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"Join the Navy and see the world"

  With World War II over, it was certainly "Join the Navy and see the world" for Mattaponi crewmen. Mattaponi made two voyages to Pearl Harbor, visited various ports in Korea (Jinsen and Fusan), Japan (Taku), and China (Tsingtao and Shanghai), and made three long-distance voyages from Japan to Saudi Arabia and back to Japan. These 42-day round trips of 15,000 miles each took her into the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman, and the Persian Gulf. During these voyages she stopped at Singapore four times, picked up full cargoes of oil in Saudi Arabia's port of Ras Tanura three times,, and stopped in Colombo, Ceylon, three times. She visited Okinawa twice, Sasebo in Japan once, Yokosuka in Japan three times, and Manila in the Philippines once.

  Mattaponi left Manila on 29 December 1946 bound for Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands of the western Pacific. From there she towed an unmanned, unpowered gasoline barge more than 3,200 miles to Pearl Harbor. Free of the tow three weeks later, she then continued on to San Francisco Bay to spend the next two-and-one-half months being overhauled in the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. When she was ready for sea once more, Mattaponi steamed westward to Pearl Harbor to join a U. S. Goodwill Tour to Australia. The flotilla of ships participating included two aircraft carriers, two cruisers, a dozen destroyers, and a second tanker.

  Between May 1947 and December 1948, Mattaponi completed two round-the-world voyages in addition to making numerous runs to the Persian Gulf. New ports of call during these years included Piraeus in Greece and Taranto in Italy.

  On 21 December 1949 Mattaponi entered the San Francisco Naval Shipyard for inactivation. She was ordered to San Diego, placed in the reserve fleet, and decomissioned on 17 April 1950.

   Her inactivity was not to last, however. Eight months later on 28 December 28, she was recommissioned. She then spent almost four years as a Mlitary Sea Transport Service vessel with the new designation of T-AO-41. Until June of 1950 she operated principally in U. S. West Coast waters, although she did make one voyage to Japan in March of 1950.

   From June through September of 1950, she carried fuel from Aruba in the Netherlands Antilles to East Coast ports. During this time, she made a run to Iceland before being ordered back to the West Coast. With one interruption there-a cruise to the Marshall Islands in the western Pacific in August and September 1953-she continued to operate off the West Coast with periodic voyages to the Aleutian Islands and Hawaii.

   On 12 October 1954, she was again decommissioned, entering the reserve fleet in San Diego. This time she was inactive for more than two years before being returned to service.

   Recommissioned on 12 December 1956, Mattaponi remained on active duty for the next I I months. During this time she made one round-the-world voyage, several runs from Norfolk to Bahrein (Saudi Arabia), and a cruise to Cherbourg (France) and Invergordan (Scotland). She then returned to New Orleans where she was decommissioned once again on 11 November 1957. On 1 February 1959 her name was stmck from the naval list.

   Again, her inactivity was short. Mattaponi was reinstated on the Navy's list on 1 September 1961. Home ported in San Francisco, she then spent all of 1962 on the West Coast. On 2 July 1963, she departed for the western Pacific where she serviced ships of the Seventh Fleet in Japanese and Philippine waters as well as the East and South China Seas.

   Returning to the U. S. West Coast on 14 January 1964, she spent the remainder of that year in operations in the eastern Pacific, including joint exercises involving U. S. and Canadian units. From January to July in 1965, Mattaponi again deployed for duty with the Seventh Fleet.

   In 1966 she operated off the West Coast until 28 March, when she began an overhaul period in Richmoncl California. With the overhaul completed on 27 July, she then resumed underway operations along the West Coast until September when the veteran oiler left San Francisco for the western Pacific, where she again provided services to the Seventh Fleet until the end of March 1967. Then she returned to San Francisco.


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