by: Jim Adams [ ]
The idea of a single combat stores ship originated with Admiral Arleigh Burke . He had seen the problems caused by limited supplies on warships as well as limited speed and range of supply ships. The Sacramento Class AOE combines three classes of ship into one ship, fleet oiler (AO), ammunition ship (AE), and refrigerated stores ship (AFS).
AOE1 was the third ship in the US Navy to be named for both the Sacramento River and the Capital of California. She was built at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington from June 1961 to March 1964. During the commissioning ceremony the then Undersecretary of the Navy, Paul B. Fay Jr., addressed the crowd, stating, "The greatest pleasure I have in being here today is ... participating in the commissioning of a vessel which will provide the Navy with a unique capability hitherto never contained in one ship." He added the ship would be able to "run in speed with a destroyer escort, thereby giving our fast attack carrier task forces a flexibility of action hitherto unknown."
She was built using the propulsion plant intended for USS Kentucky, BB66. Only the Iowa Class BB's and air craft carriers had a greater displacement. She was called a floating supermarket because she carried so many stores. She is also considered the fastest combat stores ship in history. She routinely her west coast counter parts Camden (AOE-2) and the Rainier (AOE-7). She also beat both east coast ships in head to head competition.
Sacramento took part on the Vietnam War, "Operation Southern Watch" and in "Operation Vigilant Sentinel".
In 1996 the Sacramento had one Nato Sea Sparrow launcher on the forecastle, two Phalanx CIWS past mid-ship port and starboard, one 25 mm automatic cannon on the port side, and four .50 machine guns; two port and two starboard. The ship was also fitted with electronic warfare equipment; a AN/SLQ-32 with four MK.36 super-RBOC (Rapid Bloom Offboard Chaff) decoys, and an electronics technician ran AN/SLQ-25 towed torpedo decoy (NIXIE).
In October 2004 Sacramento was decommissioned after 40 years of service. She is currently undergoing scrapping in Brownsville Tx.
Displacement: 18,884 long tons (19,187 t) light
54,000 long tons (54,867 t) full
Length: 796 ft (243 m) Beam: 107 ft (33 m) Draft: 38 ft (12 m)
Propulsion: 2 × steam turbines, 2 × shafts, 100,000 shp (75 MW)
Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Capacity: Fuel Oil: 5.2 million gallons
Aviation fuel (JP-5): 2.7 million gallons
Complement: 34 officers and 602 enlisted
Armament: • 2 × 20 mm Phalanx CIWS Mark 15 guns
• 1 × 8 cell NATO Sea Sparrow Mark 29 missile launcher
• 1 × 25 mm automatic cannon
• 4 × .50 caliber machine guns
Aircraft carried: 2 × CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters
The kit comes to you in a typical lidded box featuring the Sacramento coming along side getting ready for an Unrep. She even has her Bravo flag flying. In the background is one of the "Tall Ladies" hinting the age could be back during the Vietnam conflict.
In side you find all the sprues wrapped up and ready to go.
The hull is split at the waterline. The lower hull is molded in red, while the upper is molded in gray. The upper hull has the forward hurricane bow, side details, and fantail details. The opening for the the towed nixie decoy is included. This is odd since the nixie was not added until 1996 and the weapons set is much earlier.
There is also a waterline plate included molded in red. To me the waterline split seems too high. Having gone along side many times with an East Coast sister I remember always seeing the boot out of the water. So, if you want to make her a waterline you will have to build her as a full hull and cut down from there. You would have to do this anyway to replicate her Unrepping. More than once I saw red while taking on F76 and JP5, fuel that is.
Openings in the hurricane bow need to be opened. The main deck did fit flush with the upper hull. The deck under the flight deck is missing. Either leave it empty or add, it is up to you.
The main deck is molded in one large piece. The flight deck has recessed marking lines. Two post bollards are molded along both sides leading to the front. Up front you will find the chains molded on.
The ships stack is molded in three parts, so watch the seams. The shafts and screws are here as well. However, the screws should be 6 bladed, not 5! The fork lift is here as well. Nice little add to the kit, but it is very basic.
Superstructure parts found here will start taking you up to the 01 level. The bridge face look nice. Part B6 is going to be tough to assembly. It is long and thin.
Fueling deck details and one of the ships boats. The boat is basic. Other bulkheads present have life rings molded on them.
The very long sides of the 01 level are on this sprue. Gluing these to B6 is going to be tough, take your time. They do have nice molded on details, drain pipes, life rings, hoses, ladders, and water tight doors. You also get the name plate fro the ship, which is basic.
There are two of these. You find winches, guns, rubbers, and other small items. The rudders are basic as is the boat found here. The winches look nice and should look nice when placed on the deck. The guns are decent looking, just take care removing them.
More small parts including motor whale boats and davits. Nothing really special as far as detail on these.
Inside you will find one small fret of PE. Included on this are nets for the helo deck, ships radar, cranes, and cage for the folk lift. The etch looks nice and should help make those fine parts stand out better than their plastic counter parts.
One small sheet of decals is supplied. Flight deck markings, hull numbers, ensigns, and markings for the helo are what you are given. There is only one set of hull numbers and one ship name, so you will have to either wait until your AOE is released, or make your own.
Two CH-46 Chinooks come on clear sprues. Be careful working with these. The rotors are also made of clear plastic, PE would have been better. The Airframe does look correct and has recessed panel lines.
The instructions come in a 12 page booklet. They take the builder through a logical order from hull, superstructure, and finally the end. The booklet is easy to follow and should pose no problem for a novice builder as they tackle this ship.
Here is something I have always liked about trumpeter kits. The painting guide is in color. Red is red and gray is gray. This give the builder a better idea of exactly what is what. You also get 5 different options for brands of paints, Mr Hobby, Vallejo, Tamiya, Model Master, and Humbrol. This is good to see. I know my paint inventory has different brands, so knowing the correct numbers for multiple brands is good.
AOEs are not glamorous by any stretch. But, they are needed for the fleet. Without replenishment ships the fleet would run out of food, fuel, and firepower.
During my time in the Navy we spent a good deal of time sailing a hundred feet away from one of the East Coast AOE1 class. Most of the time every three days we pulled along side and spent 45 minutes to an hour taking fuel. Then every 6 weeks or so we had an E5 and below working party to bring on food.
So it is great to have a kit of this class of ship. I was a little disappointed that the ship is depicted in an older fit out. Maybe this will be corrected on the other ships in the class.
The area under the flight deck is empty, so a super detailer will want to fill this in. It really is not all that noticeable. Also there is only one set of hull numbers in the kit, so to build another ship in the class you will have to wait for it to be released.
There are no unrep hoses.