SS Northern Light (Non-retention)
The break-bulk cargo ship Northern Light was originally built by Moore-McCormack Lines at the Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company of Chester, Pennsylvania, as the Mormaccove in 1961. The vessel operated on all three of the company’s east coast-based services. In March of 1977, the Mormaccove was turned over to the Maritime Administration and placed at its James River Reserve Fleet at Fort Eustis, Virginia. On May 27, 1977, its name was shortened to just Cove and it was placed in the Ready Reserve Force (RRF) on a ten-day activation status. On April 22, 1980, the Maritime Administration transferred the ship to the U.S. Navy where it was converted to a Navy supply ship for use as a maritime pre-positioning vessel stationed at Diego Garcia, an island in the Indian Ocean. The Cove was renamed USNS Northern Light and designated T-AK 284. The ship’s use as a pre-positioning vessel was brief. Northern Light was deactivated on April 26, 1984, and on October 22, it was returned to the RRF, this time in Suisun Bay, in Benicia, California. In 1990, the Northern Light was among the 78 RRF ships activated to support Operations DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM. The vessel was ordered to activate on August 24, 1990, and placed under the operational control of the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command. It continued in service until September 1991. After deactivation, the Northern Light was returned to lay-up in the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet, as an RRF retention asset. However, in 1994 the “No Lights” was downgraded from the RRF as part of a force restructuring.