Year Built
Official Number
Ship Yard
General Dynamics
General Type
Specific Type
Ship Length
659.0 feet
96.00 feet
Mast Height
Net Tons
Gross Tons
37000 tons
Cargo Capacity
Draft, Summer
37.00 tons
Draft, Lightweight
33.3 tons
Displacement, Summer
37000 tons
Displacement, Lightweight
13622 tons
Immersion, Summer
Immersion, Lightweight

Historical Narrative

USS Roanoke, named for Roanoke, Virginia, is a replenishment oiler built by National Steel & Shipbuilding in San Diego, California in 1974. 

Roanoke was the most modern of the Wichita-class replenishment oilers and was the only AOR built by National Steel & Shipbuilding in San Diego, with the others built by General Dynamics in Quincy, Massachusetts. 

On February 4, 1977, Roanoke sailed 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 on October 6, 1995, transferred it to the Maritime Administration’s Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet for final disposition on December 18, 1998.

Roanoke departed Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet on November 29, 2012 under a domestic scrap sale.

Naval History and Heritage Command Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships entry on USS Roanoke.


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Historical Documents

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Event: Entry
Date: 10/12/1995

Entered Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet
Event: Acquisition
Date: 12/18/1998

MARAD took title from US Navy
Event: Cleared Historic Review
Date: 6/21/2005

California SHPO cleared the ship for disposal on this date.
Event: Withdrawal
Date: 11/29/2012

Departed under domestic scrap sale contract with ESCO Marine, Inc.

Ship Imagery

Roanoke_Photos_Page_1.jpg Roanoke_Photos_Page_2.jpg

Status Cards



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Shipwreck Information

No ship wreck information for this vessel