Title: King of the Oilers: The Story of the USS Chiwawa AO-68
Author: Jon Strupp
Genre: Military Sub-Category: Navy
Reviewer: jim greenwald
ISBN (for Amazon store): 1592981917
With entry into World War II, the United States of America faced a daunting task of delivering men and material on two distant fronts on opposite ends of the world. Due to this, a logistical system was developed like never seen before. This book tells the story of the fleet oiler, USS Chiwawa AO-68. How both men and machine, not primarily designed for war, were called from civilian life to defend their country and become part of the backbone of the navy helping to tip the balance in the Allies favor. Loaded with cargo consisting of kerosene, gasoline, diesel oil, Navy Special Fuel Oil, top side cargo, and passengers, the Chiwawa participated in nine trans-Atlantic convoys, delivering the goods to the European theater. Facing bad weather and the imminent threat of U-boats, the Chiwawa performed the delicate job of refueling the escort ships protecting the convoy while underway. When the war in Europe was won, the Chiwawa was transferred to the Pacific theater to confront ever present mines and two typhoons. This often overlooked aspect of World War II is examined using U.S. Navy records, crew interviews, diaries, and letters written during the war, telling the Chiwawa's story through first-hand accounts of life at sea and land while visiting ports throughout Europe, Mediterranean, Caribbean and Pacific. This story is unique because the Chiwawa avoided scrapping after the war to return to civilian use, and serves to the present day on the Great Lakes as the ore carrier M/V Lee A. Tregurtha.