The USNS Rincon T-AOG-77 was a gasoline tanker that had a displacement of 6,047, a length of 325 feet, a beam of 48 feet, and a draft of 19 feet. She went ten knots and had a crew of 38.
The USNS Rincon T-AOG-77 was originally constructed as the MS Tarland in October of 1945 for the army transportation service. She was used in the lend-lease program with Great Britain until 1946 when World War II ended. She was then given to the National Defense Reserve Fleet which promptly transferred her to the Army Transportation Service. The Army Transportation Service renamed her the USNS Rincon.
Service in the Korean Conflict
In 1950, the Army Transportation Service was absorbed by the United States Navy Military Transportation Service. When this happened, ownership of the Rincon was also transferred to the US Navy. The US Navy started using it to transport fuel to Japan during the Korean War. This service earned her two battle stars. After the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed in July of 1953, the Rincon was used to shuttle items between Japan and Korea until February of 1959. However, her service did not end in Korea.
After the Conflict
After Korea, the Rincon was used to transport fuel from Pearl Harbor to bases in the Marshal Islands and to Midway. In May of 1961, the US Navy transferred her back to the Military Sea Transportation Service. The Military Sea Transportation Service used the Rincon to transport fuels to US and its’ allies to areas around the western Pacific, mainly Vietnam.
The Rincon was leased to South Korea on February 21 of 1982. South Korea renamed her the ROKS So Yang (AOG-550). South Korea returned her to the US in the late 1990’s. However, the new Cheonji-class tanker came into service around the same time. The US took her off the Naval Vessel Register on October 23 of 1998.
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.