USS Niobrara (AO-72)
Niobrara was laid down 29 June 1942 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Sparrows Point, Md.. In March 1944 she was altered at Norfolk for Pacific service, and sailed from the Panama Canal for Pearl Harbor, and Kwajalein where she fueled transports bound for the Marianas invasions begun in June 1944.
Niobrara served as station tanker at Eniwetok until July then operated from the base fueling ships at sea, thus enabling carrier task forces to roam the western Pacific and the Philippine Sea without interrupting their strikes to return to port. On 1 October she arrived in Kossol Roads, Palaus, to serve as station tanker for smaller combatants patrolling during the assault and occupation of the Palaus, then for forces preparing for the return to the Philippines. On 8 January 1945 she herself proceeded to Leyte, then into the South China Sea to fuel TF 38, then attacking the China coast. During the next two months, she served at Ulithi and Saipan fueling ships for the Iwo Jima invasion and preparing for the Okinawa campaign. She sailed 26 March from Ulithi for Okinawa, and after refueling 5th Fleet striking units at sea closed Hagushi Beach 5 April to fuel radar picket destroyers.
USS FRANK E EVANS (DD-754) sailed in company with USS NIOBRARA (AO-72) on 14 July
and 23-26 July 1945.
Air and submarine alerts, seamanship to refuel ships
as well as gunfire close ashore, required expert alongside while maneuvering to protect the ship. She
continued to support ships until the end of the war. surrender, and after three aided in salvage work.
patrolling off Okinawa and carrier striking forces Niobrara entered Tokyo Bay 30 August to witness the months occupation duty, sailed for Guam, where she
On 10 December she sailed for the Panama Canal and the east coast, along which she operated until decommissioning 24 September 1946. She lay in reserve at Philadelphia until re-commissioning 5 February 1951 for three years service with the Atlantic Fleet along the east coast in the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean. On 13 June 1954 she arrived in San Diego to join the Pacific Fleet's operations until decommissioning 30 November 1954.
Niobrara received 4 battle stars for World War II service.
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