USS Tunica (ATA-178)

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Name: USS Navajo
Ordered: as Rescue Ocean Tug ATR-105, redesignated Auxiliary Fleet Tug ATA-178, 15 May 1944
Builder: Levingston Shipbuilding Co., Orange, Texas
Launched: 15 June 1944
Commissioned: 15 September 1944
Decommissioned: 23 December 1947
Renamed: Tunica (ATA-178), 16 July 1948
Struck: 1 September 1962
Fate: Sunk as a target, 29 January 1999
General characteristics
Class and type: Sotoyomo-class auxiliary fleet tug
Displacement: 610 long tons (620 t) light
860 long tons (874 t) full
Length: 143 ft (44 m)
Beam: 34 ft (10 m)
Draft: 15 ft (4.6 m)
Propulsion: Diesel-electric engines, single screw
Speed: 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph)
Complement: 7 officers, 42 enlisted men
Armament: • 1 × single 3"/50 caliber gun
• 2 × twin 40 mm AA gun mounts

USS Tunica (ATA-178) was a Sotoyomo-class auxiliary fleet tug acquired by the United States Navy for service during and after World War II.

ATA-178 was laid down on 10 May 1944 at Orange, Texas, by the Levingston Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 15 June 1944; and commissioned on 15 September 1944, Lt. J. L. Robinson in command.

World War II Pacific Theatre operations

Late in September, ATA-178 picked up two barges at New Orleans, Louisiana, for towing to Hawaii. The tug transited the Panama Canal, stopped at San Diego, California, and reached Pearl Harbor on 10 December 1944. After a brief layover in Hawaii, she departed Pearl Harbor to tow one of the 10 sections of a drydock to Guam, where she arrived on 14 January 1945.

Not long after her arrival in the Marianas, ATA-178 was assigned to the Samoan Defense Command. Between 10 February and 28 May, she towed supply barges between various bases in the South Pacific. Late in May, ATA-178 joined other tugs in towing barge-loads of equipment from the South Pacific to bases nearer to the active theaters of operations. During the final three months of the war, she called frequently at Guam, Leyte, Manus, Eniwetok, and Kwajalein to deliver equipment-laden barges.

End-of-war activity

Following the cessation of hostilities, she reported to Noumea, New Caledonia, where she underwent her first major overhaul. When that was completed, she resumed her duties in support of the disestablishment of South Pacific bases until April 1946. On the 24th, she departed Tutuila, Samoa, and headed via Pearl Harbor to San Diego, where she arrived on 31 May. On 18 June, the tug stood out of San Diego for the east coast. She transited the canal during the second week in July and arrived in New York on 24 July. A week later, she headed south and reported for duty at Mayport, Florida, on 22 August. For the next 16 months, she towed inactivated ships between Mayport, Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. On 23 December 1947, ATA-178 was placed out of commission and berthed with the Texas Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet.

Reserve status and decommissioning

ATA-178 spent the remainder of her Navy career in reserve. On 16 July 1948, she was named Tunica. After almost 14 years of inactivity, Tunica was transferred to the Maritime Administration in October 1961 for lay-up with the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Beaumont, Texas. Eleven months later, on 1 September 1962, her name was struck from the Navy list. She was finally disposed of by the Maritime Administration sometime during fiscal year 1971.

Service as salvage training hulk

The salvage training hulk ex-Tunica in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, April 1996

ex-Tunica was towed, along with three other vessels, from Beamont Texas to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by USS Salvor between September and November of 1986.[1][2] At Pearl Harbor, ex-Tunica served as a salvage training hulk for salvage ships stationed there. While serving in this role, she was towed, run aground and retracted[3], and cast adrift with fires burning on upper decks and within her tow-winch room.[4][5]

ex-Tunica was finally disposed of in a SINKEX on or about January 29, 1999.[6][7]


  1. USS Salvor Command History 1986
  2. USS Salvor Command History 1987
  3. USS Salvor Command History 1995
  4. USS Salvor Command History 1990
  5. USS Salvor Command History 1996
  6. Navy Message: SINKEX APPROVAL FOR EX-TUNICA (ATA-178)//
  7. Agreement between Department of the Navy and Environmental Protection Agency.

This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

See also

External links

  • Photo gallery of USS Tunica (ATR-105/ATA-178) at NavSource Naval History

ex-Tunica salvage hulk gallery