The first USS Lassen (AP-3), named after a peak in the Lassen Volcanic National Park, Calif., originally named the Shooting Star, was launched by the Tampa Shipbuilding Co., Tampa, Fla. Under a Maritime Commission contract 10 January 1940 she was acquired by the Navy 15 November 1940 and commissioned 4 days later with Lt Comdr. A. B. Kerr as the commanding officer. She was later commissioned in full on 27 March 1941 with Comdr. R. S. Berkey as the commanding officer.
In the months prior to the war, this ammunition ship had made deliveries along both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and in July sailed to Pearl Harbor. On 22 November 1941 she departed Norfolk for San Francisco, her homeport. After round-trip voyages to the Samoan Islands, Fiji Islands, and Pearl Harbor Lassen began duty as an advanced base supply ship. Departing San Francisco 26 August 1942, Lassen replenished ships out of Dumbea Bay, New Caledonia, from 19 September 1942 to 17 January 1943. She serviced ships from Efate, New Hebrides, and Noumea, New Caledonia, before returning to her homeport 24 November.
As part of Vice Adm. W. L. Calhoun’s 7th Force, Pacific Fleet, Lassen arrived Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands 2 February 1944. She replenished ships in the Marshall Islands, and at Manus Island, Admiralty Islands. As part of “the train” at Kossol Passage, Palau Islands, 25 September to 2 October and at Ulithi Atoll from 4 October to 18 November, she earned her first battle star. Upon returning to the western Carolines 23 February 1945, Lassen, along with her sister AEs, worked out techniques for transferring large quantities of ammunition while underway. She accompanied TG 50.8 in raids during 13 March to 14 June supporting the Okinawa campaign. Her third battle star was earned while accompanying TG 30.8 during 8 July to 6 August off the coast of Japan.
V-J Day found Lassen operating out of San Pedro Bay, Leyte. On 25 October she departed for the United States via Eniwetok, where she embarked 112 passengers. She proceeded down the coast by stages and arrived in San Diego 27 March 1946. Lassen decommissioned 15 January 1947 and entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet, remaining a unit of that fleet until struck from the Navy list 1 July 1961.
Lassen received three battle stars for World War II service.