Stuff You Should Know
USS Mauna Loa was a Lassen-class ammunition ship that was named after a large shield volcano on Hawaii. It was laid down on December 10, 1942, and launched on April 14, 1943. It was commissioned for the first time on October 27, 1943, under Comdr. George D. Martin's command. The ship was commissioned 3 times during its entire activity. Thus, it served in the US Navy for 4 years until it was decommissioned the first time on June 2, 1947, period during which it replenished 5,600 tons of ammunition at Norfolk. On January 31, 1955, after 8 years of inactivity, USS Mauna Loa was recommissioned for the second time under Capt. Elgin B.Hurlbert's command. This time, the ship had as main purposes the East Coast of the USA, Italy, and then USA again before being decommissioned on January 16, 1958. On November 27, 1961, after another 4 years of inactivity, the ship was recommissioned under Capt. Vernon P. O'Neil's command. Then, it sailed to Bayonne, a port in New Jersey. After 10 years of active service, USS Mauna Loa was finally decommissioned on February 26, 1971. Two major incidents had an impact on this ship: the USS Pennsylvania near-disaster, when a can of gunpowder exploded, and the engine-room fire incident, when the ship caught fire 5 miles from the New York Harbor entrance. For the service brought to the US Navy, Mauna Loa received 3 battle stars.