USS Tacoma (PF-3)
|Name:||USS Tacoma (PG-111)|
|Builder:||Kaiser Cargo, Inc., Richmond, California|
|Laid down:||10 March 1943|
|Reclassified:||PF-3, 15 April 1943|
|Launched:||7 July 1943|
|Sponsored by:||Mrs. A. R. Bergersen|
|Commissioned:||6 November 1943|
|Decommissioned:||16 August 1945|
|Fate:||Transferred to Soviet Navy, 16 August 1945|
|Acquired:||Returned by Soviet Navy, 16 October 1949|
|Recommissioned:||1 December 1950|
|3 battle stars, Korean War|
|Fate:||Transferred to Republic of Korea Navy, 9 October 1951|
|Acquired:||Returned by Republic of Korea Navy, 28 February 1973|
|Struck:||2 April 1973|
|Fate:||Donated to Republic of Korea Navy|
|Acquired:||16 August 1945|
|Commissioned:||16 August 1945|
|Fate:||Returned to United States, 16 October 1949|
|Name:||ROKS Taedong (PF-63)|
|Acquired:||9 October 1951|
|Decommissioned:||28 February 1973|
|Fate:||Returned to U.S. Navy 28 February 1973|
|Acquired:||By donation of U.S. Navy|
|Class and type:||Tacoma-class frigate|
|Displacement:||1,264 long tons (1,284 t)|
|Length:||303 ft 11 in (92.63 m)|
|Beam:||37 ft 11 in (11.56 m)|
|Draft:||13 ft 8 in (4.17 m)|
|Speed:||20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)|
USS Tacoma (PF-3), the lead ship of the Tacoma-class patrol frigates. The third ship of the United States Navy to be named for Tacoma, Washington, she was in commission from 1943 to 1945 and from 1949 to 1951. She also served in the Soviet Navy as EK-11 and in the Republic of Korea Navy as ROKS Taedong (PF-63).
Construction and commissioning
Tacoma was laid down at the Kaiser Cargo, Inc. shipyard in Richmond, California, on 10 March 1943 under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1421) as a patrol gunboat, PG-111; she was redesignated a patrol frigate, PF-3, on 15 April 1943 and named Tacoma on 5 May 1943. Tacoma was launched on 7 July 1943, sponsored by Mrs. A. R. Bergersen, and commissioned on 6 November 1943 with Lieutenant Commander Adrian F. Werner, USCG, in command.
After completing shakedown training off the California coast in December 1943, Tacoma reported for duty as a training ship in January 1944. She trained patrol frigate crews until 27 June 1944, when she was ordered to proceed to the Territory of Alaska upon completion of sea trials. However, she was plagued by unsuccessful trials and a boiler room fire and, consequently, did not report for duty at Kodiak, Alaska, until 21 October 1944. For the next four months, she conducted anti-submarine patrols and escorted supply ships and transports along the Alaskan coast and between the islands of the Aleutians chain, visiting Attu, Adak, Dutch Harbor, and other smaller Alaskan ports.
On 23 February 1945, Tacoma departed Dutch Harbor and steamed south for an extensive overhaul, first at San Francisco, California. Selected for transfer to the Soviet Navy in Project Hula, a secret program for the transfer of U.S. Navy ships to the Soviet Navy at Cold Bay, Alaska, in anticipation of the Soviet Union joining the war against Japan, she proceeded to the Puget Sound Navy Yard at Bremerton, Washington, to prepare her for transfer. On 10 July 1945, she arrived at Cold Bay and began familiarization training with her new Soviet crew.
Following the completion of training for her Soviet crew, Tacoma was decommissioned on 16 August 1945 at Cold Bay and transferred to the Soviet Union under Lend-Lease immediately along with her sister ships USS Sausalito (PF-4), USS Hoquiam (PF-5), USS Pasco (PF-6), USS Albuquerque (PF-7), and USS Everett (PF-8). Commissioned into the Soviet Navy immediately, Tacoma was designated as a storozhevoi korabl ("escort ship"), and renamed EK-11 in Soviet service. She soon departed Cold Bay bound for Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the Soviet Union and served as a patrol vessel in the Soviet Far East.
In February 1946, the United States began negotiations for the return of ships loaned to the Soviet Union for use during World War II. On 8 May 1947, United States Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestal informed the United States Department of State that the United States Department of the Navy wanted 480 of the 585 combatant ships it had transferred to the Soviet Union for World War II use returned, EK-11 among them. Negotiations for the return of the ships were protracted, but on 16 October 1949 the Soviet Union finally returned EK-11 to the U.S. Navy at Yokosuka, Japan.
Reverting to her original name, Tacoma remained out of commission at Yokosuka in a caretaker status until the outbreak of the Korean War on 25 June 1950. She began preparations for activation in August 1950 and went back into commission on 1 December 1950 at Yokosuka. The next day, she began 15 days of shakedown training out of Yokosuka in Sagami Wan and Tokyo Bay. From 18 to 25 December 1950 she underwent post-shakedown repairs at Yokosuka and put to sea on 26 December 1950 bound for Sasebo, Japan. On 28 December 1950, Tacoma headed for the east coast of Korea.
For the next few months, Tacoma operated with the United Nations Blockading and Escort Squadron, Task Force (TF) 95. On 30 January 1951, she joined in the bombardment phase of the amphibious feint at Kansong, and the following afternoon she performed the same duty at Kosong. She put in at Pusan on 1 February 1951, then headed for Sasebo on 3 February 1951. By 5 February 1951, she was back off Korea's eastern coast at Kangnung for a two-day bombardment mission there. On 7 and 8 February 1951, her gunners trained their sights on Yangyang, and then on Hwangpo on 9 and 10 February 1951. When not pounding Hwangpo, Tacoma patrolled off Chikute Island. She returned to Sasebo on 13 February 1951 and remained there until 19 February 1951, when she headed for Wonsan harbor in North Korea. She arrived off Wonsan on 22 February 1951 and for the next four days joined in the operations which resulted in the successful landing of 110 Republic of Korea Marines on Sin Do on 24 February 1951. The following day, she cleared Wonsan channel to return to Sasebo. She arrived at Sasebo on 27 February 1951 and remained there until 10 March 1951, when she got underway for Yokosuka and restricted repairs which lasted until 23 April 1951.
On 3 April 1951, the United States Naval Forces Far East (NavFE) organization was restructured. As a result, the Service Forces, previously fragmented among separate United States Seventh Fleet and NavFE groups, were consolidated into a new Logistics Group, designated Task Force 92. When Tacoma emerged from the shipyard at Yokosuka in late April 1951, she was assigned to the new task organization as an escort, and she served in that capacity for the remainder of her U.S. Navy career. From then until September 1951, she escorted supply ships between Japanese and Korean ports and to stations along the Korean coast, where she replenished United Nations warships. She also conducted anti-submarine patrols and participated in occasional shore bombardments.
On 9 October 1951, the United States transferred Tacoma to the Republic of Korea. She served in the Republic of Korea Navy as ROKS Taedong (PF-63) until 28 February 1973, when she was decommissioned and returned to the U.S. Navy, which struck her name from the Navy list on 2 April 1973 and subsequently donated her to the Republic of Korea Navy as a museum and training ship.
The U.S. Navy awarded Tacoma three battle stars for her service during the Korean War.
- The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships Tacoma III article states that Tacoma was named EK-12 in Soviet service and NavSource Online: Frigate Photo Archive Tacoma (PF 3) ex-PG-111 and hazegray.org Tacoma repeat this, but Russell, Richard A., Project Hula: Secret Soviet-American Cooperation in the War Against Japan, Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, 1997, ISBN 0-945274-35-1, p. 39, which includes access to Soviet-era records unavailable during the Cold War, reports that the ship's Soviet name was EK-11. As sources, Russell cites Department of the Navy, Ships Data: U.S. Naval Vessels Volume II, 1 January 1949, (NAVSHIPS 250-012), Washington, DC: Bureau of Ships, 1949; and Berezhnoi, S. S., Flot SSSR: Korabli i suda lendliza: Spravochnik ("The Soviet Navy: Lend-Lease Ships and Vessels: A Reference"), St. Petersburg, Russia: Belen, 1994.
- According to Russell, Richard A., Project Hula: Secret Soviet-American Cooperation in the War Against Japan, Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, 1997, ISBN 0-945274-35-1, which includes access to Soviet-era records unavailable during the Cold War, Project Hula ships were commissioned into the Soviet Navy simultaneously with their transfer from the U.S. Navy; see photo captions on p. 24 regarding the transfers of various large infantry landing craft (LCI(L)s) and information on p. 27 about the transfer of USS Coronado (PF-38), which Russell says typified the transfer process. As sources, Russell cites Department of the Navy, Ships Data: U.S. Naval Vessels Volume II, 1 January 1949, (NAVSHIPS 250-012), Washington, DC: Bureau of Ships, 1949; and Berezhnoi, S. S., Flot SSSR: Korabli i suda lendliza: Spravochnik ("The Soviet Navy: Lend-Lease Ships and Vessels: A Reference"), St. Petersburg, Russia: Belen, 1994.
- Russell, Richard A., Project Hula: Secret Soviet-American Cooperation in the War Against Japan, Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, 1997, ISBN 0-945274-35-1, p. 39.
- Russell, Richard A., Project Hula: Secret Soviet-American Cooperation in the War Against Japan, Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, 1997, ISBN 0-945274-35-1, pp. 34, 35, 39.
- Russell, Richard A., Project Hula: Secret Soviet-American Cooperation in the War Against Japan, Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, 1997, ISBN 0-945274-35-1, pp. 37-38, 39.