Specifications of the U.S.S. Neosho


When it was built in 1939, the U.S.S. Neosho (AO-23) was the largest tanker in the world.  With the probability of America participating in World War II looming ever closer, the Navy wanted this to be a fast ship, able to keep up with aircraft carriers and cruisers when refueling them at high speed on the open ocean, so they cancelled the original plan of having only a single propeller and instead redesigned it with two propellers. It was the second Navy ship named U.S.S. Neosho  (see The Four U.S.S. Neoshos).


Here are the specifications of the U.S.S. Neosho:


U.S.S. Neosho

Above:  The Neosho under construction in 1939.

Hull Number:  AO-23

Date Laid Down:  June 22, 1938

Date Launched:  April 29, 1939

Construction Site:  Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Kearny, New Jersey (Hull #152)

Sponsor:  Mrs. Emory S. Land, wife of Rear Admiral, Emory S. Land

Type:  Cimarron-class Fleet Oiler

Length:  553 feet

Beam:  75 feet

Draft:  32 feet

Displacement:  24,830 tons

Maximum Speed:  18 knots

Capacity:  146,000 barrels

Armament:  One 5" gun, three 3" guns, eight 20-millimeter guns

Note:  The machine guns were added after the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

Engines:  Geared turbines

Boilers:  Four Foster-Wheeler

Shafts:  Two

Horsepower:  13,500

Complement:  288 officers and crew (during the Battle of the Coral Sea)

Commission Date:  August 7, 1939 in Norfolk, Virginia

Conversion:  Completed on July 7, 1941 at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington

Date Sunk:  May 11, 1942 (scuttled intentionally by destroyer U.S.S. Henley)

Commendations Received:  Two battle stars


Above:  The Exxon Valez after running aground in Alaska in 1989.

By comparison, here are the specifications for a modern oil tanker, the Exxon Valdez.  The Exxon Valdez is perhaps the most famous (infamous?) tanker in the world, having ran aground in Alaska in 1989 and causing a massive oil spill.  The Exxon Valdez, which was repaired and now has a different name, is about twice as long, twice as wide, and twice as deep as was the Neosho and has about 10 times the capacity:


Exxon Valdez

Length:  987 feet

Beam:  166 feet

Draft:  64 feet

Displacement:  211,469 tons

Maximum Speed:  16 knots

Capacity:  1.48 million barrels

Complement:  21 crew


Table of Contents:

U.S.S. Neosho (AO-23)

U.S.S. Neosho (AO-23) Home Page


SECTION 1:  Background

>  Specifications of the U.S.S. Neosho

Photo Gallery of the U.S.S. Neosho

The Four U.S.S. Neoshos


SECTION 2:  Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941)


Prelude to War:  Conflict in the Far East

Bill Leu's Early Years

The U.S.S. Neosho at Pearl Harbor

Interview of Bill Leu:  The Attack on Pearl Harbor

U.S. Navy Action Report:  U.S.S. Neosho


SECTION 3:  Battle of the Coral Sea (May 1942)


The Battle of the Coral Sea:  Summary

Battle Action:  April 30 - May 4, 1942

Battle Action:  May 5 - May 7, 1942

Battle Action:  May 8, 1942

The Ordeal of the U.S.S. Neosho

May 7, 1942:  The Japanese Attack

May 8, 1942:  Waiting for Rescue

May 9, 1942:  Fading Hope

May 10, 1942:  Neosho Sighted

May 11, 1942:  Rescue

The Battle of the Coral Sea (continued)

List of Survivors and Casualties

U.S.S. Neosho:  Survivors and Casualties

U.S.S. Sims:  Survivors and Casualties

Interview of Bill Leu:  The Battle of the Coral Sea

U.S. Navy Action Reports:  Battle of the Coral Sea

Action Report of U.S.S. Neosho

Action Report of U.S.S. Sims

Action Report of U.S.S. Helm

Other Ships at the Battle of the Coral Sea

The U.S.S. Sims (Neosho's Escort)

The U.S.S. Henley (Neosho's Rescuer)

The U.S.S. Helm (Rescued Life Raft)

Battle of the Coral Sea Scrapbook

Honolulu Newspaper:  May 8, 1942

S.F. Examiner Article:  July 10, 1942


SECTION 4:  Aftermath


President Bush's 1991 Speech at Pearl Harbor

Seattle Times Article:  Bill Leu at Pearl Harbor

John S. Phillips, Captain of the U.S.S. Neosho

U.S.S. Neosho Veteran's Forum

Fireman Third Class, Bill Leu

Jack Rolston and the Tragic "Raft of 68"

Links, Sources and Further Information

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