no coat of arms
Built for the Military Sealift Command, the ship entered service as USNS SEA LIFT (T-LSV 9) on May 19, 1967. Redesignated T-AKR 9 on August 14, 1969, the ship was renamed METEOR on September 12, 1975. 10 years later, in September 1985, the METEOR was transfered to the MARAD Ready Reserve Force and was berthed at Alameda, Calif., capable of being fully activated within 10 days. The MARAD transfer also caused the loss of METEOR's USNS designation. On July 28, 2006, she was downgraded from the Ready Reserve Force to the National Defense Reserve Fleet and her berth was shifted to Suisun Bay, Calif., where the METEOR is presently laid-up.
|General Characteristics:||Keel laid: May 18, 1964|
|Launched: April 17, 1965|
|Delivered: April 25, 1967|
|Builder: Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction, Seattle, Wash.|
|Propulsion system: four boilers, two geared turbines|
|Length: 540 feet (164.4 meters)|
|Beam: 83 feet (25.3 meters)|
|Draft: 28.9 feet (8.8 meters)|
|Displacement: approx. 21,650 tons full load|
|Speed: 19 knots|
|Capacity: 77,578 sqft|
|Homeport: Suisun Bay, Calif.|
This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard the METEOR. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.
SS METEOR History:
The former USNS SEA LIFT (T-LSV 9), a Roll On/Roll Off (Ro/Ro) cargo ship, was built by Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Co., in Seattle, Washington and was delivered to the US Navy's Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS), now the Military Sealift Command (MSC), on May 19, 1967. The vessel is an enlarged and improved version of the prototype Ro/Ro vessel built in 1957, USNS COMET (T-AK 269). SEA LIFT was assigned to MSTS Pacific where it transported military vehicles to East Asia, including Vietnam. In 1975, SEA LIFT was one of seven ships that formed the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) in Diego Garcia, an island in the Indian Ocean. The RDF was the precursor to todayís Maritime Prepositioning Squadrons (MPS). The ship was renamed METEOR to conform with the names COMET and two other Ro/Ro vessels MERCURY (T-AKR 10) and JUPITER (T-AKR 11). In 1982, METEOR grounded and damaged its port propulsion shafting. After it was repaired, METEOR continued in service but with operational restrictions that limited its speed.
In 1984, METEOR was among a number of MSC dry cargo and tank vessels assigned to the Maritime Administrationís (MARAD) Ready Reserve Force (RRF). The RRF is a subset of the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF), which was established under Section XI of the Merchant Ship Sales Act of 1946 to serve as a reserve of ships for national defense and national emergencies.
In August 1990, 78 of the 96 ships assigned to the RRF were activated to support Operations DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM. This was the first large-scale activation of the RRF since it was created in 1976. The vessels involved included Ro/Ros, break-bulk cargo ships, tankers and barge carriers. METEOR was in the first group of 17 vessels activated. The ship was berthed in San Pedro at the time and was activated by a local shipyard before being loaded with cargo bound for Saudi Arabia; the staging area for inbound cargo. After its initial voyage, METEOR was directed to the US East Coast to load additional cargo. METEOR continued in this service, US East Coast to Saudi Arabia via the Mediterranean, for the duration of the conflict. The vessel operated well despite its shaft problems by carefully observing its operating restrictions. By late 1991 the need for RRF ships to move retrograde cargo back to the US diminished so MSC deactivated METEOR. The ship sailed to the West Coast where it entered the National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. shipyard for extensive repairs and lay-up. Repairs to the shipís propulsion shafting finally resolved its propulsion problem. After the ship was deactivated, METEOR was again berthed at San Pedro along with COMET. It was later moved to the San Francisco Bay area and was eventually berthed at the Alameda Naval Air Station after the Navy transferred part of that facility to MARAD through the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.
METEOR was activated for Fuertes Caminos, a nation assistance exercise in Guatemala in October 1993 and later participated in exercises off South Korea. In the mid-1990s, MARAD and MSC developed a plan to improve the material and operational reliability of RRF ships assigned to four and five day status by placing them in Reduced Operating Status (ROS) with permanent retention crews. Systems and equipment were kept active, rather than in deep lay-up. METEOR and COMET were upgraded to ROS-5 status while in Alameda. Budget cuts in 1999 and 2000 forced MARAD to downgrade METEOR to a 10-day retention status so MARAD moved the ship to its Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet (SBRF) in Benicia, California, on February 29, 2000. Along with COMET and many other RRF vessels, MSC reactivated METEOR to serve in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM in 2003. At the conclusion of the sealift operations, METEOR returned again to the SBRF. By the time of IRAQI FREEDOM, the military was well on its way to shipping ammunition in containers, thus ending the last mission for the traditional break-bulk general cargo ship. MARAD removed METEOR and COMET from the RRF program in 2006, thus formally ending their active service careers. Both vessels are currently at the SBRF awaiting final disposition.
SS METEOR Image Gallery:
The photos below were taken by me and show the METEOR berthed at Alameda, Calif., on July 18, 2006.
The photos below were taken by me and show the METEOR laid-up at Suisun Bay, Calif., on March 27, 2010.