WESPAC CRUISE 1967 - 1970

U.S.S. Tombigbee Shoulder Patch

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The ship’s name - Tombigbee - comes from  the watershed area of western Alabama and northeastern Mississippi of which the river Tombigbee flows southward.

The name Tombigbee (itumbi ikbi) comes from  the Native American Choctaw tribe and means “box maker, coffin maker” (itumbi “box coffin” and ikbi “maker”)[1]

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…

A few of the  Patapsco Class Tankers




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)[2]

General characteristics

Class & type:  Patapsco-class gasoline tanker

Displacement:  1,850 long tons (1,880 t) light

4,130 long tons (4,196 t) full load

Length:  310 ft 9 in (94.72 m)

Beam:  48 ft 6 in (14.78 m)

Draft:  15 ft 8 in (4.78 m)

Propulsion: 4 × General Electric diesel-electric engines, twin shafts, 3,300 hp (2,461 kW)

Speed:  15.5 knots (17.8 mph; 28.7 km/h)

Capacity:  2,210 long tons deadweight (DWT)

Crew Complement:  131 (Officers & Non-Comms)

Armament: • 4 × 3"/50 caliber guns • 12 × 20 mm AA

Career (United States)  

Name:  USS Tombigbee (AOG-11)

Builder: Cargill, Inc. Savage, Minnesota

Laid down: 23 October 1942

Launched: 18 November 1943

Commissioned:  13 July 1944

Decommissioned:  12 December 1949

Recommissioned:  28 July 1950

Decommissioned:  7 July 1972

Fate:  Sold to Greece, 7 July 1972

Career (Greece)  

Name: Ariadni (A414)

Namesake:  Ariadne

Acquired: 7 July 1972

Commissioned:  1972

Decommissioned:  2003 (Sent to the scrap heap)

Service record


World War II

Korean War

Vietnam War


2 battle stars (World War II)

Navy Occupation Service Medal

11 campaign stars (Vietnam)

Collision at Sea…

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