USNS Mission San Diego (T-AO-121)

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Mission San Diego T-AO-121.jpg USNS Mission San Diego (T-AO-121) underway off Long Beach, California, date unknown.[1]
Laid down: 20 December 1943
Launched: 14 March 1944
Delivered: 30 April 1944
Struck: 16 October 1957
Fate: Scrapped
General Characteristics
Hull type: T2-SE-A2
Displacement: 5,532 tn light;
21,880 tn full
Length: 524 ft (160 m)
Beam: 68 ft (21 m)
Draft: 30 ft (9.0 m)
Speed: 16.5 kt (31 km/h)
Complement: 52
Propulsion: Turbo-electric, single screw, 6,000 hp
Armament: None

USNS Mission San Diego (T-AO-121) was the eleventh of twenty-seven Mission Buenaventura-class tankers built during World War II for service as fleet oilers in the United States Navy. Named for California's Mission San Diego de Alcalá, she was the only U.S. Naval vessel to have borne the name.

Operational history

Originally laid down on 20 December 1943 as a Maritime Commission type (T2-SE-A2) tanker hull (MC hull 1814) under a Maritime Commission contract as SS Mission San Diego by the Marine Ship Corporation in Sausalito, California; launched 14 March 1944; sponsored by Mrs. E. J. Rising; and delivered 30 April 1944. Chartered to Deconhill Shipping Co. upon delivery for operations, she spent the remainder of the War carrying fuel to allied forces overseas in the Pacific (during which time she was awarded the National Defense Service Medal). She was returned to the Maritime Commission on 29 March 1946 and laid up in the Maritime Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, California. Acquired by the Navy 17 October 1947 she was designated Mission San Diego (AO‑121) and placed under the operational control of the Naval Transportation Service. After 1 October 1949 she was transferred to the newly created Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) for duty as USNS Mission San Diego (T‑AO‑121). She served with MSTS until 30 December 1954 when she was returned to MARAD and laid up in the Maritime Reserve Fleet at Olympia, Washington. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 22 June 1955.

Reacquired by the Navy on 3 July 1956 she was placed in service with MSTS, but served only until 16 October 1957 when she was returned to the Maritime Commission and laid up in the Maritime Reserve Fleet at James River, Virginia. She was again struck from the Naval Vessel Register that same date. Sold to Hudson Waterways Corporation on 10 November 1966 she was renamed SS Seatrain Washington and converted into a combination train ferry and container ship. Into 1969, she still served the United States carrying cargo between the east coast of the United States and the Caribbean, and occasionally Vietnam. Subsequently sold and renamed SS Washington, the ship was ultimately scrapped (date unknown).


  1. (PD) Photo: United States Navy