The USS Susquehanna was named after the river flows through New York across to Pennsylvania and empties in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. The ship was a Patapsco-class gasoline tanker and was laid down on the 9th of September in 1942. It was launched on the 23rd of November in the same year, sponsored by Mrs. William Lindstrom, and commissioned with Lt. Peter H. V. Bamberg in command on the 7th of June in 1943.
Service in World War II
The Susquehanna began its shakedown cruise on the 25th of June. She was loaded in San Pedro, California on the 27th of July and went underway to Australia. When she arrived in Townsville, Queensland on the 18th of August she was attached to the Seventh Fleet of the Service Force.
The Susquehanna sailed underway to the Milne Bay in New Guinea to service fleets there. From the 23rd to the 29th of November the ship returned to Australia to load aviation gas and cargo and delivered it back to Milne Bay. Until December of 1944, the Susquehanna operated between ports in New Guinea and Australia.
The ship made two trips to the East Indies of the Netherlands and while there serviced PT Boats at Buna and other bases, in addition to supplying gas for large fleets. She departed New Guinea on the 20th of December in 1944 with a load of fuel and cargo for Leyte, arriving there on the 29th. The Susquehanna left the Dulag transport area on January 2, 1945 for Mindoro with gasoline for the United State’s army’s air strips. The convoy that the ship was attached to was under enemy fire on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, of January. Gunfire from the Susquehanna splashed one of the four planed that had attacked the convoy.
The USS Susquehanna sailed from the Philippines on the 16th of February, returned back to its New Guinea area of operation, and remained there until departing for Manila on the 13th of December in 1945. She was transferred to the Army and on the 15th of August in 1946 and struck from the United States Naval Register on the 23rd of April in 1947.
During the Korean War
The Susquehanna was reinstated to the Naval Register in July 1950 and assigned to the Military Dea Transportation Service. For the following 9 years it was between ports in Japan and Korea. It fully departed for the U.S. on February 17th, 1959. It was moved to the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet on March 26th, and much later, on August 10th, 1973, sold to Levin Metals for $43,655 and scrapped on the 30th of September 1973.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, some tankers 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.