USNS Provo T-AG-173 (1945-1973)
The USNS Provo, sponsored by Anna P. Burkhalter, was erected in Portland, Oregon on April 28, 1945, as Drew Victory, MCV-691. The Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation completed the 15, 900 ton naval vessel on July 14, 1945. The vessel measured 455′ 3″ in length, draft 28′, beam 62′, and had a capacity of 50 crew members. The Drew Victory launched its 28 year career as a miscellaneous auxiliary ship in the merchant marine service. During the Victory’s run with the merchant marine service it was renamed twice, first California and then Utah.
On November 20, 1962, the vessel was again renamed Provo with the appointment of Special Project Ship (AG-173). It was so named after a city in northern Utah. On March 2, 1963, the Provo was taken into service by the MSTS (Military Sea Transportation Service) from the Maritime Administration. In July 1963, the Provo along with two other naval vessels, the Cheyenne and the Phoenix, were stationed at Subic Bay, Philippines. They were used in the capacity of Forward Floating Depots. The idea of this mission was to use the depot ships as floating storage and for the delivery of military materials. In 1964, the concept of the mission was tested in the pilot run of operation “Quick Release”.
The Provo went on to serve as a cargo carrier, travelling from stock sites in both Japan and the Subic Bay and delivering military supplies, to Okinawa and Vietnam. The Provo continued delivering parts and other supplies in Asia until the early 1970s. In 1973, the vessel was released by the Navy and on June 15, 1973, it was transferred to the U.S. Maritime Commission. The naval vessel was subsequently sold on August 31, 1973.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, some auxiliary vessels also posed a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common, especially on older ships, because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.