USS Yakutat (AVP-32)

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USS Yakutat (AVP-32).jpg
USS Yakutat (AVP-32) off Seattle, Washington, on 30 March 1944, the day before she was commissioned
Career (United States Navy)
Name: USS Yakutat (AVP-32)
Namesake: Yakutat Bay on the southern coast of Alaska
Builder: Associated Shipbuilders, Inc., Seattle, Washington
Laid down: 1 April 1942
Launched: 2 July 1943
Sponsored by: Mrs. Peter Barber
Commissioned: 31 March 1944
Decommissioned: 17 April 1946
Nickname: "The Y"
"The Mighty Y"
Honors and
Four battle stars for World War II service
Fate: Loaned to U.S. Coast Guard 31 August 1948; permanently transferred to Coast Guard 26 September 1966
Acquired: Transferred from U.S. Coast Guard 1 January 1971[1]
Fate: Transferred to South Vietnam 10 January 1971[2]
Career (United States Coast Guard)
Name: USCGC Yakutat (WAVP-380)
Namesake: Previous name retained
Acquired: Loaned by United States Navy to Coast Guard 31 August 1948
Transferred permanently from Navy to Coast Guard 26 September 1966
Commissioned: 23 November 1948
Reclassified: High endurance cutter (WHEC-380) 1 May 1966
Decommissioned: 1 January 1971[3]
Honors and
One award of the Navy Unit Commendation
One award of the Meritorious Unit Commendation
Four campaign stars for Vietnam War service
Fate: Transferred to U.S. Navy 1 January 1971[1]
Career (Republic of Vietnam Navy)
Name: RVNS Tran Nhat Duat (HQ-03)
Namesake: Tran Nhat Duat (1255–1330), a general of the Trần Dynasty
Acquired: 10 January 1971
Fate: Fled to Philippines on collapse of South Vietnam April 1975
Formally transferred to Republic of the Philippines 5 April 1976
Career (Philippine Navy) Flag of the Philippines.svg
Acquired: 5 April 1976
Commissioned: never
Fate: Cannibilized for spare parts
Discarded 1982
General characteristics
(seaplane tender)
Class and type: Barnegat-class small seaplane tender
Displacement: 1,766 tons (light)
2,750 tons (full load)
Length: 311 ft 8 in (95.00 m)
Beam: 41 ft 1 in (12.52 m)
Draft: 13 ft 6 in (4.11 m)
Installed power: 6,000 horsepower (4.48 megawatts)
Propulsion: Diesel engines, two shafts
Speed: 18.6 knots (34.4 km/h)
Complement: 215 (ships' company)
367 (with aviation unit)
Sensors and
processing systems:
Radar; sonar
Armament: 3 x (as built), later 1 x, single 5-inch (120 mm) 38-caliber dual-purpose gun mount
1 x quad 40 mm antiaircraft gun mount
2 x dual 40 mm antiaircraft gun mounts
4 x dual 20 mm antiaircraft gun mounts
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
General characteristics
(Coast Guard cutter)
Class and type: Casco-class cutter
Displacement: 2,529 tons (full load) in 1966
Length: 310 ft 9.25 in (94.7230 m) overall; 300 ft 0 in (91.44 m) between perpendiculars
Beam: 41 ft 0 in (12.50 m) maximum
Draft: 12 ft 11 in (3.94 m) at full load in 1966
Installed power: 6,400 bhp (4,800 kW)
Propulsion: Fairbanks-Morse geared diesel engines, two shafts; 165,625 US gallons (626,960 L) of fuel
Speed: 17.6 knots (32.6 km/h) (maximum sustained in 1966)
11.0 knots (20.4 km/h) (economic in 1966)
Range: 9,500 nautical miles (17,600 km) at 17.6 knots (32.6 km/h) in 1966
20,000 nautical miles (37,000 km) at 11.0 knots (20.4 km/h) in 1966
Complement: 151 (10 officers, 3 warrant officers, 138 enlisted personnel) in 1966
Sensors and
processing systems:
Radars in 1966: SPS-23, SPS-29D
Sonar in 1966: SQS-1
Armament: In 1966: 1 x single 5-inch (127 mm) 38-caliber Mark 12-1 gun mount; 1 x Mark 10-1 antisubmarine projector; 2 x Mark 32 Mod 2 torpedo launchers with 3 torpedo tubes each)
General characteristics
(South Vietnamese frigate)
Class and type: Tran Quang Khai-class frigate
Displacement: 1,766 tons (standard)
2,800 tons (full load)
Length: 310 ft 9 in (94.72 m) (overall); 300 ft 0 in (91.44 m) waterline
Beam: 41 ft 1 in (12.52 m)
Draft: 13 ft 5 in (4.09 m)
Installed power: 6,080 horsepower (4.54 megawatts)
Propulsion: 2 x Fairbanks Morse 38D diesel engines
Speed: approximately 18 knots (maximum)
Complement: approximately 200
Armament: 1 × 5-inch/38-caliber (127-millimeter) dual-purpose gun
1 or 2 x 81-millimeter mortars in some ships[4]
Several machine guns

USS Yakutat (AVP-32) was a United States Navy Barnegat-class small seaplane tender in commission from 1944 to 1946. Yakutat tended seaplanes in combat areas in the Pacific during the latter stages of World War II. After the war, she was in commission in the United States Coast Guard from 1948 to 1971 as the Coast Guard cutter USCGC Yakutat (WAVP-380), later WHEC-380, seeing service in the Vietnam War during her Coast Guard career. Transferred to South Vietnam in 1971, she was commissioned into the Republic of Vietnam Navy as the frigate RVNS Tran Nhat Duat (HQ-03). When South Vietnam collapsed in 1975 at the end of the Vietnam War, she fled to the Philippines, where the Philippine Navy took custody of her and cannibalized her for spare parts until discarding her in 1982.

Construction and commissioning[edit]

Yakutat (AVP-32) was laid down on 1 April 1942 at Seattle, Washington by Associated Shipbuilders, Inc. She was launched on 2 July 1942, sponsored by Mrs. Peter Barber, a mother who had lost three sons when the battleship USS Oklahoma (BB-37) (BB-37) was sunk on 7 December 1941 in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and was commissioned on 31 March 1944 with Commander George K. Fraser in command.

United States Navy service[edit]

World War II[edit]

After her shakedown in the San Diego, area, Yakutat got underway on 25 May 1942 and arrived at San Pedro, California, late on 26 May 1944. Following post-shakedown availability in the West Coast Shipbuilders' yard at San Pedro, she departed for Pearl Harbor on 17 June 1944.

Yakutat reached Ford Island at Pearl Harbor on 24 June 1944. Underway again at 07:00 hours on 28 June 1944, she headed for the Marshall Islands as an escort for escort aircraft carrier USS Makin Island (CVE-93). Arriving at Kwajalein on 6 July 1944, she shifted to Eniwetok within a week, where she embarked officers and enlisted men of a patrol service unit and took on board a cargo of 5-inch (127 mm) illuminating ammunition. She departed for Saipan on 14 July 1944.

Saipan and Pelelieu[edit]

Reaching recently secured Tanapag Harbor on 17 July 1944, Yakutat began setting up a seaplane base there and immediately commenced servicing seaplanes, providing subsistence and quarters for the aviators and aircrews attached to those aircraft. She provided the aircraft with gasoline and lubricating oil via bowser fueling boats and commenced servicing planes by the over-the-stern method as well.

Yakutat remained at Tanapag Harbor for the rest of July, all of August, and into September 1944. After shifting to the Garapan anchorage on Saipan on 8 September 1944, she transferred all plane personnel to the seaplane tender USS Coos Bay (AVP-25) and sailed for the Palau Islands on 12 September 1944. In company with the seaplane tenders USS Chandeleur (AV-10), USS Pocomoke (AV-9), USS Onslow (AVP-48), and USS Mackinac (AVP-13), Yakutat reached Kossol Passage on 16 September 1944, the day after the initial American landings on Pelelieu.

Proceeding to the seaplane operation area via a "comparatively well-marked channel"[5] and "while sweeping operations went on continuously"[5] nearby, Yakutat soon commenced laying out a seaplane anchorage. The following day, Yakutat serviced the first plane of Patrol Bomber Squadron 216 (VPB-216), furnishing aviation fuel and boat service.

With nine Martin PBM Mariner flying boats operational, VPB-216 was based on Yakutat, conducting long-range patrols and antisubmarine sweeps daily. During that time, Yakutat also served as secondary fighter director unit and experienced air alerts on six occasions. Japanese planes remained in the vicinity for varying lengths of time and occasionally dropped bombs in the lagoon area.

Yakutat serviced the VPB-216 planes into early November 1944. On 9 November 1944, she got underway for Ulithi Atoll and arrived there on 10 November 1944. Yakutat tended planes there from 13 November 1944 to 26 November 1944 before she underwent a drydocking for a routine bottom cleaning and hull repairs. She then sailed for Guam on 29 November 1944.

Saipan operations[edit]

Reaching Apra Harbor, Guam, on 30 November 1944, Yakutat loaded spare parts for Martin PBM Mariner flying boats before she got underway on 2 December 1944 to return to Saipan. She arrived later the same day, completed the discharge of her cargo on 4 December 1944 and, on 5 December 1944, took on board 13 officers and 30 enlisted men of VPB-216 for temporary subsistence.

Yakutat tended planes of Patrol Bomber Squadron 16 (VPB-16) and Patrol Bomber Squadron 17 (VPB-17) at Saipan through mid-January 1945. She departed Tanapag Harbor on the morning of 17 January 1945, steamed independently for Guam, and reached her destination later that day. However, she remained there only a short time, for she departed on 19 January 1945 for the Palau Islands and reached Kossol Roads on 21 January 1945. Yakutat discharged cargo there and fueled seaplanes until 6 February 1945, when she sailed in company with the seaplane tender USS St. George (AV-16), escorted by the patrol craft USS PC-1130, bound for the Caroline Islands.

Anchoring at Ulithi Atoll on 7 February 1945, Yakutat tended seaplanes there for most of February 1945. Highlighting her brief stay there was her going to the vicinity of a crashed Vought OS2U Kingfisher floatplane on 10 February 1945. After salvaging equipment from the plane, Yakutat sank the plane with gunfire and returned to her anchorage in the seaplane operating area.

On 25 February 1944, Yakutat sailed for the Mariana Islands in company with St. George and reached Garapan harbor on 27 February 1945. She tended seaplanes there for a little less than a month before departing for Okinawa on 23 March 1945 to take part in Operation Iceberg, the conquest of the Ryūkyū Islands.

Supporting Operation Iceberg[edit]

Yakutat tended the PBM Mariners of Patrol Bomber Squadron 27 (VPB-27) for the rest of World War II. She established seadrome operations at Kerama Retto on 28 March 1945 and spent the rest of the important Okinawa campaign in seaplane tending duties. The presence of Japanese aircraft in the vicinity on numerous occasions meant many hours spent at general quarters stations, lookouts' eyes and radar alert for any sign of approaching enemy planes. Yakutat provided quarters and subsistence for the crews of the Mariners and furnished the planes with gasoline, lubricating oil, and jet-assisted take-off (JATO) units. The Mariners conducted antisubmarine and air-sea rescue ("Dumbo") duties locally, as well as offensive patrols that ranged as far as the coast of Korea.

Although Yakutat received a dispatch on 21 June 1945 to the effect that all "organized resistance on Okinawa has ceased,"[5] her routine remained busy. On 28 June 1945, for example, a Consolidated PB2Y Coronado flying boat crashed on take-off and sank approximately 500 yards (457 m) off the starboard beam of the ship. Yakutat dispatched two boats to the scene and rescued eight men, while boats from another ship rescued the remaining three survivors from the Coronado. All eleven men were brought on board Yakutat, where they were examined and returned to their squadron, Patrol Bomber Squadron 13 (VPB-13).

On 15 July 1945, Yakutat sailed for Chimu Bay, Okinawa in company with the seaplane tenders USS Norton Sound (AV-11), Chandeleur, Onslow, USS Shelikof (AVP-52), and USS Bering Strait (AVP-34) but returned to port due to a typhoon in the vicinity. However, she got underway again on 16 July 1945 and reached Chimu Bay the same day. She remained there, tending seaplanes, largely anchored but occasionally moving to open water to be free to maneuver when typhoons swirled by. On one occasion, while returning to Chimu Bay after a typhoon evacuation, Yakutat made sonar contact on a suspected submarine on 3 August 1945. She made one attack, dropping depth charges from her stern-mounted depth-charge tracks, but lost the contact soon thereafter.

Yakutat was at Chimu Bay when Japan capitulated and hostilities ended on 15 August 1945, bringing World War II to a close. With the officers and enlisted men of the crew assembled aft, Yakutat‍ '​s commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander W. I. Darnell, led his crew in offering thanks to God "for being kept afloat to see the final day of this war."[5]

Honors and awards[edit]

Yakutat earned four battle stars for her World War II service.

The Y‍ '​s unofficial newsletter[edit]

                       “SET THE SPECIAL SEA DETAIL”

This brief bit of bull is being piled mainly to provide something for the returning serviceman which is not included in the G. I. Bill of Rights. We are attempting, in fact, to go that hunk of legislation one better and give those who served so faithfully on the mighty “Y” proof of their lies in black and white.

In order to preclude the necessity for further boredom, and as a reminder of some interesting (though not always funny) things which happened, let us take a look at where we’ve been to date – - 18 October 1945.

This vessel was placed in commission at the outfitting dock of Associated Shipbuilders in Seattle, Washington on a typical Seattle day, 31 March 1944.

After proceeding on acceptance runs, testing our gasoline system, loading ammunition, missing liberties, running the measured mile, missing liberties, loading torpedoes, missing liberties, firing the guns, and missing liberties, we finally bid Puget Sound a fond adieu on 21 April 1944 and set a course for the Golden Gate. Many of us vividly recall that first night on the blue Pacific. That the first of many nights that the boys-in-blue were destined to spend manning the rail, or feeding the fish, as you prefer.

Arriving in Alameda on 24 April, we proceeded to load our aviation stores and miss a couple of more liberties before making tracks, however wobbly, for San Diego, and the nearest rail.

Upon arrival in San Diego on the 29th, they hit us between the horns with an inspection less than and hour after our arrival. In true YAKUTAT fashion, we fooled ‘em. Our pants were up.

We kicked around Diego for some five weeks, undergoing extensive maneuvers and training, called “Shakedown”, and a very appropriate name it is. This shakedown was quite an experience. We missed some more liberties and piddled around with various exercises. However, we still think that about the toughest exercise of the bunch was that quaint custom of getting underway every Sunday morning at 0600.

On Thursday, 25 May 1944, COTCPAC, who was the boss, held our final military inspection and pronounced us ready to become the scourge of the Imperial Japanese Army, Navy and Air Corps. Today we also got our first look at the ceremonies of presentation of an award when Ensign A. C. Bingham was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for heroism at Bougainville,[6] Capt. Frederick Moosebruggor, Chief of Staff for COTCPAC presented the award. Later in the day, we headed for San Pedro, some repairs, a little leave and recreation (darned little!) arriving at about 1800 the same day.

It might well be said that during our stay in San Pedro, the Mighty “Y” came into her own as a fighting ship with a fighting crew.[7]

Between fights we got a paint job, a bottom job, and a boiler job. Once more we reluctantly moved on. The sad parting from the dear old United States took place at approximately 1600 on Saturday, 17 June 1944, amid tumultuous roar of weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth – mostly aboard ship.

After six days of smooth sailing, we made our first port of call, Pearl Harbor. Here we were welcomed by Com AirPac’s band, which produced several enjoyable musical selections. We should have known there was a catch to it, but remember, we were now a fighting ship. The catch to this welcome is still very vivid in our minds, I believe, as it has thus far covered some 10,000 miles and 16 months of our young lives.[8]

We kicked around the Hawaiian Islands for four days, pulling out and escorting the “jeep” carrier MAKIN ISLAND from Pearl Harbor to Majuro Atoll in the newly conquered Marshall Islands. One day hero and on to Kwajalein, also in the Marshalls, and also with the MAKIN ISLAND right on our heels.

Company was parted with the MAKIN ISLAND at Kwajalein and we proceeded independently to Eniwetok, still in the Marshalls, where we got our first glance at what Sherman meant when he said “War is Hell.” We praised the Lord and passed all the ammunition that the TENNESSEE and CALIFORNIA could throw at us all night that night of 12-13- July, and then when the sun came up on the morning of the 13th, and all of us thought we had finished, we were slightly surprised to learn that we still had to provision ship. Chow aboard, we set the special sea detail and headed for Saipan, almost getting a battleship (American, USS Alabama) to our credit, without firing a shot.

Saipan hove into sight on 17 July, and we were treated to somewhat nauseous spectacle of several corpses floating in the water for many miles to sea. Upon anchoring, we were assigned the job of clearing up what had been the Imperial Japanese Seaplane base until a few days previously, and making same ready for our own use. They (Japs and Americans) were still fighting in the bushes, but the “Y” was not to be stopped. We dood it. While here, we also got our first taste of tending a squadron, VPB-18 by name, and all of us have no trouble recollecting those hectic days.

On 12 September, we moved from our anchorage in Saipan and joined the POCOMOKE, CHANDELEUR, ONSLOW, and MACKINAC to form the Seaplaine Group which was to participate in the job of “taking over” the Palau Islands. We arrived on the afternoon of D plus l or 16 September, and after successfully eluding several hundred mines, finally came to rest at Kossol Roads and set up shop. This time our squadron was VPB-216. There is still much haggling aboard as to wether our job at Kossol Roads or our later exploits at Okinawa can rightly claim the title, (our most choice duty).

Our staunch little craft was not to be left to die at Palau, though we were beginning to wonder. As a result of someone’s sympathetic streak getting the better of them, we took off for Ulithi in the Western Carolines, arriving there 10 November—minus a squadron! There was also a catch to this, for on 24 November, we went into a float-in drydock, the U.S.S. ARD-15. Amen

Departing from Ulithi on 29 November, we arrived at Apra Harbor, Guam, on the afternoon of the 30th, just in time to have our Thanksgiving turkey that night. We left there on 2 December, arriving at Saipan at 1700 the same afternoon. The latter we found quite well settled down and civilized since our first visit.

We enjoyed several recreation parties on Saipan this time. It was here that the YAKUTAT’S “”Bobby” Duke, RM1c became king of the light weight boxers on the island by disposing of some rather rugged dogfaces and leathernecks in the course of a tournament. The nights, however, had a tendency to become just a little bit long. This can be pinned directly on the fact that our little yellow friends were at the time in the process of trying to destroy everything that would fly—and a lot that wouldn’t. They themselves were running down from Iwo Jima to take a couple of pot shots at the newly arrived B-29’s, but we can safely say that many of them never saw the Land of the Rising Sun again. Christmas Day of 1944 was spent there, and Christmas night of 1944 at general quarters. Remember?

Came the dawn of 17 January 1945, and the YAKUTAT was en route to Palau again, with a short stop at Guam. We dropped the anchor, chain and all at Kossol on 21 January. This time we put the seadrome out of commission, and returned to Ulithi, arriving on 7 February. Mog Mog[9] again until the 25th when we returned to Saipan, which we thought was our home port by this time. Such was not to be our good fortune as we soon learned.

On 23 March, we left Saipan for the last time to date. In company with the CHANDELEUR, HAMLIN, ST. GEORGE, ONSLOW, SHELIKOF, and BERING STRAIT, we set a rather wobbly zig-zag course for a group of islands known as Kerama Retto, in the Ryukyus.[10] Here we went into Seaplane tending and General Quarters business on a wholesale basis. This time we had a squadron VPB-27 based aboard, and except for a few minor inconveniences such as suicide planes, typhoons, rain, blackouts, no sleep and a few others: all was strictly peace and quiet, even though three days after our arrival, some 20 miles away at an island named Okinawa Shima the fighting Navy proceeded to cover the Dogfaces and Leathernecks in their landing on same Shima. Results were most horrifying – - for the Japanese.

We pulled up the mud hook at Kerama on 15 July, and moved to Chimu Wan, same Shima, dropped hook and took up where we left off at Kerama. At about this time, the full realization of just what they were after with the music back at Pearl Harbor hit us squarely between eyes.

On 20 September, we left our beloved Shima and joined some of the boys from the other side of the tracks—the TENNESSEE, CALIFORNIA, SANTEE, and a couple herds of tincans for a two-day trip to the destination that would not be denied—JAPAN. We arrived in the Empire on 22 September 1945, and took up our duties at Wakayama in connection with occupation.

Came 12 October, we again dragged up the hook and took off for the once formidable Jap Naval Arsenal of Kure, to service courier flights.

Arriving at Kure on the 13th, many of us got our first look at Jap Naval Units. Our seadrome was set up in the area surrounding the remnants of the Japanese battleship HYUGA, which was easily seen by all hands to be resting on the bottom, a tribute to American guns and gunners. Many other units from carriers on down are here, dispersed in the many coves and in various states of disrepair, thanks to the “airdales” of Task Force 58.

At this writing, here we sit while scuttlebutt about our return home, or rather the lack of it flies thick and fast. In spite of all the hot air that is to be found in huge quantities throughout the ship, we are still sitting here at Hiro Wan, near Kure, on Honshu, Japan—waiting to go somewhere also—you guess where.


                           TABULATION OF STUFF
                   HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO GET 44 POINTS?

This section will be a tabulation of some facts about the ship (maybe) what’s happened, and in some cases, why. All figures are up to 18 October 1945.

Air Rapids

Palau 3 Saipan 32 Kerama Retto 334 Chimu Wan 25 The surrender cut our air raids.

394 No drills were counted

Sub Attacks Ulithi 1 (enough)


Palau 1 Saipan 1 Okinawa 3 (one of which may be classed as dilly) Japan 2 (standby – more to follow)


Three of the YAKUTAT’S personnel have earned Purple Hearts while aboard.[11] They were presented to W, C. Hanson, SClc; H. Kaplan, Slc: Kerama Retto. None of the crew has died, although one man brought aboard from the Seaplane Base at Saipan later died aboard.

Personnel Situation

As a shining ray of light for those of you who are looking for dear old Stateside, the following is furnished.

Personnel received 92

Personnel transferred 154


Those who have been with us thus far, and are still kicking, may display the following “Commando” ribbons upon your return to the land of dress blues and white women:

a)World War II Victory Medal b)American Campaign Medal c)Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, with three bronze stars, one for the occupation of Saipan, one for the invasion and occupation of Palau., and one for the invasion and occupation of Okinawa.

No, you do not rate a Proximity Medal or a Typhoon Medal. However, in all probability, you will be entitled to the Japanese Occupation Medal if and when it is authorized. There is no definite information on this Occupation Medal, but it is safe to assume that a clasp will not be authorized for the battle of the Ship’s Store, wherein forty crewmen and six officers were trampled trying to buy cigarettes and soap for bartering purposes.


                   WHAT DID YOU DO IN THE WAR, FATHER?

This is the section that we promised you right from the start, the dope in black and white to back up your lies upon your return home. For instance, (this is for the benefit of whoever doubts you) the following did happen during the cruise of the “Y”, subscribed and sworn before me this date:

1. The “Y” sent a landing force ashore at Saipan armed with .30 cal. rifles and .45 ammunition.

2. Fifty extra cops were ordered from Los Angeles to quell the riot during our stay in San Pedro.

3. Ragan, CMB, and then our Chief Master-at-Arms, held reveille on our only corpse.

4.. Joe Costa, Slc, wouldn’t work on the barge at Kerma until someone, preferably Joe Costa, had disposed of a nearby Jap.

5. When someone told our First Lieutenant, Lt. (jg) Davis, to “House the anchor,” the reply was, “Fine, how’s yours?”

6. While swimming at Kwajalein, “Slim Wright, BMlc did assault “Barracuda” Hanson, SC1c with an empty Coke jug, thus giving Hanson his quaint nickname.

7. Upon receiving orders to “Let go the starboard anchor,” when anchoring at Palau, Lt (jg) Howard did let go the anchor and 125 fathoms of chain, all the way.

8. “Jack” Scott, Cox, and Proto, our Irish S1c, in riding the gunwales of a Jap dugout in an effort to keep from getting wet—did upset same dugout and their plans for keeping dry. This was the last of the “Sad Saki”.

9. The bottom of this vessel was sandpapered while in drydock at Ulithi.

10. Ens. Arlie Bingham, our Chief Engineer, did mount the stack and play “Home, Sweet Home” on the various whistles and sirens while entering the channel at Ulithi.

11. “Bill” Hofius, Slc & Captain’s Orderly de 1uxe, did hit the “Old Man” for a dime to buy ice cream.

12. Graves, S1c in the Gunner’s gang had a great time wetting Capt. Fraser’s fishing line that night, didn’t he?

13. The time the typhoon hit Okinawa and two PBM’s broke loose and kamikazed the “Y”—after the war was over – - should bring back some memories.

14. “Ace” Siddens, S1c, skipper of our #4 rearming boat still doesn’t mind going out in a storm if they’ll give him a boat that runs.

15. Remember that Sunday morning in Kerama when our church party saw the light, took the pledge and became hard, fast Christians through the medium of only one Kamikaze hit on the St. George’s fantail during divine services?

16. Then Machinist “Pappy” Sims reconstructed a Jap suicide boat on the fantail and got it ready for launching, only to have the concussion of gun 53” blow it sky high during GQ.

17. Just in case you’re doubting the returning veteran, there was a dog at Keramo which swam back to the ship four times in one day, after having been deposited on the beach.

18. Famous last words: “Don’t drop the load until you have permission from the Officer of the Dock.” --- “Come alongside and take the worm in tow.” \ 19. That short guy with the spray gun in the shipyard in San Pedro. I wonder how many guys he painted trying to hit the ship?

20. “Fatboy” Steele, AMMH1c, is still trying to find out the password at Zamami Jima.

21. “Pappy” Patrick, S1c, will vouch for the way the “Black Widows” took care of us at Saipan.

22. Our pooch mascot, “Rusty” wouldn’t move in the morning until she had a shot of jamoko with the boys—with cream and sugar.

23. “John L. Sullivan” Houpt, TM2c, came back from a big liberty in Pearl Harbor and decided to teach the boys discipline—one at a time.

24. “Barney” Blough, SSML2c, really did have to use a life preserver to get out of the laundry one day.

25. “Bill” Booth, QM2c, does have a cousin on every ship in the Pacific Fleet, especially the HOPE.


                         WE CAME, WE SAW, WE CONQUERED
                          IT COULD HAPPEN ONLY ON THE “Y”.

In spite of the many eccentric happenings tabulated above, and what may appear to the layman to be the perfect example of how not to run a naval vessel, the YAKUTAT has done an excellent job out here. At least we dare anyone from any other AVP to change our minds on that score.

While not classified strictly as a combatant vessel, but rather as one of the long line of fleet auxiliaries, the action of our ship and crew during those dark days and long nights at Saipan, Palau, and Okinawa proved to many higher ups just what one of those small units can produce when the chips are down. The actions of our Aircraft Maintenance Unit has been highly praised by all who have come in contact with the results of their labors. Our boat crews have rescued some 50 persons from the briny deep since our arrival in the Forward Area 16 months ago. In this connection, the work of such stalwarts with the boats “Rugged” Bermudoz, S1c: “Chicken” Knight, S1c “Mike” Motel, S1c: “Slim” Wright, Bmlc; “Noodles” Fisher BM2c, and Lt (jg) “Willie” Marshall cannot be too highly praised. In addition, we have delivered some 2,500,000 gallons of aviation gasoline to such assorted craft as PBM’s PBY’s, Torpedo Boats, LCT’s and AVP’s to mention a few. Our prime achievement in the deliver of gasoline was the feat of pumping 2300 gallons into a thirsty PBM of VPB-27 in nine minutes flat.

These are only a few of our accomplishments since joining the Fifth Fleet at Saipan in July 1944. Our highly successful experiments and performances cannot be traced to any man, men, division or department due to a combination of efforts on the part of all.

It is our sincere hope that this little speel will keep you from forgetting all of us in the years to come. We have tried to compile all this dope in a manner which we hope will ruin a page of your scrapbook for a long time to come. It will also be very handy for lighting a cigarette or two.

All of us can look back on our cruise aboard the YAKUTAT with the memory of at least one good liberty, or some funny happening, I am sure. It is the wish of the writer that from time to time, in time to come, one or more of these good liberties or funny happenings will be refreshed in your memory and found good for another laugh, or at least a partial smirk. [12]

Post-World War II[edit]

Although V-J Day meant that offensive operations against the Japanese ceased, it only meant the beginning of the long occupation of Japan and its possessions. Yakutat remained at Chimu Bay for the rest of August and for most of September 1945, before she departed for Japanese home waters on 20 September 1945, escorting St. George.

En route, the two seaplane tenders caught up with Vice Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf's Task Unit 56.4.3, formed around the battleships USS Tennessee (BB-43) and USS California (BB-44), and became units of Task Force 56, and later, when redesignated, as Task Force 51.

Yakutat reached Wakanoura Wan, Honshū, on 22 September 1945, finding seaplane tender USS Floyds Bay (AVP-40) already there and operating as a tender for seaplanes. Yakutat underwent a brief availability alongside destroyer tender USS Cascade (AD-26) before she commenced her seaplane tending operations at Wakanoura Wan. She operated as a tender for seaplanes using that port until 12 October 1945, when she shifted to Hiro Wan, where she performed seaplane tender operations and seadrome control duties for a little over a month.

Underway on 14 November 1945, Yakutat arrived at Sasebo, Japan, on 15 November 1945, stayed there until 19 November 1945.

On 19 November 1945, Yakutat departed Sasebo for the United States with 58 officers and 141 enlisted men embarked as passengers. After stopping at Midway Atoll for fuel on 27 November 1945, she continued on, bound for the Pacific Northwest.


Reaching Port Townsend, Washington, on 6 December 1945, Yakutat transferred all her passengers to landing craft infantry USS LCI-957 for further transportation, then shifted to Sinclair Inlet, Washington, where she offloaded all bombs and ammunition before reporting on 7 December 1945 to the Bremerton Group of the Pacific Reserve Fleet at Bremerton, Washington. Yakutat subsequently shifted south to the naval air station at Alameda, California, where she was decommissioned on 29 July 1946.

United States Coast Guard service[edit]

USCGC Yakutat (WHEC-380), ex-WAVP-380, in 1969.

Barnegat-class ships were very reliable and seaworthy and had good habitability. The Coast Guard viewed them as ideal for ocean station duty, in which they would perform weather reporting and search and rescue tasks, once they were modified by having a balloon shelter added aft and having oceanographic equipment, an oceanographic winch, and a hydrographic winch installed. After World War II, the U.S. Navy transferred 18 of the ships to the Coast Guard, in which they were known as the Casco-class cutters.

The Navy loaned Yakutat to the Coast Guard on 31 August 1948. In September 1948, she was towed to the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco, California, where she underwent conversion for service as a weather-reporting ship. The Coast Guard commissioned her as USCGC Yakutat (WAVP-380) at San Francisco on 23 November 1948.

North Atlantic operations 1949–1967[edit]

Proceeding from San Francisco via the Panama Canal and Kingston, Jamaica, Yakutat eventually commenced ocean station patrol duties in the North Atlantic Ocean, based at Portland, Maine, in late January 1949. Her primary duty was to gather meteorological data. While on duty in one of these stations, she was required to patrol a 210-square-mile (544-square-kilometer) area for three weeks at a time, leaving the area only when physically relieved by another Coast Guard cutter or in the case of a dire emergency. While on station, she acted as an aircraft check point at the point of no return, a relay point for messages from ships and aircraft, as a source of the latest weather information for passing aircraft, as a floating oceanographic laboratory, and as a search-and-rescue ship for downed aircraft and vessels in distress, and she engaged in law enforcement operations.

Yakutat shifted her home port to New Bedford, Massachusetts, later in 1949, and operated out of New Bedford until 1971, continuing her ocean station patrols. Periodically, she conducted naval refresher training in company with U.S. Navy ships out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In February 1952, Yakutat proceeded to the scene of an unusual maritime disaster that occurred off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Two commercial tankersSS Fort Mercer and SS Pendleton – each broke in two and sank almost simultaneously. Yakutat, as the ship in tactical command of the rescue efforts, consequently picked up men from both ships and directed the rescue efforts of other participating vessels in the vicinity. Members of her crew were awarded one gold and five silver Lifesaving Medals for their achievemnents in this rescue operation.

In December 1952, Yakutat rescued survivors of a plane crash off the entrance to St. George's Harbor, Bermuda, with her small boats.

On 14 September 1953, Yakutat performed emergency repairs by constructing a concrete bulkhead aboard and pumping the bilges of the Spanish merchant ship Marte, which had a large hole at the waterline, about 750 nautical miles (1,390 km) southeast of Naval Station Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada.

In the autumn of 1955, Yakutat assisted the Portuguese fishing vessel Jose Alberto.

Yakutat assisted the damaged Liberian merchant ship Bordabere 400 nautical miles (740 km) south of Cape Race, Newfoundland, between 27 April 1965 and 3 May 1965. Yakutat‍ '​s crew shored up Bordabere, pumped out seawater that had flooded her, and escorted her to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

In late November 1965, Yakutat assisted the American merchant ships American Pilot and Maumee Sun after they collided west of the Cape Cod Canal.

Yakutat was reclassified as a high endurance cutter and redesignated WHEC-380 on 1 May 1966. On 26 September 1966, her Navy loan to the Coast Guard came to an end and she was transferred permanently from the Navy to the Coast Guard.

Vietnam War service 1967–1968[edit]

USCGC Yakutat (WHEC-380) during her Vietnam War service.

In 1967, Yakutat was assigned to Coast Guard Squadron Three, which was designated Task Unit 70.8.6. The squadron was activated at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on 24 April 1967 when its commander, Captain John E. Day, hoisted his pennant aboard his flagship, the Coast Guard cutter USCGC Gresham (WHEC-387).

Coast Guard Squadron Three was tasked to operate, in conjunction with U.S. Navy forces, in Operation Market Time, the interdiction of communist coastal arms and munitions traffic along the coastline of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The squadron's other Vietnam War duties included fire support for ground forces, resupplying Coast Guard and Navy patrol boats, and search-and-rescue operations. Serving in the squadron with Gresham and Yakutat were the cutters USCGC Bering Strait (WHEC-382), USCGC Barataria (WHEC-381), and USCGC Half Moon (WHEC-378); like Yakutat and Gresham, they all were former Navy Barnegat-class ships. They departed Pearl Harbor on 26 April 1967 and reported to Commander, United States Seventh Fleet, for Market Time duty on 4 May 1967. They were joined by Navy radar picket destroyer escorts (DERs) of Escort Squadrons 5 and 7.

The ten Market Time ships arrived at Subic Bay in the Philippines on 10 May 1967. The five Coast Guard cutters and five Navy destroyer escorts continuously manned four Market Time stations off Vietnam, while only Navy warships served on two Taiwan patrol stations. One ship rotated duty as the station ship in Hong Kong. Yakutat remained in the Western Pacific until 1 January 1968, then returned to the United States.

Honors and awards[edit]

Yakutat earned two campaign stars during this Vietnam War tour, for:

  • Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase II 31 May 1967
  • Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase III 1 July 1967 – 18 December 1967

North Atlantic service 1968–1970[edit]

Yakutat returned to her routine North Atlantic duties out of New Bedford in 1968. On 28 February 1969 she suffered minor damage when the fishing vessel Seafreeze Atlantic collided with her while docking at New Bedford.

Vietnam War service 1970[edit]

In 1970, Yakutat was reassigned to Coast Guard Squadron Three for a second tour of duty in Vietnam, and resumed her Operation Market Time duties on 17 May 1970. She completed her tour on 31 December 1970.

Honors and awards[edit]

Yakutat earned two more campaign stars during this Vietnam War tour, for:

  • Sanctuary Counteroffensive 10 June 1970 – 30 June 1970
  • Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase VII 1 July 1970 – 6 July 1970, 16 July 1970 to 19 July 1970, 30 July 1970 – 7 August 1970, 17 August 1970 – 22 August 1970, 24 August 1970 – 28 August 1970, 27 October 1970 – 6 November 1970, and 22 November 1970 – 1 January 1971

Other awards[edit]

Yakutat also received a Navy Unit Commendation and a Meritorious Unit Commendation during her Coast Guard career.


The Coast Guard decommissioned Yakutat on 1 January 1971 in South Vietnam and transferred her to the U.S. Navy.[13]

Republic of Vietnam Navy service[edit]

After her antisubmarine warfare equipment had been removed, the U.S. Navy transferred Yakutat to South Vietnam on 10 January 1971, and she was commissioned into the Republic of Vietnam Navy as the frigate RVNS Tran Nhat Duat (HQ-03).[14][15] By mid-1972, six other former Casco-class cutters had joined her in South Vietnamese service, and they were known as the Tran Quang Khai-class frigates. They were the largest warships in the South Vietnamese inventory, and their 5-inch (127-millimeter) guns were South Vietnam's largest naval guns. Tran Nhat Duat and her sisters fought alongside U.S. Navy ships during the final years of the Vietnam War, patrolling the South Vietnamese coast and providing gunfire support to South Vietnamese forces ashore.

When South Vietnam collapsed at the end of the Vietnam War in late April 1975, Tran Nhat Duat became a ship without a country. She fled to Subic Bay in the Philippines, packed with South Vietnamese refugees. On 22 and 23 May 1975, a U.S. Coast Guard team inspected Tran Nhat Duat and five of her sister ships, which also had fled to the Philippines in April 1975. One of the inspectors noted: "These vessels brought in several hundred refugees and are generally rat-infested. They are in a filthy, deplorable condition. Below decks generally would compare with a garbage scow."[16]

Acquisition for spare parts by the Philippines[edit]

The United States formally transferred Tran Nhat Duat to the Republic of the Philippines on 5 April 1976. She did not enter Philippine Navy service; instead she and her sister ship RVNS Tran Quoc Toan (HQ-06) were cannibalized for spare parts to allow the Philippines to keep four other sister ships in commission in the Philippine Navy, in which they were known as the Andrés Bonifacio-class frigate.[17]

The former Tran Nhat Duat was discarded in 1982 and probably scrapped.[18]


  1. ^ a b Per the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (see and (see, Yakutat was transferred to the Navy sometime in 1970, but the Coast Guard Historian's Office (see placed her Coast Guard decommissioning date at 1 January 1971; her transfer to South Vietnam on 10 January 1971 (per both the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships and entries) suggests that might have been the date of both her return to the U.S. Navy and her transfer to South Vietnam, as these events happened simultaneously with her sister ships.
  2. ^ Per the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (see and (see, although the Coast Guard Historian's office places the transfer date at 1 January 1971, which was simultaneous with her decommissioning. Given that her sisters were decommissioned, transferred to the Navy, and transferred simultaneously, and this may have been the case with Yakutat, and may have occurred on either 1 January 1971 or 10 January 1971.
  3. ^ Per (see, the ship was returned to the Navy during 1970, but the U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office (see places her Coast Guard decommissioning date at 1 January 1971
  4. ^ Sources do not specify which ships of the class mounted mortars or how many they mounted; see Jane‍ '​s Fighting Ship 1973-1974, p. 592.
  5. ^ a b c d This quote, from Yakutat‍ '​s Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships entry at, is unattributed
  6. ^ Bingham’s heroism was rewarded for action before being transferred to the Yakutat.
  7. ^ The reference to a “fighting ship” came after a liberty in San Pedro. Some of the crew took a “red car” into L.A. for activity which left several of them in the brig. A merchant marine in the Victory café insulted one of the Yakutat’s “old salts”, nicknamed “Frenchy”. Frenchy was an older seaman of 36 years of age and of relatively small stature. Frenchy cleaned the café up with very little assistance from his shipmates.
  8. ^ The catch was that the mighty Y was getting sent to a forward operating position, more forward than their "fleet auxiliary" classification might have reassured the ship’s company.
  9. ^ Mog Mog was known as the “green beer” island. It was used for recreation. Sailors were given a ration of two cans of “green” beer upon liberty there.
  10. ^ Upon arrival at Kerama Retto, Tokyo rose welcomed the mighty Y and named some of the crew members on board. She ended her greeting with “see you tonight boys”.
  11. ^ The seamen that were rewarded purple hearts were manning a 20mm gun when they were blown from their position. The ship was at general quarters and there was enemy fire directed at nearby ships but none directed at the Y. No one saw what happened just that the men had been blown from their position. It was speculated by many of the crew that the damage was due to poor fire control from another US ship rather than enemy fire.
  12. ^ The Yakutat newsletter is furnished by Petty Officer, 3rd class Glen D. Hundley. Glen served as the Fire Control man (right braid) from 31 March 1944 to 31 January 1946. This newsletter was written by Ensign Walker who kept a non-official journal of the ship’s activities during the Yakutat’s deployment in the pacific theater. The cover was done by a member of the ship’s company, RE Johnson. At the time of this newsletter’s issue, the ship was deployed near Kure, Japan during the occupation. The text here was typed from the original copy issued by Ensign Walker.
  13. ^ Per the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (see and (see, Yakutat was transferred to the Navy sometime in 1970, but the Coast Guard Historian's Office (see places her Coast Guard decommissioning date at 1 January 1971; her transfer to South Vietnam on 10 January 1971 (per both the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships and entries) suggests that that might have been the date of both her return to the U.S. Navy and her transfer to South Vietnam, as these events happened simultaneously with her sister ships.
  14. ^ Per Janes‍ '​s Fighting Ships 1973-1974, p. 592, "HQ" is an abbreviation for "Hai Quan", Vietnamese for "Navy", used for all Republic of Vietnam Navy ships.
  15. ^ This article assumes that the authoritative Jane‍ '​s Fighting Ships 1973-1974, p. 592, is correct about the ship‍ '​s designation in South Vietnamese service as HQ-03; the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS) (see, (see, and the Inventory of VNN‍ '​s Battle Ships Part 1 (see Part 1 at agree. However, Conway‍ '​s All the World‍ '​s Fighting Ships 1947-1982 Part II: The Warsaw Pact and Non-Aligned Nations, p. 369, states that the ship‍ '​s South Vietnamese designation was HQ-16, which the other sources state was the designation assigned to her sister ship Ly Thuong Kiet. The United States Coast Guard Historian‍ '​s Office (see is silent on her designation in South Vietnamese service.
  16. ^ This quote, from the U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office at, is unattributed.
  17. ^ NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive at AVP-32 Yakutat WAVP-380 / WHEC-380 Yakutat.
  18. ^ United States Coast Guard Historian‍ '​s Office at

See also[edit]