USS Shasta (AE-33)

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For other ships of the same name, see USS Shasta.
USS Shasta AE33 1974.jpg
USS Shasta in 1974
Career (US)
Name: USS Shasta (AE-33)
Namesake: Mount Shasta
Awarded: 8 March 1968
Builder: Ingalls Shipbuilding
Laid down: 10 November 1969
Launched: 3 April 1971
Sponsored by: Mrs. Ralph W. Cousins
Commissioned: 4 February 1972
Decommissioned: 1 October 1997
In service: with Military Sealift Command 1 October 1997
Out of service: 29 April 2011, Pearl Harbor
Homeport: Naval Weapons Station, Concord, California
Motto: "We serve anytime, anywhere;" "It has to be Shasta"
Status: scrapped, Brownsville, Texas, 2013-2014
General characteristics
Class & type: Kilauea-class ammunition ship
Displacement: Light: 10,417 tons
Full load: 18,088 tons
Length: 564 ft (172 m)
Beam: 81 ft (25 m)
Draft: 27 ft (8.2 m)
Propulsion: 3 × boilers
steam turbines
single shaft
22,000 shp
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h)
Complement: 28 officers
375 enlisted
Armament: 2 × 3″50 twin mounts, 12 × .50 cals, 2 × CIWS(Close in Weapon System)
Aircraft carried: 2 CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters

USS Shasta (AE-33) was a Kilauea-class replenishment ammunition ship of the United States Navy. She was named after Mount Shasta, a volcano in the Cascade Range in Northern California, USA. Shasta's mission was to support forward deployed aircraft carrier battle groups, which she accomplished through underway replenishment (known as "unrep") and vertical replenishment (known as "vertrep"). Shasta and her crew honorably served their country in this role in war and peace across three decades, from Vietnam, to the Cold War, to the Iran-Iraq War, to Operation Desert Storm, and numerous other actions.

To accomplish her underway replenishment mission, Shasta utilized seven underway replenishment stations utilizing the Standard Tensioned Replenishment Alongside Method (STREAM), and utilized four cargo booms to load and unload cargo. To accomplish her vertical replenishment mission, Shasta embarked two CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters together with their air and maintenance crews; Shasta's ship's company ran the flight deck and tower. Shasta's Deck Department was among the best in the United States Pacific Fleet.

Construction and Commissioning[edit]

Shasta '​s keel was laid down 10 November 1969 at the Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, sponsored by Mrs. Ralph W. Cousins, wife of the Vice Chief of Naval Operations. She was launched on 3 April 1971. Upon completion, the builder took her to Charleston, South Carolina and delivered her to the Navy. Shasta was commissioned in Charleston on 4 February 1972, with Captain Warren C. Graham, Jr., in command.

Shasta's initial armament included two twin 3"/50 caliber gun mounts and multiple .50 caliber machine gun positions.

One of Shasta's innovations was a covered main deck, which allowed for protected cargo handling operations, and fork truck use from the flight deck to the forward holds and unrep stations.

1970's[edit]

After fitting out, the newly commissioned Shasta departed Charleston on 22 May 1972 for her shakedown cruise and training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. After completing shakedown and training on 10 June, she headed for the Pacific, where her new homeport was to be the Naval Weapons Station in Concord, California. Along the way, she made port visits to Kingston, Jamaica; Cartagena, Colombia; Panama City, Canal Zone; and Acapulco, Mexico. She passed through the Panama Canal and finally arrived in Concord on 3 July.

After arrival in Concord, she underwent ship’s qualification trials and final contract trials. Upon completion of trials and preparations for deployment, Shasta departed Concord to join the 7th Fleet in the western Pacific (WestPac in US Navy terminology) on 3 January 1973 in support of operations off Vietnam.

1980's[edit]

Armament.[edit]

Shasta's armament was upgraded during the Cold War to include chaff and two Vulcan Phalanx CIWS 20MM Gatling gun close-in weapon systems for missile defense and AN/SLQ-25 Nixie for anti-torpedo defense. During the 1980s Shasta conducted many Cold War operations, and many operations related to United States interests in the Iran-Iraq War.

1985 Deployment to Western Pacific and Middle East.[edit]

Shasta deployed to the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans in 1985 under the command of Commander Barry N. Kaye to support United States interests in the Iran-Iraq War. Shasta deployed as part of the USS Ranger (CV-61) battle group. Shasta supported the Ranger battle group in the North Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman off the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz. The ship and her crew made port calls at Mombasa, Kenya, Subic Bay Naval Base, and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and conducted airhead operations at al-Masirah, Oman. The crew earned the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon for its service on the deployment.

Carl Vinson Download.[edit]

In February 1986, Shasta conducted download operations with the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) battle group in the Gulf of Alaska. Shasta conducted these operations during a major winter storm in the Gulf of Alaska.

1987 Deployment to Western Pacific and Middle East.[edit]

Shasta deployed to the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans in 1987, including three months in the North Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in support of Operation Earnest Will, with Battle Group Echo, formed around the USS Ranger (CV-61), and the USS Missouri (BB-63) surface action group under the command of Joint Task Force Middle East (now United States Naval Forces Central Command).[1] This included three months on station off the coast of Iran and the Hormuz Strait with the Task Force in Gonzo Station. Other ships in this combined task force included USS Long Beach (CGN-9), USS Bunker Hill (CG-52), USS Gridley (DLG-21), USSJohn Young (DD-973), USS Leftwich (DD-984), USS Buchanan (DDG-14), USS Hoel (DDG-13), USS Robert E. Peary (FF-1073), USS Harold E. Holt (FF-1074), USS Curts (FFG-38), USS Wichita (AOR-1), USS Kansas City (AOR-3), and USNS Hassayampa.[2] During the deployment Shasta conducted many airhead operations at al-Masirah, Oman. During its time on station, Shasta sortied to rearm destroyers in support of Operation Nimble Archer. Also during this deployment, Shasta made port visits at Lualualei in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Subic Bay, Luzon, Philippines (two); Singapore; Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territories; Pattaya, Thailand; and Hong Kong. Shasta was also involved in Cold War operations during the deployment, and had frequent contact with Soviet vessels and aircraft. Shasta transited the Northern, Eastern and Western Pacific Ocean the San Bernardino Strait; the South China Sea; the Straits of Malacca; the Bay of Bengal; the Singapore Strait; the northern and southern Indian Ocean; the Gulf of Thailand; the Philippine Sea; the North Arabian Sea; the Gulf of Oman; and into the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz. Shasta's crew was awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon for their service on this deployment. During the deployment, en route from Thailand to Hong Kong, Shasta sailed through a super typhoon in the South China Sea, sustaining damage, but never reducing her operational capacity. During this deployment, Shasta steamed 44,633 nautical miles, and at one point spent 79 consecutive days at sea on station off the coast of Iran, most at condition III (wartime steaming). Shasta crossed the Equator in the Indian Ocean en route to Diego Garcia and held a Line-crossing ceremony and initiated the shellbacks into the solemn mysteries of the Ancient Order of the Deep.

Drug Interdiction Operations.[edit]

In 1988, Shasta supported drug smuggling interdiction operations off Baja California, and conducted a "show the flag" port visit in Mazatlán, Mexico.

1989 Deployment to Bering Sea and Western Pacific.[edit]

In 1989, under the command of Commander Daniel A. Gabe, Shasta deployed independently to the Gulf of Alaska, Aleutian Islands, and Bering Sea during Pacex 89 as a show of force to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. While operating independently during Pacex, Shasta conducted operations in conjunctions with several aircraft carrier and battleship task forces, including operations with the USS New Jersey (BB-62). Thereafter, Shasta deployed independently to the Western Pacific, South China Sea, East China Sea and Philippine Sea for logistics operations in Eastern Asia, all for Cold War operations. During this deployment, Shasta conducted airhead operations at Cold Bay, Alaska and King Cove, Alaska (both on the Alaskan Peninsula), and Amchitka, Alaska (in the Rat Islands of the Aleutian Chain). Shasta transited the San Bernardino Strait, Amchitka Pass, Unimak Pass, and the Andreanof Islands. Shasta made port calls at Guam; Subic Bay, Luzon, Philippines; Hong Kong; Okinawa; Sasebo, Japan; Yokosuka, Japan; and Pearl Harbor. When Shasta arrived in Hong Kong, the crew learned that the Berlin Wall had fallen, one of the final episodes of the Cold War. Shasta maneuvered through a major winter storm during its transit of the Bering Sea, and engaged in typhoon evasion in the Philippine Sea, San Bernardino Strait and South China Sea; Luzon sustained significant damage from the typhoon. Shasta's crew received a Meritorious Unit Commendation and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon for their service on this deployment. While Shasta was deployed, its home port, the San Francisco Bay Area was hit by the Loma Prieta Earthquake, which affected the families of many crew members. The face of the city to which the crew returned had changed considerably. The deployment was notable for many reasons, but most prominently, Shasta embarked three remarkable female officers as part of ship's company: Ops Boss (Operations Officer and Operations Department Head) Lieutenant Pam Markiewicz, who later commanded USS Carter Hall (LSD-50) and USS Peleliu (LHA-5);[3] Supply Department Head (SUPPO or Supply Officer) Lieutenant Marion Eggenberger, who rose to the rank of Captain in the Navy Supply Corps;[4] and A Gang Division Officer Kristi Sidebottom. They were prominent reasons for the success of Shasta's deployment.

Shipyards.[edit]

Shasta underwent major overhauls on the San Francisco waterfront in 1986 and 1988, including several months in dry dock in 1988.

Homeport.[edit]

Shasta's home port was Concord Naval Weapons Station, on the Suisun Bay in the Sacramento River. However, Shasta spent much of its inport time at Mare Island Naval Shipyard on the Napa River in Vallejo, California; Naval Air Station Alameda in Alameda, California on the South San Francisco Bay; and Naval Supply Center, Oakland and Oakland Army Base, both in Oakland, California also on the South San Francisco Bay. Shasta also spent several months every two years at various shipyards on the south San Francisco waterfront. This situation of going to sea from one port and returning to another led to many logistical difficulties for the ship's crew.

Blessing of the Fleet.[edit]

Shasta had a special relationship with the Benicia Yacht Club, in Benicia, California, and participated in many of its Blessing of the Fleet ceremonies in the Carquinez Strait of the Sacramento River, leading to many memorable festivities. Shasta also participated in Fleet Week in San Francisco Bay.

1990's[edit]

Shipyards.[edit]

In early 1990, Shasta underwent a major shipyard overhaul on the San Francisco waterfront, and conducted sea trials in May 1990. Among other upgrades, the berthing compartments were upgraded to accommodate approximately 45 enlisted women.

Operation Desert Storm - First Iraq War.[edit]

In 1991 Shasta deployed in support of Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield.

Transfer to Military Sealift Command[edit]

Shasta was decommissioned on 1 October 1997 as a "United States Ship" and transferred to the Fleet Auxiliary Force of the Military Sealift Command (MSC) as a "United States Naval Ship." On the same day, her hull number was changed and she became USNS Shasta (T-AE-33). Shasta served in the Pacific and Indian Oceans for MSC.

Decommissioning and Fate[edit]

Shasta was inactivated on 21 April 2011 and transferred the reserve fleet, resting in reserve in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

In 2013, Shasta was towed from Pearl Harbor to Brownsville, Texas, where, as of November 2013, she was in preparation to be scrapped.

The Navy donated Shasta's anchor to the city of Crowley, Texas. In April 2014, Shasta's anchor was placed in Crowley's Veterans Plaza.[5] Crowley's veterans and citizens have established a great relationship with Shasta's veterans.

Leadership[edit]

Captains[6][edit]

  • Captain Warren C. Graham, Jr. (commissioning, 26 February 1972 - 7 December 1973)
  • Commander Masten, Lawrence Everett (7 December 1973 - 29 December 1975)
  • Commander Kight, James Runnells (29 December 1975 - 20 December 1977)
  • Commander Rice, Roy Joe (20 December 1977 - 8 November 1979)
  • Commander Therrien, Edward Louis (8 November 1979 - 16 October 1981)
  • Commander Kipp, John Lowell (16 October 1981 - 18 November 1983)
  • Commander Barry N. Kaye (1984-1986)
  • Commander Jeffrey A. Finley (1986-1988)
  • Commander Daniel E. Gabe (1988-1991)
  • Commander James Douglas Harris (5 February 1991 - 16 October 1992)
  • Commander Joe N. Stafford (16 October 1992 - 14 October 1994)
  • Commander Norman G. Laws, Jr., (14 October 1994 - 8 March 1996)
  • Commander Carol M. Pottenger (8 March 1996 - 1 August 1997)

Executive Officers[edit]

  • Commander Tom Coward (1986)
  • Lieutenant Commander John Januzzi (1986-1988)
  • Lieutenant Commander Jeff Jupena (1988-1989)
  • Lieutenant Commander Hank Baltar (1989-1991)

Notable Alumni[edit]

  • Rear Admiral Frank A. Morneau, Commander, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (Second Division Officer on Shasta)[7]
  • Vice Admiral Carol M. Pottenger. Formerly Commander Amphibious Force 7th Fleet/Expeditionary Strike Group Seven; formerly Commander Navy Expeditionary Combat Command; currently Deputy Chief of Staff, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, Norfolk, Virginia.
  • Captain Pamela Markiewicz, Commanding Officer USS Carter Hall (LSD-50) and USS Peleliu (LHA-5) (Ops Boss on Shasta)
  • Captain Jesús V. Cantú, Formerly MSCFE Deputy Commander / COMLOGWESTPAC N4, formerly CTF-53 Deputy Commander, formerly Commander 7th Fleet N4 (Disbursing/Sales Officer on "Shasta")
  • Chief Boatswain Mate Larry Brown (retired), Navy light heavyweight boxing champion (Leading Chief Petty Officer in Second Division on Shasta)
  • Captain Chris D. Meyer, CVN 78 Class Program Manager, PMS 378, Program Executive Office, Aircraft Carriers; former Commander, Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Carderock -- Meyer has been instrumental of the development of many new aircraft carrier systems, and in particular those for the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78)(Damage Control Assistant ("DCA") and A Gang officer while on Shasta)[8][9]
  • Captain Lance Snider, USNR, Commanding Officer of NR ESG 3; Managing Director, Staffing Plus (Damage Control Assistant ("DCA") while on Shasta).
  • Mark Baker, renowned saxophonist from Memphis (operations specialist in OI Division/Combat Information Center while on Shasta)[10]
  • Captain Marion Eggenberger, Acquisition Logistics Branch Chief OPNAV N41 (Supply Officer while on Shasta)

Awards and Commendations[11][edit]

References[edit]

[12]

External links[edit]

Media related to USS Shasta (AE-33) at Wikimedia Commons

Shasta in the Pacific, 2002