USS Ponchatoula AO-148, a Neosho class oiler, refueling USS Midway and escort destroyer off
Formosa Sept. 27, 1958. The 6
Neosho class oilers were the largest built for the US Navy up to
that time, Ponchatoula being the last constructed. She was commissioned in Jan 1956 and was
only 2 years old when this photo was taken. Three of the
Neosho class, (not Ponchatoula),
were fitted with helicopter decks above the fantail. All are fitted as flagships. (Note the large
outrigger boom on top of the after mast). Not all of the
Neosho class oilers had this. The photo
I have of the
Hassayampa AO-145 doesn't show one. I don't know if it was a feature that was
added later or was included in construction on the later
Neosho class oilers). Ponchatoula was
transferred to MSC in the late 1970's for further service as fleet oilers. (MSC ship are disarmed
and are operated by a civilian crew. A Navy detachment remains on board to handle
communications.) In May of 1999
Ponchatoula was transferred to the Maritime Administration
at Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet in Benecia, CA.
Photograph from MidwayJoe Collection
P9
USS PONCHATOULA refueling USS MIDWAY