USS Oahu (ARG-5)

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USS Oahu (ARG-5).jpg
USS Oahu (ARG-5) moored at Norfolk Navy Yard, 12 May 1944.
United States
  • Caleb C. Wheeler
  • Oahu
Ordered: as a Type EC2-S-C1 hull, MCE hull 1782[1]
Builder: Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard, Baltimore, Maryland
Yard number: 2230[1]
Laid down: 14 August 1943
Launched: 9 September 1943
Acquired: 15 September 1943
Commissioned: 4 April 1944
Decommissioned: 7 January 1947
Honors and
1 battle star (WWII)
Status: sold for scrapping, 27 March 1978, withdrawn from fleet, 6 July 1978
General characteristics [2]
Class and type: Luzon-class Internal Combustion Engine Repair Ship
Type: Type EC2-S-C1
  • 4,023 long tons (4,088 t) (light load)
  • 14,350 long tons (14,580 t) (full load)
Length: 441 ft 6 in (134.57 m)
Beam: 56 ft 11 in (17.35 m)
Draft: 23 ft (7.0 m)
Installed power:
Speed: 12.5 kn (23.2 km/h; 14.4 mph) (ship's trials)
Complement: 31 officers, 552 enlisted

USS Oahu (ARG-5) was a Luzon-class internal combustion engine repair ship that saw service in the United States Navy during World War II. Named for the Island of Oahu, third largest island in the Hawaiian chain, it was the second US Naval vessel to bear the name.


Oahu was laid down 14 August 1943, as the liberty ship SS Caleb C. Wheeler, under a Maritime Commission (MARCOM) contract, MCE hull 1782, by the Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard, Inc., in Baltimore, Maryland; launched 9 September 1943; sponsored by Mrs. O. F. Hurt; acquired by the Navy from MARCOM 15 September 1943; converted by the Maryland Drydock Company, Baltimore, Maryland; and commissioned 4 April 1944, Commander Clyde Lovelace in command.[3]

Service history[edit]

Following a Chesapeake Bay shakedown, the repair ship Oahu departed Hampton Roads, Virginia, 16 May 1944, steaming south and then west. Transiting the Panama Canal, she headed out into the Pacific. On 8 July, she arrived at Eniwetok and on 11 July, began repairing the damaged vessels of the Pacific Fleet.[3]

Oahu remained based at Eniwetok for the greater part of the next eight months. There she kept Allied vessels, naval and merchant, in trim and prepared them for the Philippine and Iwo Jima operations. Moving forward to Ulithi at the end of February 1945, she serviced the ships gathering for the invasion of Okinawa during March and then returned to the Marshalls. Oahu continued her work at Eniwetok until 6 December, when she got underway for the United States.[3]

Decommissioning and post-war[edit]

Arriving at San Pedro, California, 25 December, Oahu, having repaired over two thousand ships during the war, was ordered to San Diego, California, to complete repair and pre-inactivation work on vessels going into mothballs.[3]

On 22 November she herself was ordered inactivated, and decommissioned in January 1947. She was berthed at San Diego as a unit of the Pacific Reserve Fleet until transferred 13 March 1962, and laid up at Suisun Bay. On 1 July 1963, she was permanently transferred to the Maritime Administration (MARAD). She remained there as a unit of the National Defense Reserve Fleet until being sold to General Metals of Tacoma, Inc., on 27 March 1978. She was withdrawn 7 June 1978, for scrapping.[4][2]


Oahu received one battle star for World War II service.[3]



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