. Navy. Her task was to carry stores, refrigerated items, and equipment to ships in the fleet, and to remote stations and staging areas.

Pre-commissioning activity

The second vessel to be named "Asterion" by the Navy, "AF-63" was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract (MCV hull 41) on 10 June 1944 at Los Angeles, California, by the California Shipbuilding Corp., as "Arcadia Victory". Launched on 27 July 1944 and sponsored by Mrs. James T. Wishart, "Arcadia Victory" was delivered to her operators, the American President Lines, on 3 September 1944. She operated under that shipping line's flag until laid up late in 1952.

Acquired by the Navy

Removed from the National Defense Reserve Fleet berthing area at Suisun Bay, California, on 7 November 1961, "Arcadia Victory" was acquired by the Navy from the Maritime Commission on 12 November 1961. Renamed "Asterion" and classified as a store ship, AF-63, on 4 December 1961, the ship was taken to the Willamette Iron and Steel Co. of Portland, Oregon, where she underwent conversion to a refrigerated store ship.

Assigned to MSTS

Placed in service with the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) (later Military Sealift Command, MSC) in September 1962 as "USNS Asterion" (T-AF-63), the ship operated in the MSTS (later, MSC), Pacific Area, delivering fresh and frozen foods to Pacific and Far Eastern ports. Early in her career, in 1963, she suffered minor damage to her bow in a collision off San Francisco, California, with the Japanese freighter "Kokoku Maru".

Carrying "everything from steak and spuds, to mobile cranes and dynamite," Asterion -- the winner of the MSTS "Smart Ship Award" in 1967 -- operated in the Pacific Ocean for the next decade; her ports of call ranged from Settahip, Thailand, and Saigon, South Vietnam, to Seattle, Washington, San Francisco, and Yokohama. As American involvement in the Vietnam War grew, "Asterion's" itinerary included the ports of Qui Nhon, Cam Ranh Bay, and Danang.

Decommissioning

"Asterion" arrived at Yokohama on 8 June 1973 from her last voyage as a "reefer ship" and her name was struck from the Navy list on 15 June 1973. Transferred, at Yokohama, to the Maritime Administration for disposal, she was sold to N. W. Kennedy, Ltd., of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on 31 August 1973. Final Disposition: fate unknown.

References

See also

* List of United States Navy ships
* Cargo ship

External links

* [http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/#Anchor-Editoria-14954 Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]
* [http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/06/0663.htm NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive - T-AF-63 Asterion]


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