USS Potomac (AG-25)
|USS Potomac at Oakland, California|
USS Potomac at Oakland, California
|Builder:||Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company, Manitowoc, Wisconsin|
|Laid down:||5 March 1934|
|Launched:||30 June 1934|
|Commissioned:||25 October 1934|
|Fate:||Transferred to the Navy, 8 November 1935|
|Acquired:||8 November 1935|
|Decommissioned:||15 November 1945|
|Renamed:||Potomac, 30 January 1936|
|Reclassified:||AG-25, 11 November 1935|
|Struck:||25 February 1946|
|Fate:||Returned to the Coast Guard, 23 November 1945|
|Type:||United States Coast Guard Cutter|
370 long tons (376 t) light|
416 long tons (423 t) full
|Length:||165 ft (50 m)|
|Beam:||23 ft 9 in (7.24 m)|
|Draft:||8 ft 1 in (2.46 m)|
2 × Winton Model 6-158 diesel engines, 1,340 shp (999 kW)|
2 × three-blade propellers
|Speed:||13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph)|
|Armament:||1 × 3"/23 caliber gun|
|U.S. National Register of Historic Places|
|U.S. National Historic Landmark|
|Location:||Jack London Square, Oakland, California|
|Governing body:||Board of Governors|
|Added to NRHP:||February 20, 1987|
|Designated NHL:||December 14, 1990|
|NRHP Reference#:||87000068 |
USS Potomac (AG-25), formerly the USCGC Electra, was Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidential yacht from 1936 until his death in 1945. It is one of only three still existing presidential yachts. On August 3, 1941, she played a decoy role while Roosevelt held a secret conference to develop the Atlantic Charter. She is now preserved in Oakland, California, as a National Historic Landmark.
The Potomac was originally built in 1934 by the Manitowoc Ship Building Company, Manitowoc, Wisconsin as the United States Coast Guard Cutter Electra. She was converted to serve as a presidential yacht and commissioned into the United States Navy in 1936. In the following years, the Potomac was heavily used by President Roosevelt, for fishing trips and informal political meetings. In 1939 the United Kingdom's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth travelled with the Roosevelts aboard the Potomac to George Washington's home at Mt. Vernon.
On August 3, 1941, President Roosevelt left Washington to board the USS Potomac at the submarine base at New London. The Potomac then sailed for Appogansett Bay where the President did some fishing and entertained guests including Crown Princess Märtha of Norway. Eventually the Potomac anchored in Menemsha Bight in Vineyard Sound, where the heavy cruiser USS Augusta already lay at anchor. In the early hours of August 5, the Potomac came alongside the Augusta and the President and his party transferred to the warship. The Augusta then proceeded at high speed to Newfoundland for a clandestine meeting with Winston Churchill. During this meeting, Roosevelt and Churchill agreed to the Atlantic Charter, agreeing to the principles of the Allied partnership during World War II and setting the scene for the United Nations to plan the post-war peace.
In the meantime and for security purposes, the President's flag continued to be flown from the Potomac while she transited the Cape Cod Canal to New England waters. A Secret Serviceman, approximating the President in size and affecting his mannerisms when visible from a distance, played a starring role in the deception. Press releases issued daily from the Potomac led all who read them to believe that the President was really embarked in his yacht on a pleasure cruise. After the meetings, the Augusta returned the President to the Potomac on August 14.
After President Roosevelt's death, the Potomac was decommissioned by the Navy, and returned to US Coast Guard custody in November 1945.
In January 1964 she was purchased by singer and actor Elvis Presley for US$55,000. Presley offered it to the March of Dimes who could not use it. He then gave it to St. Jude Children's Hospital, in Memphis, to sell as a fund raiser. The hospital was able to sell it that same year for US$ 75,000. By 1980, she was involved in drug smuggling and was seized by the United States Customs Service in San Francisco, then towed to Treasure Island, where she sank.
After being refloated by the U.S. Navy just two weeks later, the Potomac was sold to the Port of Oakland for $15,000 and underwent a major restoration. She is now preserved by the Potomac Association, and berthed at Jack London Square in Oakland. She is open to dockside tours and regular cruises on San Francisco Bay.
- Potomac Association (2002). Association website. Retrieved September 7, 2004.
- Department Of The Navy, Naval Historical Center. USS Potomac (IV). Retrieved September 8, 2004.
- Wikipedia editors (2004). USS Augusta (CA-31). Retrieved September 8, 2004.
- This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.