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AF - Stores Ship

Stores Ship (AF) are refrigerated cargo ships, basically general cargo ships with extensive refrigerated spaces for the transport of meat, fruit, and dairy products. Cargo may be carried frozen or chilled. Combat Stores Ships (AFS) provide the triple logistics capability of a stores issues ship, a refrigerator ship, and an aviation supply ship. Unlike Stores Ship (AF), the Combat Stores Ships (AFS) are designed for high-speed replenishment-at-sea operations.

Refrigerated transport moves products from one place to another while maintaining necessary temperatures, and include , truck trailers, railway freight cars, and refrigerated ship holds. Removal of field heat by the process of precooling to a recommended storage temperature and relative humidity is absolutely necessary to maintain the quality of fresh fruits, vegetables, and plants. The quality of most products will rapidly deteriorate if field heat is not removed before loading into transportation equipment. The rate of respiration and ripening increases two to three times for every 10o C (18o F) above the recommended storage temperature. Refrigerated transportation equipment is designed to maintain temperature and should not be used to remove field heat from products packed in shipping containers. The refrigeration units also are not capable of raising or controlling the relative humidity.

Refrigeration is the process of removing heat from a substance to produce a low temperature. Heat always flows from a warmer to a cooler body or substance. Refrigeration works by placing something to be cooled near a refrigerant, something cooler that will absorb heat. In 1874 the Swiss physicist Raoul-Pierre Pictet developed a compressor refrigeration system that used sulfur dioxide as the refrigerant. The first successful compressor system using ammonia was designed by Karl Paul Gottfried von Linde in 1876 for a German brewery. Mechanical refrigeration was a great technological advance over the dependence on the shipping and storage of ice. The advantages were economy of space, cost of supervision required by the individual consumer, ability to secure any temperature between 25 and 45 degrees, andfinally the advantage of quality, the dryer airfurnished under this system being more suitable for many of the purposes for which refrigeration is necessary than the moist air secured in the ice box. This technology allowed for the cooling of large warehouses, small market buildings, ships, and railroad freight cars, thus not only spurring the food distribution-related businesses in New York, but also the growth of industries related to the transcontinental and trans-Atlantic shipping of produce, meat, etc.

By the turn of the 20th century the refrigeration industry in the United States was becoming a commercial reality. Mechanical refrigeration technology had achieved economic viability as a means of producing ice for cooling and was on the threshold of moving into house-holds as an everyday appliance. Advances were under-way to provide mechanical "air conditioning" for public buildings, such as theaters, department stores, and sky-scrapers. In general, the early 1900s saw the evolution of a scientific approach to refrigeration through company-sponsored research and development.

SS Deerfield, a 7622 gross ton refrigerated cargo freighter, was built in 1918 by the Sun Shipbuilding Corporation of Chester, Pennsylvania, for the United States Shipping Board. She was inspected by the Third Naval District in late October 1918 for possible Navy service and assigned the registry ID # 3564. Though it was intended that she be taken over, manned and operated by the Navy for Army account, this did not take place and Deerfield remained in civilian hands.

Montclair was built in 1918 by Standard Shipbuilding Corp., Shooters' Island, N.Y., as a refrigerator ship for Cunard Steamship Co. She was taken over by the Shipping Board through the Emergency Fleet Corporation 19 August 1918 at Brooklyn and commissioned as a NOTS refrigerated cargo ship. She decommissioned 7 July 1919 and returned to the USSB. She continued to operate as a refrigerated cargo ship under Shipping Board ownership until 1932.

Sixaola (ID-2777), a refrigerated cargo ship built in 1911 by Workman Clark and Co., Belfast, Ireland, was acquired by the Navy on 19 September 1918 from the United Fruit Co., and was commissioned as a unit of the Naval Overseas Transportation Service the same day. Upon completion of refitting, Sixaola loaded a cargo of general Army supplies and sailed on 26 September 1918 for La Pallice, France, where she arrived on 13 October.

The first Bridge was a refrigerated store ship (AF 1) (1917-1946) which supported fleet operations during World War I as a unit of the Naval Overseas Transportation Service. During World War II she carried cargo and provisions to bases throughout the Pacific Ocean area.

USS Arctic (AF-7), a 12,600-ton (displacement) store ship, was built at Oakland, California, in 1918 as the civilian refrigerated cargo ship Yamhill. She was acquired by the Navy, renamed and placed in commission in November 1921. During the 1920s and 1930s Arctic operated in the Pacific as a unit of the US Fleet Train, providing provisions and other supplies to operating units and bases.

Lioba (AF-36) was laid down under Maritime Commission contract 23 June 1944 by Pennsylvania Shipyard, Beaumont, Tex.; launched 27 August 1944; acquired by the Navy 17 February 1945; and commissioned 6 March 1945, Lt. Sidney L. Boisdor in command. After shakedown in the Gulf of Mexico, the refrigerated cargo ship departed Mobile, Ala., 30 March 1945, for Pearl Harbor en route to Ulithi and Okinawa with mail and cargo for the fighting men pushing towards Japan and victory.

The R2-S-BV1-class Ocean Chief was laid down on 30 September 1944 at Oakland, Calif., by the Moore Drydock Co. under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1206); launched on 28 November 1944; and delivered to the War Shipping Administration on 4 May 1945. She was operated by the United Fruit Co. under a contract with the War Shipping Administration for almost exactly one year. Acquired by the Navy on 10 May 1946, she was renamed Alstede; designated a store ship AF-48; and commissioned at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard on 17 May 1946.

The R2-S-BV1-class Arcturus (AF-52) was laid down on 8 December 1941 at Oakland, Calif., by the Moore Dry Dock Co. under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 184) as Golden Eagle; launched on 15 March 1942; and delivered to the War Shipping Administration (WSA) on 23 April 1943. She was operated under WSA charter by the United Fruit Co. until 1946 and, thereafter by the Sword Line and the United States Lines. Between October 1948 and early 1950, she served the Army Transportation Corps. In March 1950, Golden Eagle was transferred from the Maritime Commission to the Navy and was assigned to the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS). Designated AF-52 and manned by a civilian crew, Golden Eagle operated out of New York carrying supplies to American bases in the North Atlantic, Europe, and the Mediterranean.

The R2-S-BV1-class refrigerated cargo ship Matchless was laid down for the War Shipping Administration under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1202) on 23 August 1944 at Oakland, Calif., by the Moore Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co.; launched on 14 October 1944; and was delivered to the United States Lines under a bare boat charter on 23 March 1945. That firm operated the ship in the Pacific during the final months of the war and during the first four years following Japan's capitulation. In November 1950, the Navy selected Matchless for reactivation as it was expanding the Fleet to meet its greatly increased responsibilities resulting from United Nations decision to oppose communist aggression in Korea. The vessel was towed to Camden, N.J., where she was overhauled and converted to a store ship by the New York Shipbuilding Corp. During this work, she received the best and most modern equipment to enable her to carry out her primary mission, underway replenishment. Renamed AF-55 Aludra on 16 January 1951, the ship was placed in commission by the Navy on 19 June 1952.

R2-S-BV1-class Fleetwood was was laid down on 16 October 1944 at Oakland, Calif., by the Moore Drydock Co. under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1207); launched on 4 December 1944; and delivered to the Maritime Commission on 21 June 1945. The Maritime Commission then turned her over to the United Fruit Co. that operated her in the North Atlantic under contract until October 1946. She then was transferred by the Maritime Commission to the Pacific Far East Line, and carried out numerous cargo runs to ports throughout the Pacific, including some in Alaskan waters. After April 1958, she served the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) though the Far East Line continued to operate her. Transferred to the Navy on 22 August 1961, Fleetwood entered the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to begin conversion to a Navy stores ship. On 13 October 1961, she was renamed Bellatrix and designated AF-62. On 18 November 1961, she was commissioned at her conversion yard.

Grommet Reefer (T-AF-53) was laid down as a C1-M-AV1 class cargo ship under Maritime Commission contract by Walter Butler Shipbuilders. Inc., Riverside Yard, Duluth, Minn., 1 January 1944: launched as Kenneth E. Gruennert 29 July 1944: sponsored by Mrs. Walter A. Blodsoe: and delivered to WSA !) December 1944 for use as a merchant cargo ship. Prior to 1950 she was owned by WSA and the Maritime Commission; and. as Kenneth E. Gruennert and later as Grommet Reefer, she was operated by several merchant lines, including Grace Lines. Inc.. and Alaska Transportation Co. Grommet Reefer was transferred to the Navy by the Maritime Commission 1 March 1950 and assigned to MSTS. Manned by a civilian crew, she operated in the Pacific out of West Coast ports, carrying military cargo and frozen and refrigerated foodstuffs.



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