USS Barataria (AVP-33)
USS Barataria (AVP-33) off Houghton, Washington, on 21 August 1944
|Career (United States)|
|Namesake:||Barataria Bay, also "Barrataria Bay", on the coast of Louisiana|
|Builder:||Lake Washington Shipyard, Houghton, Washington|
|Laid down:||19 April 1943|
|Launched:||2 October 1943|
|Sponsored by:||Mrs. L. J. Stetcher|
|Commissioned:||13 August 1944|
|Decommissioned:||24 July 1946|
|Struck:||26 September 1966|
|One battle star for World War II service|
|Fate:||Loaned to United States Coast Guard 17 September 1948
Transferred outright to Coast Guard 26 September 1966
|Notes:||Served as United States Coast Guard Cutter USCGC Barataria (WAVP-381), later WHEC-381, 1948-1970
Decommissioned by Coast Guard August 1969
Sold in September or October 1970 and scrapped
|Class & type:||Barnegat-class seaplane tender|
|Displacement:||1,766 tons (light)
2,592 tons (trial)
|Length:||310 ft 9 in (94.72 m)|
|Beam:||41 ft 2 in (12.55 m)|
|Draft:||13 ft 6 in (4.11 m) (lim.)|
|Installed power:||6,000 horsepower (4.48 megawatts)|
|Propulsion:||Diesel engines, two shafts|
|Speed:||18.2 knots (33.7 km/h)s|
|Complement:||215 (ship's company)
367 (including aviation unit)
|Armament:||3 x 5-inch (127 mm) guns
8 x 40-millimeter guns
8 x 20-millimeter guns
2 x depth charge tracks
|Aviation facilities:||Supplies, spare parts, repairs, and berthing for one seaplane squadron; 80,000 US gallons (300,000 L) aviation fuel|
Construction, commissioning, and shakedown
Barataria was laid down on 19 April 1943 at Houghton, Washington, by the Lake Washington Shipyard. She was launched on 2 October 1943, sponsored by Mrs. L. J. Stetcher, and commissioned at her builder's yard on 13 August 1944 with Commander Garrett S. Coleman in command.
After having spent the remainder of August 1944 in outfitting, loading supplies, and testing and calibrating equipment, Barataria conducted training in tending seaplanes under the auspices of Fleet Air Wing (FAW) 6 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, at Oak Harbor, Washington. Concluding that training in early September 1944, the ship spent 10 September 1944 through 10 October 1944 in gunnery exercises, casualty drills, sonar training, a speed run, combat information center exercises, and in more seaplane tending operations. Upon completion of the shakedown, she returned to the Puget Sound Navy Yard at Bremerton, Washington, for post-shakedown availability and alterations.
World War II service
Voyage to the Western Pacific
Early in November 1944, Barataria stood out of Bremerton, bound for San Francisco, California, where she took on stores, aircraft maintenance spares, aviation gasoline, and supplies and embarked 39 officers as passengers. She then stood out of San Francisco Bay, bound for Hawaii. Reaching Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on 28 November 1944, she got underway again on 30 November 1944 and proceeded independently to Eniwetok, which she reached on 7 December 1944. After embarking passengers, Barataria continued again independently to Ulithi Atoll, where she arrived on 12 December 1944, and later fueled from the tanker Octorance.
The Philippines campaign
Departing from Ulithi as escort and lead ship of a five-ship convoy, Barataria reached the Philippines on 22 December 1944. She spent the remainder of December 1944 and the first few days of January 1945 anchored off Leyte in the San Juanico Strait tending Patrol Bomber Squadron (VPB) 25, consisting of 15 Martin PBM-3D Mariner flying boats, whose mission was to conduct daylight searches north and east of Luzon. Shifting to San Pedro Bay, Leyte, on 5 January 1945, Barataria got underway on 6 January 1945 as a screen for seaplane tender USS Currituck (AV-7) and rendezvoused with Task Force (TF) 79 carrying the San Fabian assault forces. Two aircraft rescue boats (ARBs) had been assigned to Barataria, but one of these began taking on water and had to be abandoned and sunk on 8 January 1945. When several kamikaze suicide planes attacked the convoy later that day, Barataria's gunners claimed a "sure assist" for downing one.
On the morning of 9 January 1945, Barataria, joined by Currituck, left the convoy and proceeded to eastern Lingayen Gulf, where Barataria planted seaplane moorings, anchors, and buoys in the shallow waters south of Aringay Point. That afternoon, the planes of Patrol Bomber Squadron (VPB) 20 arrived and moored, and Baritaria carried out routine fueling operations for the remainder of the day. On the morning of 10 January 1945, Barataria surveyed the waters off the town of Damortis, south of Aringay Point, and found them free of swells. This information prompted her to move to that area, where she anchored shortly after noon. As the patrol bombers of Patrol Bomber Squadron (VPB) 17 arrived that afternoon, one plane sank after a rough landing. Barataria rescued the crew and salvaged some gear. When Japanese mortar fire began falling around the ship at 16:23 hours, Barataria slipped her anchor chain and retired out of range. Meanwhile, one of her 5-inch (127 mm) guns fired nine rounds at the Japanese positions, silencing the mortar fire. After that, Baritaria returned to the anchorage.
For the rest of January, Barataria tended the Consolidated PBY-5A Catalinas of Patrol Bomber Squadron (VPB) 71 as they carried out nighttime "Black Cat" strikes against shore installations and shipping along the coast of China and conducted antisubmarine patrol missions. Based first at Cabalitan Bay and then at Sual Bay in southwestern Lingayen GuIf, she shared these seaplane tender duties with Currituck until Currituck departed on 27 January 1945. Barataria then spent the entire month of February 1945 and the first two weeks of March 1945 back at Cabalitan Bay, establishing a seaplane ramp on the south shore of Cabalitan Island and continuing to tend the Catalinas of VPB 71 as they carried out night reconnaissance and attack missions. The PBM-3D Mariners of VPB 28 relieved VPB 71 on 28 February 1945 and continued the nocturnal missions begun by the PBYs.
Transferring the seaplane tending duties for VPB 28 to USS Tangier (AV-8) on 13 March 1945, Barataria stood out of Lingayen Gulf, bound via Subic Bay for Sangley Point, Luzon, and moored there on the morning of 18 March 1945. While at Sangley Point, Barataria serviced the planes of VPB 25, previously tended by USS San Carlos (AVP-51). The highlight of her service there began when she got underway at 11:16 hours on 26 March 1945 to rescue a VPB 28 plane downed in the South China Sea about 200 nautical miles (370 km) off the coast of Luzon. Guided by search planes, Barataria arrived on the scene at 22:15 hours, lowered her motor whaleboat, and brought the plane crew on board while preparing to fuel the plane for a morning take off attempt or, that failing, to rig a tow. However, neither plan came to fruition. Instead, destroyer USS Young (DD-510), which ship arrived on the scene shortly after midnight to escort Barataria, sank the plane with gunfire after all classified gear had been removed from it. Barataria then returned to Sangley Point where she spent the remainder of March 1945.
Underway again on 2 April 1945, Barataria headed for Mangarin Bay, Mindoro, to refuel and to replenish her supply of aviation gasoline, before proceeding to Cebu, where she anchored on 4 April 1944. Shifting to a berth off the city of Opon at Mactan Island on 5 April 1945, she there assumed the duties of station tender, Cebu. She surveyed Mactan Island for the establishment of a seaplane ramp and beach facilities, and laid out take off and landing areas in the waters offshore. She also established liaison with the United States Army Air Forces units ashore on both Mactan Island and Cebu. Meanwhile, the United States Army proceeded with the occupation of Cebu. With some isolated exceptions, the fighting centered on an area adjacent to Cebu City, with the “evident strong point being a high point, about three miles (5 km) north of the city” identified as “Hill 25.” Army Artillery Control contacted Barataria on 11 April 1945 and asked her to “fire on any available targets.” Directed by Army spotters, Barataria expended 100 5-inch (127 mm) rounds over the course of two hours early on 11 April 1945 and shelled Hill 25 again on 12 April 1945, this time sending 75 5-inch (127 mm) rounds into the Japanese position. The Army spotters pronounced her firing “excellent”. However, the action was not all one-sided for, at 05:40 hours on 14 April 1945, Barataria came under fire from Japanese 40- and 90-millimeter guns on Cebu Beach, directly opposite Mactan Island. Going to general quarters, she got underway and slipped her anchor cable, standing out of the north channel at 05:49 hours to lie to north of Mactan Island. She returned to her original anchorage later that morning, before moving to a berth in the southern part of Cebu Bay.
Relieved by seaplane tender USS Heron (AVP-2) on 21 April 1945, Barataria sailed for and anchored off Puerto Princessa, Palawan, on 22 April 1945. She then escorted seaplane tender USS Pocomoke (AV-9) to Tawi Tawi on 24 April 1945 and 25 April 1945, before proceeding on to Guiuan Harbor, Samar, late on the afternoon of 26 April 1945. After taking on board supplies there and fueling at San Pedro Bay, Barataria sailed for Mindoro and anchored in Mangarin Bay on the evening of 3 May 1945.
Pushing on toward Lingayen Gulf, Barataria transferred aviation supplies to USS Tangier on 5 May 1945 before she relieved seaplane tender USS Orca (AVP-49) on station at noon on 8 May 1945. In so doing, Barataria assumed charge of six planes from VPB 28 engaged in Lingayen Bay-based air-sea rescue operations. For the remainder of May 1945 and all of June 1945, she tended the PBM-5D Mariners of VPB 28 as they carried out “Dumbo” missions covering the Army's 5th Air Force bombing strikes on Formosa. During May 1945, she also serviced the Royal Australian Air Force 76th Wing Detachment PBY Catalinas as an “intermediary landing point” in their minelaying operations off the China coast. Early in June 1945, Barataria provided air-sea rescue coverage for the movement of Marine Air Group 14 from Clark Field, Luzon, to Okinawa.
Underway for Puerto Princessa on 8 July 1945, Barataria briefly tended planes of VPB 25, on standby for antisubmarine patrols, before she continued on via Manila. where she took on cargo bound for Puerto Princessa. She conducted tending operations at Puerto Princessa from 15 July 1944 to 23 July 1944 before proceeding via Samar to Leyte. She next provided services for VPB 28 as it flew antisubmarine patrols out of Manila Bay, covering the waters adjacent to northern Luzon, for the remainder of World War II.
Honors and awards
Barataria earned one battle star for her World War II operations.
With the end of the fighting on 15 August 1945 came new orders. Barataria cleared Subic Bay on 30 August 1945 bound for Okinawa. and arrived in Buckner Bay, Okinawa, on 3 September 1945 after weathering a typhoon en route. After voyage repairs there, she shifted to Chimu Bay to tend the planes of VPB 17 and VPB 20 as they conducted passenger and mail flights. On 16 September 1945, another typhoon prompted Barataria to get underway to ride out the storm, getting all flyable planes aloft and off the rough seas. Baritaria clocked winds up to 74 knots (137 km/h) and seas up to 40 feet (12.2 m) high before she returned to port on 17 September 1945.
Underway for the coast of China on 24 September 1945, Barataria reached Shanghai on 27 September 1945 and, for the remainder of September, tended the planes of VPB 17, which were flying mail and passengers in and out of Shanghai. Barataria later performed seaplane tending operations out of Jinsen (now Incheon), Korea.
After completing her duties at Jinsen, Barataria returned to the United States for inactivation. She reached Seattle, Washington, on 29 December 1945. Decommissioned and placed in reserve on 24 July 1946, Barataria was laid up at Alameda, California.
United States Coast Guard service
After more than two years of inactivity, Barataria was loaned to the United States Coast Guard on 17 September 1948. She became the Coast Guard cutter USCGC Barataria (WAVP-381). Later reclassified as a high endurance cutter and redesignated WHEC-381, Barataria was based at Portland, Maine, for most of her Coast Guard career. Her primary duty was to patrol ocean stations in the North Atlantic Ocean, reporting weather data and engaging in search-and-rescue and law-enforcement operations.
Barataria was stricken from the Navy List on 26 September 1966 and transferred outright to the Coast Guard on the same day. She served a tour in the Vietnam War in 1967-1968, then served on ocean stations in the Pacific Ocean.
- Per Department of the Navy Naval Historical Center Online Library of Selected Images: U.S. Navy Ships: USS Barataria (AVP-33), 1944-1948
- Per her Dictionary of American Naval Fightings Ships entry (see http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/b2/barataria-ii.htm) entry.
- Department of the Navy Naval Historical Center Online Library of Selected Images: U.S. Navy Ships: USS Barataria (AVP-33), 1944-1948.
- Per her Dictionary of American Naval Fightings Ships entry (see http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/b2/barataria-ii.htm).
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- Department of the Navy Naval Historical Center Online Library of Selected Images: U.S. Navy Ships: USS Barataria (AVP-33), 1944-1948
- NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive USS Barataria AVP-33 USCGC Barataria WPG-381/ WAVP-381/ WHEC-381
- United States Coast Guard Historian's Office: Barataria, 1948 WHEC-381 Radio call sign: NBXL
- Chesneau, Roger. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922–1946. New York: Mayflower Books, Inc., 1980. ISBN 0-8317-0303-2.