The name Tombigbee (itumbi ikbi) comes from the Native American Choctaw tribe and means “box maker, coffin maker” (itumbi “box coffin” and ikbi “maker”)
An act of Congress in 1819 set the responsibility of assigning names to the Navy’s ships with the Secretary of the Navy, of which the position still does to this day.
The act stated: “…all of the ships, of the Navy of the United States, now building, or hereafter to be built, shall be named by the Secretary of the Navy, under the direction of the President of the United States, according to the following rule, to wit: those of the first class shall be called after the States of this Union; those of the second class after the rivers; and those of the third class after the principal cities and towns; taking care that no two vessels of the navy shall bear the same name.”
Bulk carriers (oilers and tankers) of the U.S. Navy are named after rivers.
During the Vietnam conflict, the U.S.S. Tombigbee operated in ComServPac / ServRon 5 (Service Squadron 5) home ported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii…
The Patapsco-class of gasoline tankers were a class of tankers built for the United States Navy during World War II. The class consisted of 23 tankers, designated AOG-1 through AOG-11, and AOG-48 to AOG-59.
The “life & times” of U.S.S. Tombigbee (AOG-11)
During night maneuvers in Hawaiian waters on 31 January 1967, the U.S.S. Tombigbee (AOG-11) collided with the destroyer escort DE-1036, U.S.S. McMorris…
The story of this tragic night can be read on the official U.S.S. McMorris website page: Collision Story… Pictures of the damage caused to the McMorris as a result of this collision can be viewed on the same website: Collision Photos