USS Kalamazoo (AOG-30)

Feb. 3, 2021
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USS Kalamazoo AOG-30


A river in Michigan.


Builder: East Coast Shipyard, Bayonne, New Jersey

Length: 220' 6"

Beam: 37'

Draft: 13' 11"

Displacement: 845 tons

Commissioned: 14 October 1944

Decommissioned: 18 May 1946

Disposition: Transferred to Columbia

Machinery: 720 hp diesel direct drive; single propeller

Top Speed: 10 knots

Complement: 62

Armament: 1 3"/50; 2 x 40mm; 3 x 20mm


History:

The USS Kalamazoo (AOG-30) was a Mettawee-class T1-M-A2 Navy gasoline tanker that was manned by a Coast Guard crew.  She was laid down on 7 July 1944 by East Coast Shipyards, Inc., Bayonne, New Jersey, under a Maritime Commission contract.  She was launched 30 August 1944.  She was sponsored by Miss Harriett Savage.  She was acquired by the Navy on 7 October and commissioned on 14 October at New York Navy Yard under the command of LT W. Pierson, Jr., USCGR.

Following shakedown in the Caribbean, Kalamazoo cleared Norfolk, Virginia, on 7 December for Aruba, Dutch West Indies, to load fuel oil.  She departed Aruba 21 December for duty in the Southwest Pacific.  After fueling operations in the Solomons, Admiralties, and Humboldt Bay, New Guinea, she arrived Leyte Gulf on 4 March 1945 as a unit of the Service Force, 7th Fleet.  She operated as a gasoline tanker out of San Pedro Bay until 15 April when she sailed for fueling operations off the southern Philippines.  Arriving Police Harbor, Mindanao, on 20 April, she served for more than 7 months in the Celebes Sea, transporting cargo and fuel from Borneo and Morotai to ports in Mindanao.

Departing Zamboanga, Mindanao, 1 December, Kalamazoo steamed via Manila to Subic Bay, Luzon, where she remained until sailing for the United States 11 January 1946.  She reached San Francisco on 12 March and cleared port on the 22nd for passage to the Gulf Coast.  On 1 April while en route to the Panama Canal Zone her main engine failed.  Kennabago (AO-81) assisted her to Balboa where she arrived on 10 April.  Under tow from rescue tug ATR-85, she departed Cristobol, Canal Zone, on 26 April for Mobile, Alabama, where she arrived on 3 May.  Kalamazoo was decommissioned 18 May and subsequently was turned over to the Maritime Commission for disposal.  She was transferred to Colombia on 26 November 1947 and was renamed Bals de Lezo (BT-62).


Sources:

Cutter History File.  USCG Historian's Office, USCG HQ, Washington, D.C.

Robert Scheina.  U.S. Coast Guard Cutters & Craft of World War II.  Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1982.

Robert Scheina.  U.S. Coast Guard Cutters & Craft, 1946-1990.  Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1990.