Built for the Military Sealift Command, the ship entered service as USNS SEA LIFT (T-LSV 9) on May 19, 1967. Redesignated T-AKR 9 on August 14, 1969, the ship was renamed METEOR on September 12, 1975. 10 years later, in September 1985, the METEOR was transfered to the MARAD Ready Reserve Force and was berthed at Alameda, Calif., capable of being fully activated within 10 days. The MARAD transfer also caused the loss of METEOR’s USNS designation. On July 28, 2006, she was downgraded from the Ready Reserve Force to the National Defense Reserve Fleet and her berth was shifted to Suisun Bay, Calif.
Meteor is at Mare Island Dry Dock, being made ready for tow to Texas for dismantling.
In August 1990, 78 of the 96 ships assigned to the RRF were activated to support Operations DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM. This was the first large-scale activation of the RRF since it was created in 1976. The vessels involved included Ro/Ros, break-bulk cargo ships, tankers and barge carriers. METEOR was in the first group of 17 vessels activated. The ship was berthed in San Pedro at the time and was activated by a local shipyard before being loaded with cargo bound for Saudi Arabia; the staging area for inbound cargo. After its initial voyage, METEOR was directed to the US East Coast to load additional cargo. METEOR continued in this service, US East Coast to Saudi Arabia via the Mediterranean, for the duration of the conflict. The vessel operated well despite its shaft problems by carefully observing its operating restrictions. By late 1991 the need for RRF ships to move retrograde cargo back to the US diminished so MSC deactivated METEOR. The ship sailed to the West Coast where it entered the National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. shipyard for extensive repairs and lay-up. Repairs to the ship’s propulsion shafting finally resolved its propulsion problem. After the ship was deactivated, METEOR was again berthed at San Pedro along with COMET. It was later moved to the San Francisco Bay area and was eventually berthed at the Alameda Naval Air Station after the Navy transferred part of that facility to MARAD through the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.