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Bulloch History by Roger Allen
U.S.S. Ogeechee shivers in World War II
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    Very few people think of Alaska when they think of the Ogeechee, but that’s where this one spent most of her life.
I speak of the U.S.S. Ogeechee (AOG-35), a United States Navy Mettawee Class Gas Tanker (T1-M-A1 type). She was 221 feet long and 37 feet wide, had a top speed of 9.5 knots, a crew of 58, could carry 1,228 deadweight tons, and was powered by 2 single screw 720 hp diesel engines.
    This was not an attack vessel by any means, but she did possess some teeth. Her weapons included one 3.5 inch gun mount, as well as 2-40 mm and 3-20 mm. anti-aircraft guns. Where she went, she was likely to need them. Built in the summer of 1944 by the East Coast Shipyard in Bayonne, New Jersey, she was commissioned on 9/6/1944, with Lieutenant William E. Peterson (United States Coast Guard Reserve) in command.
    The U.S.S. Ogeechee first traveled to Aruba in the Dutch West Indies, where she took on a load of diesel fuel.
She then passed through the Panama Canal, and headed north up the Pacific Coast, briefly stopping San Diego, before heading to Seattle, Washington, where she unloaded her cargo.
    Here the crew learned they were headed for the frigid waters of the Aleutian Islands off the Alaskan coast. After the Navy had retrofitted her for North Sea duties, she took on another cargo of gasoline and sailed up the “Inland Passageway.” Arriving first at Kodiak Island, she then continued on to Dutch Harbor and Attu Island to discharge her cargo.
    This route became her highway for the next year, as she shuttled loads of fuel between Sand Bay, Alaska and the Army and Navy bases near Dutch Harbor, in support of the Allied forces kicking Japanese troops off of the only American territory they ever occupied during World War II.
    The U.S.S. Ogeechee left Kodiak for good on November 10, 1945, when she sailed for the port of San Francisco and her inevitable decommissioning on February 8, 1946. At this time ownership of the vessel was transferred to the U.S. Maritime Commission, which sold her for scrap on July 1, 1946.

    Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look at Bulloch County's historical past. E-mail Roger at roger
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