USS Roanoke (AOR-7) (Non-retention)
USS Roanoke, named for Roanoke, Virginia, is a replenishment oiler built by National Steel & Shipbuilding in San Diego, California in 1974. Roanoke Is the most modern of the Wichita-class replenishment oilers and is the only AOR built by National Steel & Shipbuilding in San Diego. General Dynamics in Quincy, Massachusetts built the other AORs. On February 4, 1977, Roanoke set sail for the Bering Sea for cold weather operations, earning it the nickname “Polar Express.” Roanoke later served in Southeast Asia and in the Western Pacific. In 1983 the ship underwent a substantial overhaul and upgrade including installation of a HALON 1351 firefighting system in the main engineering spaces to improve the vessel’s damage control readiness. In 1985, Roanoke was awarded the Battle Efficiency “E” award and a Meritorious Unit Commendation for providing outstanding logistics support to the Battle Group during its Western Pacific deployment. In 1991, while the ship was underway near the Philippines, the volcano, Mount Pinatubo erupted and the vessel helped evacuate 564 people.
During the same year, Roanoke headed to the Gulf of Oman to support Operation DESERT STORM. The Navy decommissioned the ship in 1995 and in 1998, transferred it to the Maritime Administration’s Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet in for final disposition.