Home      SHIP HISTORY
      Name:                          USS SanPablo (AVP 30)
      Namesake:                    San pablo Bay near San Francisco CA
      Builder:                         Associated Shipbuilders, Seattle WA
      Laid down:                     2 July 1941
      Launched:                      31 March 1942
      Sponsored by:                 Mrs. W. A. Hall
      Commossioned:              15 March 1943
      Recommissioned:            17 September 1948
      Decommissioned:            13 January 1947 (first time)
                                           29 May 1969 (second and final time)
      Reclassified:                   Hydrographic Survey ship, 1948
                                           Redesignated AGS-30       25 August 1949
      Armament:                     As built:
                                                2x  Single 5" 38 Cal dual purpose gun mount
                                                8x  40mm antiaircraft guns
                                                2x  deph charge racks
                                             Disarmed 1950's
      Aviation facilities:            As seaplane tender:  Supplies, Spare parts,
                                              repairs, and birthing for one seaplane squadren:
                                              80,000 U.S. gallons (302,833 liters) aviation fuel
The Navy expansion program called for many units of all classes of ships.  Among those authorized by Congress in a bill, passed on 16 December 1940, was the USS San Pablo, known at that time as AVP-30.  A number of sister ships were authorized in the bill and all were subsequently named for small bays or inlets along the coast of the United States.  San Pablo Bay, from which AVP-30 received her name, is a small, shallow body of water in the northern end of San Francisco Bay.
A contract for four of the AVP's went to Associated Shipbuilders Co. of Seattle Washington whose yards were located on Harbor Island.  The keel for AVP-30 was laid in number two graving dock on 1 July 1941, and the ship was subsequently known as Hull 30 throughout the shipyard.  This being one of the first ships built by this company, work progressed slowly, and it was not until 31 March 1942, that Hull 30 was ready to be launched.  On this date, Hull 30 was christened "USS San Pablo", by Mrs. J.W. Hull, wife of a retired Naval Officer.  Following the launching the hull was moored to a nearby dock for fitting out.  Ens. S.H. Smith(SC), USN, who arrived in the latter part of May 1942, was the first officer to report for duty in connection with the outfitting of the USS San Pablo.  In June and July several members of the crew and more officers reported.  By the first of October, the nucleus was well formed and the training of personnel began in earnest.  Each week brought new additions to the complement.  All were assigned duties to familiarize them with the ship and to see that inspections and tests were in accordance with the Bureau of Ships specifications.  Work on the ship progressed steadily and in February 1943 two trial runs were made in Puget Sound.  On 10 March 1943, the acceptance tests were held with the representatives of the Bureau of Ships on board.  The commissioning date was set for 15 March 1943.
At 1105 on 15 March 1943, Captain H.K. Stubbs, USN, accepted the USS San Pablo from the builders and placed her in commission.  Commander R.R. Darron, USN, assumed command in accordance with his orders from the Bureau of Naval Personnel and the watch was set at 1113.  On 16 March 1943 at 0852, the USS San Pablo got underway for Manchester, Washington, to fill and test the gasoline system.  The ship got underway at 0950 on 17 March 1943 for the Puget Sound Navy Yard where stores were loaded and the radar and sound gear installed.  At 0730 on 1 April 1943, the ship got underway and took departure from Puget Sound Navy Yard.  The period from 1 April 1943 to 13 April 1943 was spent in making degausing runs, structural firing tests, measured mile runs, loading stores, fuel and gasoline, and calibrating the various navigation instruments.  On 5 April 1943 the ship moored overnight at the Naval Air Station, Whitby Island, to familiarize the crew with patrol type aircraft.  At 1133 on 13 April 1943, the ship got underway from pier forty-one, Seattle, Washington for San Diego, California.
The ship arrived at Destroyer Base, San Diego, at 0826 on 17 April 1943.  On 20 April, while manuevering along side the dock at Destroyer Base, the ship ran aground causing massive damage to the rudder.  In removing the rudder, the yard workmen started a fire which was extinguished before any further damage occurred.
On 18 May 1943, while manuevering to moor to buoy number 26 in the channel, the ship struck buoy number 28 aft on the starboard side.  The starboard screw struck one of the buoy anchor chains bending the tip of one blade and tearing another at the rid.  The starboard screw was replaced with a new one and the training cntinued.
Commander Darron, USN, was relieved of command and replaced by Commander Dunlap, USN, as commanding officer on 15 May 1943.  The San Pablo remained in San Diego except for training cruises of short duration.  The ship completed a thorough training course of anti-submarine warfare, fired both day and night battle practice, thoroughly trained trained all gun crews at Pacific Beach, acted as plane guard for the USS Prince William, a light aircraft carrier, in checking out flight personnel, and practiced other drills in preparation for operating as a seaplane tender.
The last two weeks in San Diego were spent loading stores, making final machinery repairs, and renewing all cold storage insulation.  Forty tons of lead was put into the  port bilge  to compensate for an inherient list to starboard.
On 15 June 1943 at 0600 the San Pablo departed San Diego for Pearl Harbor acting as a screen for the Prince William.  The ship arrived in Pearl Harbor on June 21 1943 after an uneventful voyage.  Several SONAR contacts proved negative.  Cold storage repairs continued at the navy yard.  On 23 June 1943 thirty pilots from Airgroup 12 and one hundred forty-three marines reported for transportation to Espiritu Santo and Noumea. The San Pablo left Pearl Harbor on 24 June 1943 in company with the  USS Southard, USS Montgomery, USS Prince William, and HMS Athene, for Espiritu Santo.
The San Pablo acted as rear screen for this voyage which was highlighted by a Class "A" fire in the uptakes on 28 June 1943.  No severe damage resulted from the fire and there were no injuries to personnel.  On the same day the ship crossed the equator and all polywogs including the Captain, were properly initiated by the shellbacks into the ancient order of the deep.  The ship arrived in Espiritu Santo on 5 July 1943.
At Espiritu Santo San Pablo unloaded the marines and considerable deck cargo; then proceeded, acting as escort to SS Rice, to Noumea, New Caledonia.  Upon arrival there on 10 July 1943, the pilots of Airgroup 12 disembarked.  On 14 July 1943 she went with the USS Fomalhaut, USS Coroli, and the USS Gushing Eels, to Brisbane Austrailia to pick up more flight crews and aviation supplies, including spare parts and fuel of Patrol Squadron VP-101; then returned to Noumea to commence operations as a seaplane tender and base for "Black-Cat (night fighting, air search, and reconnaissance) PBM's and PBY's.
With VP-101 and assigned crash boats, San Pablo formed Task Group 73.1 and established their seaplane base by charting the bay, setting out mooring and markers buoys, and constructing quarters for squadron personnel at near by Honey Hollow.  They also built an advanced base  at Samarai, Papua, New Guinea.  For the next several months the "Black  Cats" operated from these bases, preying on enemy shipping along the coasts of New Guinea, New Briain, New Ireland, and in the Bismark Sea.  They inflicted great losses on inter-island barge traffic as well as heavy shipping; harrassed enemy troops with night bombing and strafing missions; conducted photographic intelligence operations; provided at-sea search and rescue support for downed Army fliers and sailors of sunken vessels; and carried high ranking officers, friendly coast watchers, and native guerrila units.
While continuously on the alert for enemy air attack, San Pablo sailors worked around the clock to fuel, repair, arm, and control the seaplanes; and to feed and care for their crews.  On 9 December 1943, she was relieved by Half Moon (AVP-26) and sailed to Brisbane for long needed repairs, replenishment, and shore leave.  She returned to Noumea on 20 December 1943 and resumed operations with VP-52.  During January 1944, she gave direct support to the force which occupied Finschafen, New Guinea, and helped to establish a new advanced base at Langemak Bay.  At times, she also tended the planes of VP-34, then flying rescue missions for the 5th AAF from Port Moresby.  She once temporily based two OS2U scout planes from the USS Boise (CL-47).
From Langemak Bay, San Pablo's planes helped prevent the Japanese from supplying garrisons at Rabaul and Kavieng.  On 25 February 1944, relieved again by Half Moon, San Pablo returned to Noumea for repairs along side USS Dobbin (AO-3).  During the work she assisted in removing a screw from USS Aron Ward (DM-34) using her seaplane winch.  This speeded up repairs to the destroyer-minelayer and allowed her to reach Ulithi in time to prepare for the forthcoming Okinawa campaign.
By 24 March 1944 San Pablo was conducting operations at Seedler Harbor, Admiralty  Islands, with VP-33 and VP-52 planes.  They carried out night bombing missions in the Carolines and search flights by day.  The pace quickened by the end of March so that USS Tangier (AV-8) was brought in to help carry the load.  On 13 May 1944, they moved to Hollandia to patrol approaches to Wake Island prior to allied landings there.  Relieved by USS Orca (AVP-49) San Pablo then refueled PT Boats at Humboldt Bay, New Guinea, and transported personnel and cargo between Manus Island, Seedler Harbor, Emirau, and Mios Woendi.  On 19 August 1944, she commenced ASW operations off Morotai and Hollandia.  Later relieved by USS San Carlos (AVP-51), she moved to Anibongon Bay, Leyte, to support planes conducting search missions in the Philippines.
On 8 December 1944, San Pablo received survivors of USS Mahan (DD-364) who had been picked up by one of her PBM's after that destroyer had suffered three kamikaze hits and sank in Ormac bay.  She then joined a convoy enroute to Mindoro and came under severe attack by suicide planes for three consecutive days.  Most of the kamakazes were beaten off by AA fire from the convoy screen and CAP planes.  However, one hit an ammunition ship which completely disintegrated in a tremendous explosion, and another crashed into a Liberty ship and caused severe damage.  On 30 December 1944 at Mindoro, a "Val" passed astern and barely missed the San  Pablo and crashed into USS Orestes (AGP-10), wounding four San Pablo men with shrapnel.  On the 31st, a Betty bombed nearby USS Porcupine (IX-126) and then crashed into USS Gansevoort (DD-608).  Through January and early February 1945, San Pablo made search missions in the South China Sea and along the China coasts with VP-25 and VP-33 squadrons.  On 13 February 1945, she was relieved by USS Tangier and returned to Leyte.
Through April 1945, she escorted USS LST-777, USS Chestateer (AOG-49), and various merchant transports between Leyte and Palawan.  She then steamed, via Morotai, to Manus.  At the end of June 1945, she moved to Samar and the Lingayen Gulf area for air search and rescue operations in the South China Sea- Formosa area. These lasted until 15 August 1945 when she received orders to cease offensive operations.  On 2 September 1945, the day of Japan's formal surrender ceremony, San Pablo was in Lingayen Gulf providing ASW patrols to cover occupation convoys bound for Japan.
San Pablo returned to Bremerton, Washington on 17 November 1945 to prepare for deactivation.  She moved to Alameda, California on 25 March 1946 and remained idle until placed out of commission, in reserve, on 13 January 1947.
Following conversion to a hydrographic survey vessel, San Pablo was recommissioned on 17 September 1948 at San Francisco, commander T.E. Chambers USN in command.  She conducted shakedown training at San Diego from 29 October to 15 November 1948 and was ordered to report the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.  San Pablo reached Portsmouth, Virginia on 14 December 1948 and completed outfitting prior to sailing on 3 February 1949, in company with USS Rehobeth (AVP-50) for oceanographic work in the western approaches to the Mediterranean.  Calling at Ponta Delgads, Azores; Plymouth, England; Gibralter; and Bermuda; she returned to Philadelphia on 18 April 1949.  During the remainder of the year, she conducted two similar cruises to survey and measure ocean currents; and , during the last, made a study of the North Atlantic Drift.  She included in her ports of call Scapa Flo; the Orkney Islands; Oslo, Norway; and Copenhagen, Denmark.  San Pablo was redesignated AGS-30, effective 25 August 1949.
Beginning 18 January 1950, she conducted a survey of the Gulf Stream; and from 5 to 26 June 1950, served as Survey Headquarters Ship for a group of American and Canadian ships engaged in a broad coverage behavioral studies of that massive current.  After a cruise to Casablanca, French Morroco, in July and August 1950 she returned to the east coast of the United States to conduct survey operations between New London and Key West for the remainder of the year.
During 1951, San Pablo conducted oceanographic studies during various cruises, ranging from Scotland to the Mediterranean and along the coast on Narragansett Bay operating area. Her tasks included making accurate profile studies of the ocean bottom for the purpose of evaluating new sonar devices.
In 1952, she spent the majority of her time in the North Atlantic, and devoted the latter part of the year to training operations out of Norfolk.
From 1953 through 1968, San Pablo alternated between the North Atlantic and the Caribbean conducting studies on Salinity, sound reflectivity, underwater photography techniques, deep bottom core sampling, bottom profile mapping, subsurface wave phenomena, and other topics still classified.  For several months during 1965, she utilized the port and docking facilities at Rosyth, Scotland, as a tempory home port, courtesy of the British Royal Navy.
From 1 January to 29 May 1969, she underwent inactivation at Philadelphia. San Pablo was decommissioned on 29 May 1969 and struck from the Navy list on 1 June 1969.  After being used by the Ocean Science Center of the Atlantic Commission, Savannah, Georgia, she was sold on 14 September 1971 to Mrs. Margo Zahardis of Vancouver, Washington.
San Pablo earned four battle stars for World War II service.