USNS Mission Loreto (T-AO-116)

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USNS Mission Loreto.jpg USNS Mission Loreto (T-AO-116) underway in the Long Beach Harbor area, date unknown.[1]
Laid down: 27 April 1944
Launched: 28 June 1944
Delivered: 22 July 1944
Struck: 13 July 1959
Fate: Scrapped
General Characteristics
Hull type: T2-SE-A2
Displacement: 5,532 tn light;
21,880 tn full
Length: 524 ft (160 m)
Beam: 68 ft (21 m)
Draft: 30 ft (9.0 m)
Speed: 16.5 kt (31 km/h)
Complement: 52
Propulsion: Turbo-electric, single screw, 6,000 hp
Armament (WWII): None

USNS Mission Loreto (T-AO-116) was the sixth of twenty-seven Mission Buenaventura-class tankers built during World War II for service as fleet oilers in the United States Navy. Named for the former Jesuit mission located in Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico, Mission Loreto was the only United States naval vessel to be named for one of the Baja California missions.

Operational history

Mission Loreto was laid down on 27 April 1944 under a Maritime Commission contract by Marine Ship Corporation, Sausalito, California; launched 28 June 1944; sponsored by Mrs. S. D. Bechtel; and delivered 22 July 1944. Operated, under charter, by Los Angeles Tanker Operators Inc., she spent the remainder of the World War II transporting fuel to our allies in the western Pacific, during which time she was awarded the National Defense Service Medal. She continued in these duties until 26 April 1946 when she was returned to the Maritime Commission and laid up in the Maritime Reserve Fleet at Mobile, Alabama.

Acquired by the Navy 20 November 1947 she was placed in service with Naval Transportation Service on the same date as Mission Loreto (AO-116). On 1 October 1949 she was still performing these duties, but was under control of the new Military Sea Transportation Service and was designated USNS Mission Loreto (T-AO-116). She continued in these duties until 25 August 1955 when she was struck from the Naval Vessel Register and transferred to the Maritime Administration for lay up in the Maritime Reserve Fleet at Beaumont, Texas.

Reacquired by the Navy 25 June 1956 she was placed in service with MSTS on the same date and served until 13 July 1959 when she was once again returned to the Maritime Administration and laid up in the Maritime Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, California. Final Disposition, sold, 2 September 1975, for non-transportation use (scrapping) to Ziedell Explorations Inc., Portland, Oregon.


  1. (PD) Photo: United States Navy