Allied Warships

USS Niobrara (AO 72)

Oiler of the Chiwawa class

NavyThe US Navy
PennantAO 72 
Built byBethlehem Steel Corp. (Sparrows Point, Maryland, U.S.A.) 
Laid down29 Jun 1942 
Launched28 Nov 1942 
Commissioned13 Mar 1943 
End service12 Nov 1957 

Decommissioned on 24 September 1946
Recommissioned on 5 February 1951
Decommissioned on 30 November 1954
Recommissioned on 14 December 1956
Decommissioned on 12 November 1957
Stricken on 1 February 1959
Sold on 19 March 1982


Commands listed for USS Niobrara (AO 72)

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.

1T/Capt. Theodore Germond Haff, USN13 Mar 19434 Sep 1943 (1)
2T/Cdr. John William Marts, Jr., USN4 Sep 19439 Jul 1944
3Ralph Carter Spaulding, USNR9 Jul 1944

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Notable events involving Niobrara include:

15 Jan 1944

Convoy GUS 28.

This convoy departed Port Said on 15 January 1944.

On departure from Port Said the convoy was made up of the transports / tankers; Aedanus Burke (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943), African Sun (American, 6507 GRT, built 1942), Banff Park (Canadian, 7133 GRT, built 1943), Benjamin Chew (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Britannia (Norwegian (tanker), 9977 GRT, built 1939), Empire Addison (British, 7010 GRT, built 1942), Fort Caribou (British, 7132 GRT, built 1943), Joyce Kilmer (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Knute Nelson (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Kronprinsessen (Norwegian, 7244 GRT, built 1941), Kwai Sang (British, 2320 GRT, built 1917), Ocean Liberty (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Rideau Park (Canadian, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Samarinda (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samaye (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samflora (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samois (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samsette (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943) and Samuta (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943).

On departure from Port Said the convoy was escorted by the corvette HMS Primula (Lt. G.H. Taylor, RNR).

On 16 January 1944, the following transports arrived at Alexandria after having been detached from the convoy Fort Caribou and Kwai Sang while the following transports departed Alexandria to join the convoy; Cape Hawke (American, 5081 GRT, built 1941), Empire Falcon (British, 4970 GRT, built 1918), Empire Path (British, 6140 GRT, built 1943), Gatineau Park (Canadian, 7128 GRT, built 1942), Samarina (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Sampa (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samshire (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samwater (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Valldemosa (British, 7222 GRT, built 1935) and William H. Wilmer (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943). They were escorted by the frigate HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Pattinson, DSC, RD, RNR), corvettes HMS Jonquil (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.W. Tretheway, RNR), HMS Vetch (Lt. K.M.B. Menzies, RNR) and the A/S whaler HMSAS Southern Isles (?) which all also joined the convoy. On these escorts joining the convoy HMS Primula was detached to Alexandria arriving later on the 16th.

On 20 January 1944, the following transports / tankers departed Augusta to join the convoy; British Tradition (British (tanker), 8443 GRT, built 1942), Conrad Weiser (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), David Caldwell (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Empire Gale (British, 7089 GRT, built 1941), F. Marion Crawford (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), George Bancroft (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), George M. Bibb (American, 7180 GRT, built 1943), George W. Campbell (American, 7180 GRT, built 1943), Hebe II (British, 957 GRT, built 1912), Helmwood (British, 2156 GRT, built 1923), Indiana (Panamanian, 5617 GRT, built 1917), Jade (British, 930 GRT, built 1938), James Hoban (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), John Harvard (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), John Walker (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Joseph E. Johnston (American, 7196 GRT, built 1942), Largs Bay (British, 14182 GRT, built 1921), Lincoln Steffens (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Lucretia Mott (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Luther Martin (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Mariposa (British, 3702 GRT, built 1914), Moray Coast (British, 687 GRT, built 1940), O' Henry (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Stranger (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Vesper (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Palermo (British, 2797 GRT, built 1938), Samuel F. Miller (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), Scorton (British, 4813 GRT, built 1939), Stanhill (British, 5969 GRT, built 1942), Tarleton Brown (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943) and Theodoric Bland (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942). The Largs Bay however returned the following day.

On 21 January 1944, the following transports / tankers arrived at Augusta after having parted company with the convoy; Britannia, Empire Path, Ocean Liberty, Samarina, Samaye, Sampa, Samshire, Samwater and Valldemosa.

On 21 January 1944, the Cape Hawke arrived at Malta after having been detached from the convoy while the tanker Empire Traveller (British (tanker), 8201 GRT, built 1943) departed Malta to join the convoy as did the submarine HMS Sickle (Lt. J.R. Drummond, DSO, DSC, RN).

On 22 January 1944, the John Harvard arrived at Tunis after having been detached from the convoy while the transport Skeldergate (British, 4251 GRT, built 1930) departed Tunis to join the convoy.

On 22 January 1944, the Hebe II, Indiana and Jade arrived at Bizerta after having been detached from the convoy while the transports / tankers Agatha (Dutch (tanker), 3369 GRT, built 1927), Benito Juarez (American, 7244 GRT, built 1943), British Vigour (British (tanker), 5844 GRT, built 1943), Chertsey (British, 6001 GRT, built 1943), Cliona (British (tanker), 8375 GRT, built 1931), D.L. Harper (British (tanker), 12223 GRT, built 1933), Empire Tana (British, 6275 GRT, built 1922), Empire Wordsworth (British (tanker), 9891 GRT, built 1942), Espiguette (French, 1095 GRT, built 1921), Fort Jasper (British, 7125 GRT, built 1943), Fort Tadoussac (British, 7129 GRT, built 1941), Hjalmar Wessel (Norwegian, 1742 GRT, built 1935), John Drake Sloat (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), John Howland (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943), John Milledge, (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Juan de Fuca (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Madras City (British, 5080 GRT, built 1940), Mark Twain (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Robert Morris (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Robert Trimble (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Swiftarrow (American (tanker), 8207 GRT, built 1921) and Zacapa (American, 5013 GRT, built 1909) departed Bizerta to join the convoy. Also joining the convoy was the AA cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. H.W. Williams, RN) and the rescue tug HMRT Hengist.

On 23 January 1944, the Chersey, Conrad Weiser, Espiguette, Joseph E. Johnston, Ocean Stranger and Skeldergate, as well as HMRT Hengist arrived at Bone after having been detached from the convoy as did HMRT Hengist while the transports / tankers Elisha Mitchell (American, 7177 GRT, built 1943), Empire Spey (British, 4292 GRT, built 1929) and Polarsol (Norwegian (tanker), 10022 GRT, built 1939) departed Bone to join the convoy.

On 23 January 1944, the Hjalmar Wessel arrived at Philippeville after having been detached from the convoy.

On 24 January 1944, the Benito Juarez, British Vigour, David Caldwell, Empire Addison, Fort Jasper and Ocean Vesper arrived at Algiers after having been detached from the convoy while the transports / tankers Andrew Carnegie (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Baxtergate (British, 5531 GRT, built 1925), Chantilly (British, 9986 GRT, built 1923), City of Canterbury (British, 8331 GRT, built 1922), Empire Flame (British, 7069 GRT, built 1941), Finistere (French, 1158 GRT, built 1909), Fort Chipewyan (British, 7136 GRT, built 1942), George Vickers (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Jonathan Grout (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Lambrook (British, 7038 GRT, built 1942), Louis Marshall (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Marion McKinley Bovard (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912) and Scottish Heather (British (tanker), 7087 GRT, built 1928) joined the convoy coming from Algiers.

On 25 January 1944, the Agatha, Chantilly, City of Canterbury, F. Marion Crawford, George W. Campbell, Helmwood, James Hoban, John Walker, Lincoln Steffens, Luther Martin, Moray Coast, Neuralia, O'Henry and Theodoric Bland arrived at Oran after having been detached from the convoy while the transports / tankers Benjamin R. Milam (American, 7244 GRT, built 1943), Chief Joseph (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Empire Duke (British, 7140 GRT, built 1943), Gard (Norwegian (tanker), 8259 GRT, built 1938), Gulfwing (American (tanker), 10217 GRT, built 1928), James G. Birney (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Madagascar (British, 4861 GRT, built 1912), Norfjell (Norwegian (tanker), 8129 GRT, built 1942), Petter (Norwegian (tanker), 9109 GRT, built 1935), Sirehei (Norwegian, 3888 GRT, built 1907), William D. Moseley (American, 7177 GRT, built 1943) and William F. Cody (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942) joined the convoy coming from Oran.

On 26 January 1944, the Empire Falcon, Empire Flame, Empire Gale, Empire Spey, Empire Tana, Fort Chipewyan, Fort Tadoussac, Gard, Gatineau Park, Madras City, Mariposa, Palermo, Rideau Park, Scorton and Stanhill arrived at Gibraltar, as did HMS Colombo and HMS Sickle after having been detached from the convoy while the transports Esso Providence (American (tanker), 9059 GRT, built 1921), Fort Fork (British, 7134 GRT, built 1942), Gleniffer (British, 9559 GRT, built 1919), Hardanger (Norwegian, 4000 GRT, built 1924), Mosli (Norwegian (tanker), 8291 GRT, built 1935), Pacific Shipper (British, 6290 GRT, built 1924), Taria (Dutch (tanker), 10354 GRT, built 1939) and Zypenberg (Dutch, 4973 GRT, built 1920) joined the convoy around 0845A/27 having departed Gibraltar in the afternoon of the 26th escorted by the destroyer escorts USS Pillsbury (Lt. G.W. Cassleman, USNR, with COMDESDIV 4 on board), USS Chatelain (T/Lt.Cdr. J.L. Foley, USN), USS Pope (T/Lt.Cdr. E.H. Headland, USN), USS Amick (James A Hetherington, 2nd, USNR, with COMDESDIV 15 on board), USS Atherton (Lt. M. Kelly, Jr., USN), USS Booth (T/Cdr. D.W. Todd, USN) and USS Carroll ( T/Lt.Cdr. F.W. Kuhn, USN).

Around 1415A/27, the Gibraltar section of the convoy was joined by the destroyer USS Benson (T/Cdr. R.J. Woodaman, USN, with, COMTASKFOR 62, T/Capt. C.L. Winecoff, USN, on board), destroyer escorts USS Cooner (T/Cdr. J.M. Stuart, USN), USS Eldridge (Lt. C.R. Hamilton, USNR) and USS Flaherty (Lt. M. Johnston, Jr., USN) and the naval tanker USS Niobrara (T/Cdr. J.W. Marts, Jr., USN).

Around 0845A/27, the Gibraltar section joined with the main convoy after which the British escort, HMS Usk, HMS Jonquil, HMS Vetch and HMSAS Southern Isles parted company to proceed to Gibraltar where they arrived later the same day.

Around 1400A/27, the Casablanca section of the convoy, which had departed Casablanca on the 26th and was made up of the transports Manchester Commerce (British, 5343 GRT, built 1925) and Thomas Lynch (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942). They were escorted by the patrol vessels USS PC-471 (Lt. G. Washburn, USNR), USS PC-474 (Lt. H.C. Hummer, USNR) and USS PC-481 (Lt. N.W Roeder, USNR) which did not join the convoy but proceeded back to Casablanca taking the transports Baxtergate, Empire Duke, Finistere, Lambrook, Madagascar, Sirehei, Taria, Zypenberg and with them. They arrived at Casablanca on the 28th.

Around 0800Z/30, USS Eldridge was detached from the convoy to proceed to Horta, Azores to escort the Azores section of the convoy from there to a rendezvous position with the convoy. She arrived at Horta around 0630N/31 but the transport she was to escort had not completed unloading yet. Around 0200N/1, USS Eldridge departed Horta escorting the transport John Clarke (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943). They joined the convoy around 1150Z/2 in position 36°14'N, 33°53'W.

In the morning of 5 February 1944, USS Benson fuelled from USS Niobrara.

Around 0300Q/14, the convoy split into the ' Chesapeake Bay section ' and the ' New York section '.

The Chesapeake Bay section was made up of sixteen of the merchant vessels and the USS Niobrara. They were escorted by USS Amick, USS Atherton, USS Cooner and USS Eldridge. On the 15th the Delaware section of the convoy got scattered in heavy weather. Six ships managed to remain together with the escort. Straggles were later brought up to rejoin the convoy. In the early evening of the 15th the convoy entered Hampton Roads.

The New York section of the convoy was made up of the remaining ships of the convoy. Around 0830Q/14, the ' Delaware section ' split off. This was made up of three ships and was escorted by USS Carroll. The Delaware section arrived at its destination in the morning of 15 February 1944.

The ' New York section ' of the convoy arrived at its destination in the morning of 15 February 1944.

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