Statistics and History


This emblem was received in 1970. It's design features a depiction of the raising of the U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, in February 1945, plus symbols representing the ship's mission of ammunition trransporation and delivery. 

Light Displacement: 9758 tons
Full Displacement: 15688 tons full load
Dead Weight: 5930 tons
Overall Length: 511 feet
Waterline Length: 486 feet
Extreme Beam: 72 feet
Waterline Beam: 72 feet
Maximum Navigational Draft: 28 feet
Draft Limit: 29 feet
Speed: Approximately 20 knots
Power Plant: Two boilers, geared turbines, one shaft,
16,000 shaft horsepower
Aircraft: None
Armament: Four three-inch/50-caliber guns
Complement: Officers: 20 - Enlisted: 324
Builders: Bethlehem Steel, Sparrows Point, MD
Launch Date: 2 November 1955
Commission Date: 17 November 1956
Decommission Date: 2 December 1994
Age in years: 38

Home Ports: Earle, New Jersey
Custodian: Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility (NISMF), Philadelphia, PA


Suribachi (AE-21) was laid down on 31 January 1955 at Sparrows Point, Md., by Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard, Inc.; launched on 2 November 1955; sponsored by Mrs. Lemuel C. Shepherd; and commissioned on 17 November 1956, Captain Brooks J. Harral in command. Between commissioning and August of 1957, Suribachi completed fitting out and conducted shakedown training out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In September and October, she participated in three NATO exercises "Seaspray," "Strikeback," and "Pipedown," as flagship for the Underway Replenishment Group. During the following year, she continued to operate along the east coast and in the Caribbean Sea, undergoing a yard overhaul and training at Guantanamo Bay. In November 1958, Suribachi sailed on an extended tour of duty with the 6th Fleet. She cruised the Mediterranean until May 1960, taking time in June 1959 to serve as flagship for Service Squadron 2 during Operation Lantflex. Suribachi deployed to the Mediterranean two more times, from February to August 1961 and from August 1962 until the spring of 1963, before entering the yard of the Maryland Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., at Baltimore, Md., for conversion to a Fast Automatic Shuttle Transfer ammunition ship (AK-FAST). At that time, she was placed in commission, in reserve. In addition to the FAST conversion, Suribachi received a helicopter platform on her fantail enabling her to conduct vertical replenishments for the fleet. On 15 December 1965, the ammunition ship was placed back in full commission at Norfolk, Va., where she continued fitting out until the beginning of February 1966. She then got underway for five weeks of shakedown training in the Caribbean area out of Guantanamo Bay. From mid-March to mid-April, she and Dewey (DLG-14) conducted the operational evaluation of her newly installed FAST system, in the vicinity of Mayport, Fla. In June, she returned to her schedule of 6th Fleet deployments and Atlantic coast Caribbean operations. Between June 1966 and June 13 1972, she made four more Mediterranean cruises, during which she visited many of the interesting ports along the littoral of the "middle sea." Her mission, as always, was to maintain the logistics support for the fleet at a high level of readiness. When not deployed with the 6th Fleet, she returned to operations along the eastern seaboard and trained in the Caribbean On 16 June 1972, Suribachi negotiated the locks of the Panama Canal and joined the Pacific Fleet. Ten days later, she arrived in Pearl Harbor. After an overnight stop, she continued on to the operating area off the coast of South Vietnam. From mid-July 1972 until 8 February 1973, Suribachi rearmed and refueled the combat units of the 7th Fleet. She departed from the combat zone fairly frequently for port periods at Subic Bay in the Philippines and for a visit each to Hong Kong and Sattahip, Thailand. Her periods away from the action zone were brief in every instance, three or four days at most. On 8 February 1973, she entered port at Subic Bay and, on the 16th, sailed for Yokosuka, Japan, en route back to the United States. Following stops there and at Pearl Harbor, Suribachi re-transited the Panama Canal in mid-March and rejoined the Atlantic Fleet. Since returning to the east coast, Suribachi has resumed her old schedule of operations in the western Atlantic-Caribbean area alternated with cruises with the 6th Fleet. She has made one Mediterranean deployment, from January to June 1974, and was operating with the 2d Fleet as of March 1975.
Steve JacobsenonWednesday 31 December 1969 - 18:00:16

 Command Officers

CAPT Brooks J. Harral
17 Nov 56 - 21 Oct 57

CAPT George E. Pierce
21 Oct 57 - 31 Oct 58

CAPT S. J. Gray, Jr 31
Oct 58 - 28 Aug 59

CAPT Robert M. Ware
28 Aug 59 - 27 Aug 60

CAPT James H. Elsom
17 Aug 60 - 19 Aug 61

CAPT F.T. Moore, Jr.
19 Aug 61 - 17 Sep 62

CAPT R. R. Green
17 Sep 62 - 9 Sep 63

CAPT Malcom W. Cagle
9 Sep 63 - 1 Jun 64

LCDR Seth E. Hargrave
1 Jun 64 - 21 Jul 65 

LCDR Walter F. Saubers
21 Jul 65 - 23 Aug 65

CAPT David D. Harris
23 Aug 65 - 24 Mar 67

CAPT B. C. Spell
24 Mar 67 - 25 Apr 68

captain_billie_c_spell.jpg  Captain Billie C. Spell entered the United States Navy in June of 1942. He went to pre- flight and flight training and was commissioned an Ensign and designated a Naval Aviator on 8 June 1943. During World War II Captain Spell participated in the campaigns of Luzon, Leyte, and Iwo Jima. Captain Spell survived the sinking of the USS BISMARK SEA at Iwo Jima~ Captain Spell was one of the few per- sons to witness the raising of the Flag on Mount SURIBACHI at Iwo Jima. Because of this it seems fitting that he assumed command of the USS SURIBACHI (AE-21) on 24 March 1967.

Captain Spell's former assignments have been Commanding Officer Fighter Squadron 114 and Fighter Squadron 112, both based at Naval Air Station, Miramar, California. Captain Spell served as Commanding Officer of the USS SURIBAC HI for the first half of her Cruise to the MED in 1968.

After being relieved as Commanding Officer of SURIBACHI on 25 April 1968 by Captain M. 0. Muncie, Captain Spell and his family moved to his new command with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D.C.

CAPT Maurice O. Muncie
25 Apr 68 - 19 Sep 69

captain_maurice_o_muncie.jpg  Captain M. 0. MUNCIE, a native of Oklahoma, enlisted in the United States Navy in September 1942. He attended the Naval Academy Preparatory School and was admitted to the U. S. Naval Academy in June 1943. Upon graduation in June 1946, he reported to USS DAMATO (DD-871), where he served until December 1948.

From January to June 1949, he attended the U. S. Naval Submarine School. Upon completion of this training, he reported to USS RONQUIL (SS-396) .Succeeding tours of duty include: USS MENHADEN (SS-377) ; Staff, COMSUBRON ONE, USS BUGARA (SS-331) and NROTC Unit, University of Oklahoma.

In July 1956 he reported as Executive Officer, USS BALAO (SS-285) and succeeded to Command of that ship in April 1958. In August 1959, he reported as Commanding Officer, USS SENNET (SS-408). Following a three year tour in the Office of Naval Research, he reported as Executive Officer, USS PL YMOUTH ROCK (LSD-29) and then as Commanding Officer, USS BARTON (DD-722) .

From August 1966 to June 1967 he attended the U. S. Naval War College, and upon graduation, reported as the Officer in Charge , Strategic Analysis Support Group, Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, a field activity directly supporting the Chief of Naval Operations. In April 1968 he assumed Command of USS SURIBACHI (AE-21).

Captain MUNCIE is married to the former Dorothy Jeanne BUCKLEY of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. There are three children.

CAPT Max K. Morris
19 Sep 69 - 14 Jan 71

CAPT Roy E. Goldman
14 Jan 71 - 11 Sep 72

CDR Ronald R. Grove
11 Sep 72 - 13 May 74


1933 - 2005
Commander Ronald Ray Grove was born in Johnstown, PA to Elizabeth Ray Grove and Dwight Eugene Grove of Johnstown, PA. He was a graduate of the University of South Carolina, Naval Postgraduate School, and the Naval War College. Ronald retired from the U.S. Navy as a Commander in 1978. During his naval career he served two tours in Vietnam, one in-country and one as Commanding Officer of the USS Suribachi (AE 21). After retirement from the Navy, he worked at Temple University in Philadelphia prior to his retirement in Milton.

Commander Grove passed away Sunday, August 14, 2005, at Sacred Heart Hospital after a long and courageous battle with lung cancer. He was preceded in death by his parents, Elizabeth Ray Grove and Dwight Eugene Grove of Johnstown, PA. He is survived by his wife, Anne Cooper Grove, of Milton, FL and his son, Stephen Ray Grove (Wanda), of Smithfield, VA. He has two grandchildren, Madeline Ray Grove (8) and Joshua Paul Grove (4). Ronald has three brothers, Paul Grove, of Crossville, TN and William Grove and Gary Grove of Johnstown, PA.

Funeral Services for Commander Grove will be at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 1, 2005 at the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

The family would especially like to thank the doctors, nurses and associates at Sacred Heart Hospital for their care, kindness and support. He was loved and cherished by his family.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Disabled American Veterans' Memorial Program P.O. Box 14301 Cincinnati, Ohio 45250 or www.DAV.org.

CDR E. A. Brewton
13 May 74 - 10 Sep 76

CDR Edward T. Lynch, Jr.
18 Sep 76 - 30 Oct 78 

edward_t_lynch.jpg  Commander LYNCH was born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, on April 20, 1939. He
 was commis­sioned as Ensign upon graduation from the Massachusetts Maritime
 Academy in August, 1960.

His first tour of duty in the Navy was aboard the USS MULIPHEN (AKA-61), where
he served as Navigator. Following MULIPHEN, Commander LYNCH attended the U. S. Naval Destroyer School at Newport, R. I. Upon graduation with class 4, he
reported to the USS HUGH PURVIS (DD-709), as Engineer Officer. Following a tour
of duty as a Company Officer, at the U. S. Naval Officer Candidate School, he
served as Senior Advisor, Coastal Group 28 (Junk Force) in Vietnam. He then
served as Executive Officer aboard USS HARTLEY (DE-1029), from July 1968-June 1970.

Following a tour as a student at the U. S. Naval Postgraduate School, Commander
LYNCH reported to the USS PAWCATUCK (AO-108), as Executive Officer. For the past two years he has served as Force Operations Officer for Commander
Service Force Sixth Fleet/CTF-63.

In addition to campaign medals, Commander LYNCH holds the Combat Action Ribbon, Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Vietnamese Honor Medal (1st class).

Commander LYNCH is married to the former Carol Ann SARNO, also from Marblehead.
They have a son, Timothy, and a daughter, Toni Elizabeth. He assumed command of the USS SURIBACHI (AE-21) on 10 September 1976.

CDR Thomas J. Lynch
30 Oct 78 - 7 Oct 80

CAPT Jerome T. Murphy
7 Oct 80 - 29 Nov 82

CDR S. P. Duermeyer
29 Nov 82 - 7 Jun 85

CDR W. J. Hanratty
7 Jun 85 - 22 May 87

CDR Ronnie L. Barrow
22 May 87 - 29 Jul 89

CDR Jon C. Peters
19 Jul 89 - 12 Jul 91

CDR Louis P. Dasaro
12 Jul 91 - 12 Mar 93

CDR Phil Kasky
12 Mar 93 - 2 Dec 94
Steve JacobsenonWednesday 31 December 1969 - 18:00:16

 All Hands magazine September 1982 Fire Truck for Salerno, Italy

Here is a copy of the article that appeared in All Hands magazine in Sept 1982 about the fire truck we reburbished and donated to the city of Salerno, Italy. Some additional photos are in the 81-82 cruise book.
Submitted by Bradley Stenstrom

Steve JacobsenonWednesday 31 December 1969 - 18:00:16

 New Pictures

Thanks to Brad Stenstrom for sending a scan of his 81-82 cruise book and more pictures from his personal collection.
Submitted by Steve Jacobsen
Steve JacobsenonWednesday 31 December 1969 - 18:00:16

 Bachi Sailor Heros

Two Sailors Recognized for Heroism in Saving Shipmates COLTS NECK, N.J. (NNS)

 -- Two sailors were recognized for heroism after saving the lives of their shipmates when a civilian owned and operated bus went off one of the piers and into the water at Naval Weapons Station Earle's Leonardo Facility. The accident claimed the lives of three sailors May 26.

After the bus careened off the pier into Sandy Hock Bay, Seaman Recruit Michael Manuel, a USS Detroit (AOE 4) crew member, noticed the front windows of the bus had broken. As the bus filled with water, he maneuvered to the front of the bus and directed other passengers to move forward. Manuel then broke out several additional windows, pushing two of his shipmates out of the bus. Using only a three-quarter-inch air pocket at the top of the bus for survival, Manuel fractured his hand while attempting to push out vents in the roof to provide an escape route. Finally, he kicked out the vents and pushed the remainder of the passengers to the top of the bus where they could stand with their heads above water. As Manuel took charge of gathering survivors, he noticed one individual floating in the water and pulled him to safety. He then moved the survivors near a trestle and directed another sailor to climb a pylon to seek help. For his prompt and heroic action in the life-threatening situation, Manuel was presented the Navy-Marine Corps Medal by RADM William E. Terry, Commander, Combat Logistics Group Two, on board USS Detroit June 2.

After responding to a call for assistance, Gunner's Mate 1st Class Verlin W. Allen, a USS Suribachi (AE 21) crew member, directed the placement of a ladder over the right side of the pier to assist survivors of the accident from the water. Disregarding his own safety, he climbed down the ladder into the water and assisted five survivors. Allen then swam over to an individual who had suffered apparent leg, back and neck injuries. Bracing himself between a barnacle-encrusted pylon and cross member, Allen supported the injured survivor and prevented him from drowning in the cold water. He continued supporting the injured man for more than 30 minutes, until a small boat maneuvered to the scene and picked up the victim.

For saving the life of a shipmate through the complete disregard of his own live and well being, Allen was presented the Navy Commendation Medal by RADM Terry June 2 on board USS Suribachi. USS Detroit and USS Suribachi are homeported at Naval Weapons Station Earle, Leonardo, N.J. Story by Naval Weapons Station Earle Public Affairs
Steve JacobsenonWednesday 31 December 1969 - 18:00:16

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