World Aircraft Carriers List: Misellaneous US Aviation Vessels

Revised 4 Oct 1999
Version 2.01
Compiled and Maintained by: Andrew Toppan
World Aircraft Carrier Lists Main Page:

Wright (AZ 1) (airship tender)
Patoka (AO 9) (airship tender)
Wolverine (IX 64) (auxiliary training carrier)
Sable (IX 81) (auxiliary training carrier)
IX 514 (auxiliary helicopter training craft)
Sentry Class (aerostat carriers)
Atlantic Sentry (SBA 1)
Caribbean Sentry (SBA 2)
Gulf Sentry (SBA 3)
Pacific Sentry (SBA 4)
Windward Sentry (SBA 5)

Wright airship tender

Displacement: 11,500 tons full load
Dimensions: 448 x 58 x 23.5 feet/136.5 x 17.7 x 7.2 meters
Propulsion: Steam turbines, 6 boilers, 1 shafts, 6000 hp, 15 knots
Crew: 288
Armor: none
Armament: 2 5/51 SP, 2 3/50 AA, 2 MG
Aircraft: 1 balloon
Concept/Program: Freighter hull converted to serve as a tender to airships and balloons, although she spent much of her career as a seaplane tender.

Class: Originally a "Hog Island" freighter.

Design/Conversion: Conversion included multiple booms for hoisting aircraft and supplies, and a "balloon well" for her kite balloon aft. There were extensive shop facilities and evidently a considerable cargo capacity. She did not have an airship mooring mast.

Classification: Classed as an airship tender (AZ), and was the only ship to use the "Z" (airship) designator.

Operational: From the start she was frequently used as a tender to flying boats and seaplanes, and also served as a general-purpose auxiliary in roles such as command, salvage, disaster relief and transport.

Departure from Service/Disposal: In 1926 she was fully converted to the seaplane tender role she had assumed since completion.

ex merchant Wright
AZ 1 - AV 1 - AG 79
Photos: [Wright as AZ 1], [Wright as AV 1].

DANFS History

Built by American International Shipbuilding Corp. at Hog Island, PA. Laid down 1919, launched 28 April 1920. Transferred to the Navy and conversion started 6/1920; converted at Tietjen & Lang, Hoboken. Designated AZ 1 17 July 1920, commissioned 16 December 1921.

Operated as a combination balloon-seaplane tender until mid-1922, when the balloon was transferred ashore. Ship then operated as a seaplane tender and participated in many fleet exercises to examine possible naval roles for aircraft.

Redesignated as seaplane tender AV 1 11 November 1923. Fully converted to a seaplane tender 7/1926 to 12/1916 at Norfolk Navy Yard. Conversion included removal of balloon well and fitting of additional aircraft hoisting booms. During the 1920's she saw extensive service along the US east coast, including the salvage of the submarine S-4, hurricane relief, troop transport, etc. Served in the Pacific during the 1930's and into WWII.

Shortly before WWII she assisted in the establishment of several advance bases in the Pacific. Early in the war she was used as a transport to supply and support various bases, especially those around Hawaii. From mid-1942 on she again served as a seaplane tender.

Reclassified as a miscellaneous auxiliary (AG 79) 1 October 1944 and served as a headquarters ship for Pacific service forces. Renamed San Clemente 3 February 1945. Immediately postwar served as an occupation headquarters ship.

Decommissioned 21 June 1946, stricken for disposal 1 July 1946. Transferred to the Maritime Commission for disposal 21 September 1946. Sold 19 August 1948 and subsequently scrapped.

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Patoka airship tender

Displacement: approx. 16,000 tons
Dimensions: approx. 418 x 60 x 26 feet/127.4 x 18.3 x 7.9 meters
Propulsion: VTE engines, 2 shafts, 5,200 shp, 14 knots
Crew: unknown
Armor: none
Armament: unknown
Aircraft: mooring mast for 1 airship, 3 seaplanes & seaplane working deck

Concept/Program: Early fleet oiler converted to serve as tender for large rigid airships. In addition to airship support duties, she was outfitted to carry seaplanes, much like contemporary battleships and cruisers. She probably was not meant to serve as a seaplane tender.

Design/Conversion: A large mooring mast for airships was fitted aft. Repair shops, spares storage, etc. were provided as needed to support airships. A seaplane working deck, hoisting boom and storage area were fitted forward of the mooring mast.

Modifications: Believed none while in service as an airship tender.

Classification: Never redesignated as an airship tender (AZ), operating instead with her fleet oiler (AO) classification. Very briefly reclassified as a seaplane tender (AV), but saw no aviation service during this period, and soon was reclassified as an oiler.

Operational: Saw extensive service in support of airships from 1924 to 1933.

Departure from Service/Disposal: Decommissioned in 1933 as the US airship program began to wind down. Recommissioned in 1939 and redesignated as a seaplane tender, but during her only cruise under this designation she operated as a tanker. It is possible that she had been planned for a more complete conversion to the seaplane tender role, but such a conversion was never carried out. Reclassified back to an oiler in 1940; operated as a tanker until WWII, then as a station ship, and finally as a minesweeper support ship.

AO 9 - AV 6 - AO 9 - AG 125
Photos: [As airship tender, with airship Shenandoah], [Another view as an airship tender], [Third view as an airship tender],

DANFS History

Built by Newport News under a non-naval government contract. Laid down 17 December 1918, launched 26 July 1919, acquired by USN 3 September 1919, commissioned 13 October 1919. Operated as a transport tanker and oiler.

Converted to a airship tender at Norfolk Navy Yard early 1924 through 7/1924. Supported airships Shenandoah and Los Angeles until Shenandoah crashed in 1925 and Los Angeles decommissioned 1932. Decommissioned to reserve 31 August 1933.

Redesignated AV 6 11 October 1939 and recommissioned 10 November 1939. Did not undertake aviation duties; made one voyage from Puget Sound to Norfolk (acting as a tanker), then reclassified back to AO 9 19 June 1940. Operated as transport tanker prior to WWII, then as a general-purpose station ship at Recife, Brazil from mid-1941 to April 1943; provided general support supply and tender services. Miscellaneous duties April 1943 to April 1944, then transferred to the Pacific as a minesweeper tender. Redesignated AG 125 15 August 1945.

Supported postwar minesweeping efforts through early 1946. Decommissioned 1 July 1946, stricken for disposal 31 July 1946. Sold 15 March 1948 and scrapped in 1949.

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Wolverine auxiliary training aircraft carrier

Displacement: 7,200 tons standard
Dimensions: 484 x 58 x 15.5 feet/147.5 x 17.7 x 4.7 meters
Extreme Dimensions: 500 x 98 x 15.5 feet/152.4 x 29.8 x 4.7 meters
Propulsion: Inclined compound reciprocating engines, 4 boilers, 2 sidewheels, 8000 hp, 16 knots
Crew: 270
Armor: none
Armament: none
Aircraft: none

Concept/Program: Great Lakes sidewheel steamer converted to serve as a training carrier. This was a purely non-combat auxiliary carrier meant to reduce the need to use fleet carriers for training, especially early in the war.

Design/Conversion: Conversion involved demolition of the original superstructure and upperworks of the ship and fitting a large flight deck. A minimal island was installed, and the boilers uptakes were trunked through the island. The flight deck had very large overhangs at both bow and stern. There was no hangar, no aircraft support, maintenance facilities, no armament or radar, no armor, no catapults, etc. May have been fitted with a small aircraft fuel tank, for emergency refuelling use.

Modifications: None.

Classification: Classified as an "unclassified miscellaneous", IX 64.

Operational: Operated in the Great Lakes as a training carrier throughout the war.

Departure from Service/Disposal: Discarded and scrapped immediately following the end of hostilities.

ex merchant Seeandbee
IX 64
Photos: [Seeandbee]. [Wolverine].

DANFS History

Built by Detroit Shipbuilding. Launched 9 Nov 1912. Acquired by USN 12 March 1942, converted at American Shipbuilding, Buffalo, commissioned12 Aug 1942.

Decommissioned 7 Nov 1945, stricken for disposal 26 Nov 1945.

Sold and scrapped at Cleveland in 1947.

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Sable auxiliary training aircraft carrier

Displacement: 8000 tons standard
Dimensions: 519 x 58 x 15.5 feet/158.2 x 17.7 x 4.7 meters
Extreme Dimensions: 535 x 90 x 15.5 feet/163 x 27.4 x 4.7 meters
Propulsion: Inclined compound reciprocating engines, 4 boilers, 2 sidewheels, 10,500 hp, 18 knots
Crew: 300
Armor: none
Armament: none
Aircraft: none

Concept/Program: A second auxiliary training carrier converted for service on the Great Lakes. Generally similar to Wolverine, and all notes for that ship apply here.

ex merchant Greater Buffalo
IX 81
Photos: [Greater Buffalo]. [Sable].

DANFS History

Built by American Shipbuilding. Laid down ??? launched 27 Oct 1923, completed ???. Acquired by USN 7 Aug 1942, converted at American Shipbuilding, Buffalo, commissioned 8 March 1943.

Decommissioned 7 Nov 1945, stricken for disposal 26 Nov 1945. Sold and scrapped in 1948.

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IX 514 auxiliary helicopter training craft

Displacement: 380 tons full load
Dimensions: 125 x 36 x 7.5 feet/38 x 11 x 2.3 meters
Propulsion: 2 GM 6-71 diesels, 2 shafts, 1000 hp, 8 knots
Crew: ???
Armor: none
Armament: none
Aircraft: none

Concept/Program: Utility craft converted as small helicopter training ship.

Design/Conversion: Harbor utility craft (YFU) converted with small bridge superstructure forward, small helicopter platform aft. No aircraft storage, maintenance, or fueling facilities.

Operational: Operates in the Gulf Of Mexico.

No name
YFU 79 - IX 514
Photos: [IX 514].

Built by Pacific Coast Engineering, completed as YFU 1968. Converted 1985-1986. Redesignated IX 514 and placed in service 31 March 1986.

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Sentry class aerostat carriers

Displacement: 1,800-2,000 tons full load
Dimensions: 192 x 40-44 x 14-15 feet/58.4 x 12.2-13.3 x 4.3-4.6 meters
Propulsion: 2 diesels, 2,500-3,900 bhp, 2 shafts, 12 knots
Crew: 10 civilian plus 9 military
Armor: none
Armament: none
Aircraft: 1 aerostat

Concept/Program: Commercial oilfield support tugs converted to aerostat carriers. Each carries and supports one tethered aerostat; aerostats are equipped with a surveillance radar. Intended to act as the seaborne leg of an anti-narcotics aerostat patrol line across the southern approaches to the US. The program was initially under the Coast Guard, but the ships were operated by a civilian contractor. In 1991 Congress directed that the program be transferred to the Army, which took place on 31 December 1991. The Army discontinued the program in 1994 and the ships returned to commercial service.

Class: Officially in three separate classes, but are all are very similar.

Design/Conversion: Converted from standard oilfield supply tugs. A large superstructure block containing berthing and command spaces is carried in the forward part of the original working deck. The aerostat recovery gantry is fitted at the extreme stern.

Variations: Details vary.

Classification: Identified by the unofficial designation SBA.

Departure from Service/Disposal: All laid up since 1992.

Atlantic Sentry
ex commercial Liberator, ex Mark Briley
Photos: [No photo available]

Built by McDermott Shipyard. Completed 1979. Acquired for conversion 10 Jan 1989, conversion at Halter Marine completed 11/1989.

Decommissioned August 1994.

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Caribbean Sentry
ex commercial Juniata Candies
Photos: [Caribbean Sentry]

Built by Halter Marine. Completed 1987. Conversion at Halter Marine completed 20 Dec 1988.

Decommissioned August 1994.

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Gulf Sentry
ex commercial Asley Candies
Photos: [No photo available]

Built by Halter Marine. Completed 1984. Conversion at Halter Marine completed 30 Dec 1988.

Decommissioned August 1994.

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Pacific Sentry
ex commercial Agnes Candies
Photos: [No photo available]

Built by Halter Marine. Completed 1983. Conversion at Halter Marine completed 6 March 1989.

Decommissioned August 1994.

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Windward Sentry
ex commercial
Photos: [No photo available]

Built by Steiner Marine. Completed 1986. Conversion at Halter Marine completed 4/1987.

Decommissioned August 1994.

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The World Aircraft Carrier Lists
Compiled and Maintained by Andrew Toppan (
Copyright © 1995-2003 by Andrew Toppan
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