USS Quapaw (AT-110)

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Career (U.S.)
Name: USS Quapaw
Namesake: Quapaw
Builder: United Engineering Co.
Alameda, California
Laid down: 28 December 1942
Launched: 15 May 1943
Sponsored by: Mrs. N. Lehman
Commissioned: 6 May 1944
Reclassified: ATF–110, 15 May 1944
Decommissioned: 30 April 1948
Recommissioned: 5 December 1950
Decommissioned: 30 August 1985
Struck: 28 January 1992
Homeport: 1970: Pearl Harbor
Honors and
4 battle stars, World War II
5 battle stars, Korean War
7 battle stars, Vietnam War
Fate: Sold private 1998; still afloat as Tiger As of September 2008
General characteristics
Class and type: Navajo-class fleet tug
Displacement: 1,646 tons
Length: 205 feet (62.48 m)
Beam: 38 ft 6 in (11.7 m)
Draft: 15 ft 3 in (4.6 m)
Speed: 16 knots (30 km/h)
Complement: 85
Armament: 1 × 3"/50 caliber gun
4 × 40 mm AA guns

USS Quapaw (ATF–110/AT-110) was a Navajo-class fleet tug in the United States Navy. She was named after the Quapaw.

Quapaw was laid down by United Engineering Co., Alameda, California, 28 December 1942; launched 15 May 1943; sponsored by Mrs. N. Lehman; and commissioned 6 May 1944, Lt. Comdr. N. H. Castle in command. She was redesignated ATF–110 on 15 May 1944.

Operational history

World War II Pacific operations

Quapaw steamed for San Francisco after shakedown out of San Pedro and San Diego, California, through 16 June. She departed San Francisco 21 June 1944, en route to the Admiralty Islands. After calling at Honolulu, where she delivered an Army barge, a dump scow, and a derrick, she steamed 12 July via the Ellice Islands and Milne Bay, New Guinea, arriving Manus, Admiralty Islands 14 August.

Following several harbor tow assignments, she departed 17 August with a deck cargo of 7,500 bbls. of aviation gasoline and 49 motor torpedo boat engines, and with a gasoline barge in tow. These she delivered to Mios Woendi Lagoon, whence she steamed to Maffin Bay where she received orders to stand by in preparation for the landings on Morotai Island.

With a convoy of liberty ships, minesweepers, and landing craft, together with screening destroyers, Quapaw entered Morotai Harbor the morning of 16 September 1944. She remained through 1 October, primarily engaged in retracting LSTs from the beach of Pitoe Bay.

Supporting Leyte Gulf operations

From 20 October 1944 through 1 January 1945, Quapaw was operating in San Pedro Bay in support of the Leyte operation. Her assignments entailed salvage, firefighting, and towing operations.

On 6 December 1944, Quapaw stood by Liberty ship SS Antoine Saugrain after that ship had been torpedoed the previous day.[1]

Landings were made at Lingayen 9 January 1945 and Quapaw was assigned patrol of both attack areas to render all necessary assistance. She retracted landing ships, made repairs and conducted towing operations until 21 February. She then steamed to Mindoro. She departed Mangarin Bay 26 February as a unit of Admiral W. M. Fechteler's task group TG 78.2, en route to Puerto Princesa, Palawan, for initial assaults against that island. En route, Quapaw took LCI-683 in tow when the latter was unable to maintain convoy speed. The landing forces went ashore 28 February and Quapaw retracted landing craft from the beaches east of Puerto Princesa and in the vicinity of the city jetty. She returned to Mangarin Bay, 5 March.

From 8 through 25 March Quapaw participated in salvage and demolition work, and assisted in clearing harbor wreckage, with intervening repair and tow missions at Zamboanga, Mindanao, Philippine Islands. Further salvage, tow, and repair missions preceded overhaul at Hollandia, New Guinea, commencing 29 May. The tug departed 25 June for Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, from where she steamed 6 July with one section of a battleship drydock in tow for Samar, Philippine Islands. With the end of hostilities she continued towing services between various ports of the Philippines, with frequent service to Manus and back through 28 April 1946.

Return to Stateside

Quapaw departed Subic Bay for the United States 16 June 1946, arriving San Francisco, California. 14 July. After overhaul at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, the tug continued coastal and trans-Pacific towing operations until 21 December 1947.

She was placed in an inactive status at San Francisco until 30 April 1948 when she was placed out of commission, in reserve.

Korean War

Quapaw recommissioned 5 December 1950 at Alameda, California., Lt. Fleming M. Christian in command. After refresher training out of San Diego through January 1951, she steamed via Bremerton, Washington, with a barracks ship in tow for Pearl Harbor. Arriving 14 February 1951, she commenced operations under Commander Service Force, Pacific.

The fleet tug provided services at Inchon, Korea 30 April – 17 July 1951, and at Wonsan 19 July – 3 August. Towing services at Sasebo and Yokosuka, Japan were interrupted by patrol duty at Wonsan, Korea 26 October – 20 November 1952, and by operation in the areas of Cho Do and Taechong Do, Korea 17 January – 14 February 1953. Quapaw also conducted patrols in Korean waters in March and April 1953.

Vietnam War and beyond

As of 1970, Quapaw continued to provide services to the Fleet out of her homeport of Pearl Harbor. Annual WestPac deployments have been interspersed with assignments throughout mid-Pacific areas, as well as by occasional duty as search and rescue vessel out of Adak, Alaska.

During the 1980s until her decommissioning in 1985, Quapaw was home ported at the Port Hueneme Naval CBC in Port Hueneme, California providing salvage, rescue and towing services.

Some post-Vietnam operations/achievements included:

Towing of the USS New Jersey (BB-62) from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to Long Beach Naval Shipyard prior to her final recommissioning in 1982.

Provided tow escort and support for the towing of USS Missouri (BB-63) from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to Long Beach Naval Shipyard prior to her final recommissioning in 1984.

Towing of the USS Nautilus (SSN-571) from Mare Island Naval Shipyard to the Panama Canal where the Nautilus was picked up by another tug to be brought to Groton, CT in 1984-85. This set a record for the longest open-ocean tow of a submarine.

USS Quapaw was the first US Navy afloat command to have a female Executive Officer (LTJG Susan Cowan). 1985.

Honors and awards

Quapaw received four battle stars for World War II service and five for the Korean War, and seven for the Vietnam War.

Ribbons, Medals and Awards:
Navy Unit Commendation, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy "E" Ribbon, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (4 stars), World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal (2 stars), Korean Service Medal (5 stars), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (1 star-Korea, 1 star-Op. Frequent Wind), Vietnam Service Medal (7 stars), Humanitarian Service Medal (1 star-Frequent Wind), Philippine Liberation Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Republic of Korea War Service Medal (retroactive)


In 2006, Quapaw figured in a widely circulated chain e-mail that claimed that a sailor stationed aboard had snapped pictures of the Attack on Pearl Harbor on a Kodak Brownie camera, which remained undiscovered until very recently. In addition to the fact that Quapaw was not launched for another 18 months, the pictures typically circulated with the e-mail were taken from a several different locations — and unlikely to have been taken by one individual. Most are well known archival photos from the attack, and all had been previously published.[2]

See also


  1. Cressman, Robert (2000). "Chapter VI: 1944". The official chronology of the U.S. Navy in World War II. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 9781557501493. OCLC 41977179. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  2. "Pearl Harbor". Urban Legends Reference Pages. 2006-11-20. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 

External links