Kossol Roads

Kossol Roads, Palau is a large body of reef-enclosed water north of Babeldaob. During World War II, it was used by the United States Navy as the location of a floating resupply and repair base.

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Coordinates: 7°48′N 134°36′E / 7.800°N 134.600°E


A roadstead (or roads - the earlier form) is a body of water sheltered from rip currents, spring tides or ocean swell where ships can lie reasonably safely at anchor without dragging or snatching. It can be open or natural, usually estuary-based, or may be created artificially. In maritime law it is described as a "known general station for ships, notoriously used as such, and distinguished by the name".A roadstead can be an area of safe anchorage for ships waiting to enter a port (or to form a convoy); if sufficiently sheltered and convenient it can be used for transshipment (or transfer to and from shore by lighters) of goods and stores or troops.

In the days of sailing ships, some voyages could only easily be made with a change in wind direction, and ships would wait for a change of wind in a safe anchorage, such as the Downs or Yarmouth Roads. Daniel Defoe has Robinson Crusoe recall an early journey in the coastal trade: "The sixth day of our being at sea we came into Yarmouth Roads; the wind having been contrary, and the weather calm, we had made but little way since the storm. Here we were obliged to come to an anchor, and here we lay, the wind continuing contrary, viz., at southwest, for seven or eight days, during which time a great many ships from Newcastle came into the same Roads..."

Service Squadron

A Service Squadron (ServRon) was a U.S. Navy squadron that supported fleet combat units. Service Squadrons were used by the United States Navy from their inception in 1943 to as late as the early 1980s. At the time of their inception during the Second World War they allowed the US Navy to operate across the vast reaches of the Pacific Ocean for extended periods of time. Service Squadrons created temporary forward bases to allow the naval squadrons to spend less time in transit and more time in the area of combat. Ulithi, a small volcanic atoll in the central Pacific, is an example of a site converted for use as a forward base of supply. Service Squadrons essentially created a major naval base near the area of operation. With the naval base at Ulithi to refit, repair and resupply, many ships were able to deploy and operate in the western Pacific for a year or more without returning to a major port facility. Among the vessels operating in service squadrons were tankers, oilers, refrigerator ships, ammunition ships, supply ships, floating docks and repair ships. They provided diesel, ordnance, aviation fuel, food stuffs and all other supplies. Equally important at places like Ulithi were the portable piers and floating dry docks which allowed many ships damaged by enemy action or Pacific storms to undergo repair without having to travel the thousands of miles back to a major US naval base. Ulithi was as far forward from the US naval base at San Francisco as the San Francisco base was from London, England. To have a fully functional major port in the middle of the Pacific was a significant aid to U.S. Navy operations.

The commander of the service squadron was responsible for the operation of all the ships, docks and repair yards in the squadron. The Commander was referred to as ComServRon, with the title followed by the unit designation of his Squadron, such as ComServRon 10.

Service Squadrons were slowly disbanded in the late 1970 as fleet combat support functions were shifted to civilian operated Military Sealift Command.

USS Arctic (AF-7)

USS Arctic (AF-7) was an Arctic-class stores ship acquired by the United States Navy shortly after World War I, which saw extensive service in World War II. She served in the dangerous Pacific Ocean, delivering food and household items to ships and bases.

USS Azimech

USS Azimech (AK-124) was a Crater-class cargo ship commissioned by the US Navy for service in World War II, named after the Azimech, the other name of Spica, the brightest star in constellation Virgo. She was responsible for delivering troops, goods and equipment to locations in the war zone.

USS Bivin

USS Bivin (DE-536) was a John C. Butler-class destroyer escort acquired by the U.S. Navy during World War II. The primary purpose of the destroyer escort was to escort and protect ships in convoy, in addition to other tasks as assigned, such as patrol or radar picket.

Bivin was named after Vernard Eugene Bivin who was killed during the Battle of Cape Esperance and awarded the Navy Cross posthumously for his brave actions.

USS Bivin (DE-536) was launched 7 December 1943 by Boston Navy Yard; sponsored by Mrs. Ella Florence Bivin, mother of Seaman Bivin; and commissioned 31 October 1944, Lieutenant Commander M. Kelly in command.

USS Canotia (AN-47)

USS Canotia (AN-47/YN-66) was an Ailanthus-class net laying ship which served with the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific Ocean theatre of operations during World War II. Her career was without major incident, and she returned home after the war bearing one battle star to her credit.

USS Control (AM-164)

USS Control (AM-164) was an Admirable-class minesweeper built for the U.S. Navy during World War II. She was built to clear minefields in offshore waters, and served the Navy in the Pacific Ocean.

She was launched 28 January 1943 by Willamette Iron and Steel Works, Portland, Oregon; and commissioned 11 May 1944, Lieutenant Commander S. A. Brand, USNR, in command.

USS Cony (DD-508)

USS Cony (DD/DDE-508), a Fletcher-class destroyer, was a ship of the United States Navy named for Joseph S. Cony (1834–1867), a naval officer during the Civil War.Cony was launched 16 August 1942 by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine, sponsored by Mrs. William R. Sleight, a first cousin of Joseph S. Cony in whose honor the destroyer is named, in part of the largest mass launch to that point in the war shipbuilding program and the largest in Maine's history in which five British Ocean type freighters, the Liberty SS Ethan Allen, USS Conway and Cony were launched. The ship was commissioned 30 October 1942 at Boston, Lieutenant Commander Harry D. Johnson in command.

USS Crouter (DE-11)

USS Crouter (DE-11) was an Evarts-class destroyer escort of the United States Navy in commission from 1943 to 1945. The ship was named after Mark Hanna Crouter (1897-1942), U.S. Navy officer and Navy Cross recipient.

USS Device (AM-220)

USS Device (AM-220) was an Admirable-class minesweeper built for the United States Navy during World War II. She was awarded three battle stars for service in the Pacific during World War II. She was decommissioned in August 1946 and placed in reserve. Although she did not see service in the war zone, Device was recommissioned in March 1950 during the Korean War and remained in commission until February 1954, when she was placed in reserve again. While she remained in reserve, Device was reclassified as MSF-220 in February 1955 but never reactivated. In October 1962, she was sold to the Mexican Navy and renamed ARM DM-11. In 1994 she was renamed ARM Cadete Agustín Melgar (C54), spelled Augustín Melgar in some sources. She was stricken in 2000, and scuttled for use as an artificial reef in Bahía de Loreto National Park.

USS Earl V. Johnson (DE-702)

USS Earl V. Johnson (DE-702) was a Buckley-class destroyer escort of the United States Navy, named in honor of Lieutenant (j.g.) Earl V. Johnson (1913–42), a naval aviator who was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously for "extraordinary heroism" during the Battle of the Coral Sea.

Earl V. Johnson was launched on 24 November 1943 at the Defoe Shipbuilding Company, in Bay City, Michigan, sponsored by Mrs. Selma E. Johnson, mother of Lt.(j.g.) Johnson, and commissioned on 18 March 1944, with Lieutenant Commander J. J. Jordy, USNR, in command.

Between 23 May and 19 November 1944, Earl V. Johnson made three voyages as convoy escort, guarding vital troops and supplies travelling from Norfolk to Casablanca and Bizerte. After training at Boston, Massachusetts, she joined the Pacific Fleet, calling at New York, Norfolk, the Panama Canal, Bora Bora in the Society Islands, and arriving at the giant fleet base at Manus, Admiralty Islands, on 22 January 1945.

Earl V. Johnson was assigned patrol duties in the Philippines, and guarded convoys plying between New Guinea and Leyte Gulf until 17 April 1945. Supporting the invasion of Okinawa, now in full swing, and air strikes on Japan, she became invaluable in moving men and supplies to the advance bases at Kossol Roads and Ulithi. She departed Leyte on 25 July with an LST convoy bound for Okinawa. As she returned, on 4 August, a sonar contact developed into a 3-hour duel with a submarine, which damaged Earl V. Johnson but ended favorably with an underwater explosion and a plume of white smoke. Japanese records show this was the submarine I-53 which survived the attack.With hostilities ended, Earl V. Johnson arrived at Okinawa on 4 September, and a week later, began the occupation of Jinsen and Taku, piloting vessels, guarding against submarines, and spotting and destroying mines. She departed Buckner Bay, Okinawa, on 8 November 1945, arriving at Boston on 15 December.

She was placed out of commission in reserve at Jacksonville, Florida, on 18 June 1946.

Earl V. Johnson was stricken from the Navy Register on 1 May 1967, and sold on 3 September 1968.

USS Foreman (DE-633)

USS Foreman (DE-633), a Buckley-class destroyer escort of the United States Navy, was named in honor of Ensign Andrew L. Foreman (1920-1942), who was killed in action aboard the heavy cruiser USS New Orleans during the Battle of Tassafaronga on 30 November 1942. Ensign Foreman remained at his station to help in saving his ship until asphyxiated by gas generated by the explosion. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his heroic self-sacrifice.

Foreman was launched on 1 August 1943 at the Bethlehem Steel Company, in San Francisco, California, sponsored by Miss Nadine Foreman, sister of Ensign Foreman; and commissioned on 22 October 1943, with Lieutenant Commander C. A. Manston, USNR, in command.

USS French

USS French (DE-367) was a John C. Butler-class destroyer escort acquired by the U.S. Navy during World War II. The primary purpose of the destroyer escort was to escort and protect ships in convoy, in addition to other tasks as assigned, such as patrol or radar picket.

The ship was named in honor of Neldon Theo French who was awarded the Navy Cross for his brave actions in Guadalcanal. She was launched on 17 June 1944 by Consolidated Steel Corp. at their yard in Orange, Texas, sponsored by Mrs. Alma M. French, mother of Corporal French. The vessel was commissioned on 9 October 1944, Lieutenant Commander T. K. Dunstan, USNR, in command.

USS Garland (AM-238)

USS Garland (AM-238) was an Admirable-class minesweeper built for the U.S. Navy during World War II. She was built to clear minefields in offshore waters, and served the Navy in the Pacific Ocean. At war’s end, she returned home proudly bearing two battle stars to her credit.

Garland was launched 20 February 1944 by Winslow Marine Railway & Shipbuilding Co., Winslow, Washington; sponsored by Miss Karen Lundberg; and commissioned 26 August 1944, Lt. Carl Carmichael in command.

USS Howorth (DD-592)

USS Howorth (DD-592) was a Fletcher-class destroyer built for the United States Navy during World War II. She was laid down on 26 November 1941, launched on 10 January 1943, and commissioned on 3 April 1944 at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington. She was the 161st ship of her class. Howorth was named after William L. Howorth, a US Navy sailor who participated in the sinking of CSS Albemarle during the Civil War.

USS Kern (AOG-2)

USS Kern (AOG-2) was a Patapsco-class gasoline tanker acquired by the United States Navy for the dangerous task of transporting gasoline to warships in the fleet, and to remote Navy stations.

Kern was laid as Rappahannock by Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation, Tacoma, Washington on 25 May 1942; renamed Kern on 18 July 1942; launched on 7 September 1942; sponsored by Mrs. L. A. Oldin; and commissioned at Seattle, Washington on 9 March 1943, Lieutenant Commander Lewis Williams in command.

USS Oak Ridge (ARDM-1)

USS Oak Ridge (ARD-19/ARDM-1) was originally a United States Navy Auxiliary floating drydock suitable for dry docking destroyers, submarines and landing craft, built by the Pacific Bridge Company. In the early 1960s she was upgraded to support Los Angeles-class submarines, and re-classified as ARDM-1-class. A stern door and enclosed bow design allows for open ocean transits. The dock is non-propelled and therefore must be taken under tow to operational areas of the fleet. A steering mechanism with twin rudders is installed to facilitate this operation. Sufficient electrical power was provided by four diesel-driven generator sets to maintain all normal and operational requirements. Living, berthing, and mess facilities are provided for the docks complement of 5 officers, 10 CPO's and a crew of 186.

Oak Ridge was towed, in stages across the Pacific. While in transit she was used as a van to help move the service squadron forward and at the end of August 1944 arrived at Seeadler Harbor carrying a YTL, 2 pontoon crane barges, and 20 LCMs and LCVPs. From Manus ServRon 10 provided the logistic support for the Palau offensive, then moved itself forward to Ulithi and Kossol Roads. The Leyte landings soon followed and the repair facilities were moved up to San Pedro Bay.

On 27 November 1944 ARD-19 was moored in that bay with USS Ross (DD-563) in dock undergoing repairs. Shortly before noon the Japanese launched an air attack. A "Tojo" fighter crashed into the drydock, passed through the starboard wingwall of the dock, and caused gasoline fed flames to encompass the dock basin deck, searing Ross as they spread. As the fire was being contained another Japanese fighter commenced a strafing run, but was splashed by gunfire from the ARD, Ross, and LST-556. Heavy damage kept the ARD busy on self-repairs for only a brief time. She soon resumed her drydocking and repair role, and continued that service, at Subic Bay, Luzon, until after the end of World War II.

In 1948, ARD-19 was towed back across the Pacific and on 29 October she reported for duty with the Pacific Reserve Fleet at Long Beach. For the next six months she operated under that command and ServRon 1, carrying district craft to various berthing areas on the west coast. In March 1949 she carried YFN–599 to Puget Sound, took on cranes and got underway, in tow, for the Panama Canal Zone. From the Canal Zone she continued on to Orange, Texas, with more district craft in her dock basin. Arriving 10 June, she continued her ferry service until decommissioned and assigned to the Texas Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet for berthing, 30 September 1949.

Thirteen years later, September 1962, ARD-19 was brought out of reserve and taken to Jacksonville, Florida, where she was converted by the Gibbs Shipyards to support forward deployed Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) submarines. Her length increased to 536'1" and a maximum ballasted displacement to 9,700 tons, she became the first mobile single unit capable of such docking. She was then named, redesignated, and recommissioned as Oak Ridge (ARDM-1), 1 October 1963. Further changes, such as the replacement of two 10-ton cranes with two 25-ton cranes, kept her at Norfolk until 4 June 1964 when she was taken under tow by Atakapa to begin the long journey to her homeport of Rota, Spain. With USS Mahoa (YTM-519) in her dock basin, she arrived at Rota 22 days later and commenced providing the services, to Polaris-equipped submarines and others as required, which she continued into 1970.

Her last station in the Navy was at Naval Submarine Base New London, Connecticut. Oak Ridge was decommissioned on 10 August 2001, stricken from the Naval register on 26 November 2001, and transferred to the United States Coast Guard on 8 February 2002; categorized as a moveable piece of docking equipment and recorded as General Purpose Property. From March 2011 to November 2013, Oak Ridge underwent an extensive Service Life Extension Project (SLEP), which included replacement of more than 2,000 square feet of steel plating and 3,200 linear feet of longitudinal stiffeners, in addition to installation of a new firemain system, new transit-ways for shore services, upgraded remote valve and pump controls to the ballast system, internal emergency dewatering equipment, interior communications, closed circuit TV system and structural improvements to the stern door.

As of 8 August 2018, after a long service history. USS Oak Ridge is being offered for sale to the highest bidder by the General Services Administration.

USS Octorara (IX-139)

USS Octorara (IX-139) was a tanker originally loaned to the Soviet Union during World War II and then returned to the United States in 1944. She was then commissioned by the U.S. Navy and served as a tanker for the remainder of the war.

USS Twiggs (DD-591)

USS Twiggs (DD-591), a Fletcher-class destroyer, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for Marine Major Levi Twiggs (1793–1847).

Twiggs was laid down on 20 January 1943 at the Charleston Navy Yard; launched on 7 April 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Roland S. Morris; and commissioned on 4 November 1943, Commander John B. Fellows, Jr., in command. She was sunk on 16 June 1945 by a kamikaze aircraft near Okinawa.


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