About U.S. Navy Auxiliary Ships
Auxiliary ships are the United States Navy workhorses. Auxiliaries provide the necessary logistical support to keep a naval fleet operational whether at peace or in war.
As long as the U.S. has possessed a Navy, they’ve used auxiliary ships to maintain it. The Navy simply wouldn’t be able to function if it weren’t for its Military Sealift Command and Combat Support Ship segment.
Auxiliary tenders depend on the fleet’s big guns to do the defensive work while they quietly go about fueling, feeding, repairing and towing other Navy combat vessels.
These are some of the roles the United States Navy auxiliary ships assume:
- Hospital and medical aid
- Floating barracks
- Food, supplies and water stores
- Ammunition and explosives containment
- Repair and maintenance functions
- Oilers and takers
- Salvage duties
- Research and technology development
- Training and education
- Tug and towing
- Crane and heavy lifting services
- Cargo transit and storage
- Submarine tenders
- Search and rescue operations
- Seaplane retrieval
- Torpedo testing and reclaim
- Diving and underwater recovery
During World War II, the U.S. Navy had hundreds of auxiliary ships. They were massed produced to serve and protect foreign battle fleets.
War-time production required shipbuilders to use materials they were familiar with and depend on. The main material used in building auxiliary ships was asbestos.