Allied Warships

USS Vestal (AR 4)

Repair ship

NavyThe US Navy
TypeRepair ship
Class[No specific class] 
PennantAR 4 
Built byNew York Navy Yard (New York, New York, U.S.A.) 
Laid down25 Mar 1907 
Launched19 May 1908 
Commissioned4 Oct 1909 
End service14 Aug 1946 

Displacement: 12585 BRT
Length: 466 feet
Speed: 16 kts

Commissioned as USS Vestal (Collier No.1) on 4 October 1909
Decommissioned on 25 October 1912 and converted to a repair ship
Recommissioned as USS Vestal (Fleet Repair Ship No. 4) on 3 September 1913
Designated AR-4 on 17 July 1920
Decommissioned on 14 August 1946
Stricken on 25 September 1946
Sold to be broken up for scrap on 28 July 1950


Commands listed for USS Vestal (AR 4)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1Mahlon Street Tisdale, USN10 Apr 19397 Mar 1940
2Cdr. Robert Philip Luker, USN7 Mar 194010 Oct 1941
3Cdr. Cassin Young, USN10 Oct 194119 Jan 1942
4Lt.Cdr. Watson Twitty Singer, USN19 Jan 194222 May 1944
5T/Capt. Jesse Benjamin Goode, USN22 May 194429 Oct 1944
6T/Cdr. Norman William Gambling, USN29 Oct 19444 May 1945
7T/Cdr. Harold John Pohl, USN4 May 194514 Mar 1946

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Notable events involving Vestal include:

7 Dec 1941
During the attack on Pearl Harbor, she was moored next to the battleship USS Arizona (BB-39) at Berth F-7 off Ford Island. At ca 0805 hours, shortly after the ship began it's anti aircraft fire, two bombs struck the vessel, possibly intended for the Arizona. One bomb struck the port side, penetrating three decks & exploded in a stores hold which necessitated flooding the forward magazines. The second bomb struck the starboard side, passing through several of the ship's workshop spaces, & left an irregular hole, about 5' in diameter, in the bottom of the ship. After three shots, the ship's 3" gun jammed, & while they endeavoured to clear the round, the USS Arizona was hit with a bomb, exploding her powder magazine. The repair ship eventually steamed up & managed to pull away from the burning USS Arizona, thanks largely to the captain, who'd re-boarded, & the ship's engineering staff, which managed to get the ship underway. Eventually, the ship was grounded on Aiea Shoal due to the ship's unstable condition The CO, Cmdr Cassin Young, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions aboard the Vestal that day. Though damaged, she participated in the ensuing repair & rescue ops at Pearl Harbor, including sending crews to help pull men out of the USS Oklahoma (BB-37). (1)


  1. Personal communication

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