USS Pasig AW-3 (1944-1975)
The USS Pasig was a ship that distilled water for the Navy. There were three others like her. She was originally constructed by the Marineship Corporation of Sausalito, California and laid down on May 18th, 1944 as the SS Mission SanXavier, a Maritime T2-SE-A2 tanker, MC-1826. Before she was launched on July 15th 1944, she was renamed the USS Pasig AO-91, and she was sponsored by Mrs. John A. McCone. The Maritime Commission changed her hull number to AW-3 on August 28th, 1944, and the Navy acquired her on October 21st, 1944. With Lieutenant Commander Clarke M. Williams chosen to captain her, she was put into commission on December 11th, 1944.
Service in World War II
The Pasig’s shakedown exercises took place off the west coast of the US. When those were completed, she was sent to the western Pacific to start supplying Allies with fresh water on March 3rd, 1945. On March 23rd, upon arriving in Ulithi, the Pasig directly started to supply water to those preparing for the campaign in Okinawa, including landing craft, harbor craft, and merchant vessels. Since there was nowhere to refill her tanks at Ulithi, she ventured to the Philippines to fill up from tankers there and occasionally made her way to fresh water sources.
While on a water run to Manus on May 7th, the Pasig was sent to Eniwetok. She joined ServDiv 102 there, and gave fresh water to units of the Pacific Fleet and shore bases. She was sent back home in late 1946 to be inactivated. She was put out of commission in February of 1947, and docked in San Diego, California until the Korean War.
Service in the Korean War
The Pasig was put back into commission on March 15th, 1951. She went to Yokosuka to join MSTS WestPac in April. For 3 years and 1 month, she provided fresh water for United Nations Forces near Korea and Japan. She was again scheduled for deactivation and was sent to the west coast in May.
On June 15th, 1955, she was put out of commission for the last time. She was placed in the Pacific Reserve Fleet in June of 1960 in Olympia, Washington. She was struck on July 1st, 1960 and sold to Levins Metals Corporation on October 16th, 1975 for scrap.
The Pasig was awarded 6 battle stars for Korean War service.
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.