USS Matagorda (AVP-22)
|Name:||USS Matagorda (AVP-22)|
|Namesake:||Matagorda Bay, on the southeastern coast of Texas|
|Builder:||Boston Navy Yard, Boston, Massachusetts|
|Laid down:||6 September 1940|
|Launched:||18 March 1941|
|Sponsored by:||Miss Nancy Rowland Brand|
|Commissioned:||16 December 1941|
|Fate:||Loaned to U.S. Coast Guard 7 March 1949|
|Struck:||1 July 1968|
|Acquired:||Returned by U.S. Coast Guard 30 October 1968|
|Fate:||Sunk as target October 1969|
|Name:||USCGC Matagorda (WAVP-373)|
|Namesake:||Previous name retained|
|Acquired:||Loaned by U.S. Navy to U.S. Coast Guard 7 March 1949|
|Commissioned:||8 June 1949|
|Reclassified:||High endurance cutter, WHEC-373, 1 May 1966|
|Decommissioned:||15 October 1967|
|Fate:||Returned to U.S. Navy 30 October 1968|
|General characteristics (seaplane tender)|
|Class and type:||Barnegat-class small seaplane tender|
|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)|
|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:||2,515.2 tons (full load) in 1965|
|Length:||311 ft 7 in (94.97 m) overall; 300 ft 0 in (91.44 m) between perpendiculars|
|Beam:||41 ft 0 in (12.50 m) maximum|
|Draft:||12 ft 5 in (3.78 m) maximum in 1967|
|Installed power:||6,000 bhp (4,500 kW) in 1967|
|Propulsion:||Fairbanks-Morse direct reversing diesel engines, two shafts; 166,430 US gallons (630,000 L) of fuel|
|Complement:||149 (10 officers, 3 warrant officers, 136 enlisted personnel) in 1967|
USS Matagorda (AVP-22/AG-122) (i//) was a United States Navy Barnegat-class seaplane tender in commission from 1941 to 1946 that saw service in World War II. After the war, she was in commission in the United States Coast Guard as the cutter USCGC Matagorda (WAVP-373), later WHEC-373, from 1949 to 1967.
- 1 Construction, commissioning, and shakedown
- 2 United States Navy service
- 2.1 World War II
- 2.2 Post-World War II
- 3 United States Coast Guard service
- 4 Decommissioning and disposal
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Construction, commissioning, and shakedown
Matagorda was laid down by the Boston Navy Yard at Boston, Massachusetts, on 6 September 1940. She was launched on 18 March 1941, sponsored by Miss Nancy Rowland Brand, and commissioned at Boston on 16 December 1941 with Commander Stanley J. Michael in command.
World War II
Operations in the Galápagos Islands, Panama Canal Zone, and Caribbean
After returning to Boston, Matagorda joined Patrol Wings Atlantic (PatWingLant) and loaded torpedoes and ordnance stores at Newport, Rhode Island. On 12 May 1942 she departed Newport and moved to Seymour Island in the Galápagos Islands. Arriving there on 25 May 1942, she relieved the seaplane tender USS Osmond Ingram (AVD-9) and began tending seaplanes of Patrol Wing 3 (PatWing 3).
After these duties ended, Matagorda arrived at Coco Solo in the Panama Canal Zone on 20 June 1942. She escorted merchant ships to Cuba and Jamaica before resuming seaplane tending duty on 22 July 1942, this time from bases in Central America and South America: She operated out of Puerto Castilla, Honduras, and Cartagena, Colombia until returning to the Panama Canal Zone on 12 November 1942.
Voyage to Newfoundland
Return to the Caribbean
After loading aviation supplies at Norfolk, Virginia, Matagorda arrived at San Juan, Puerto Rico, on 11 February 1943. She operated primarily out of Puerto Rico until early August 1943, escorting merchant ships and transporting ordnance and aviation supplies to bases in the Caribbean. She called at the Virgin Islands, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Trinidad.
North Atlantic operations
Matagorda departed San Juan on 3 August 1943 and steamed via Bermuda and Norfolk to Argentia, where she arrived on 26 August 1943. On 28 August 1943 she joined Convoy UT-1 and made a voyage to the United Kingdom, arriving at Pembroke, Wales, on 4 September 1943. After unloading cargo, she sailed via Iceland and Boston to Norfolk, arriving there on 27 September 1943. Between 5 October 1943 and 5 March 1944 she made two more round trips across the Atlantic Ocean. She carried men and cargo to Pembroke and Bristol, England, and made escort and supply runs to Casablanca, French Morocco, and Gibraltar.
South Atlantic operations
Departing Boston on 18 April 1944, Matagorda loaded seaplane supplies at Bayonne, New Jersey, and departed Bayonne on 22 April 1944 for Brazil, reaching Recife, Brazil, on 6 May 1944. Until the beginning of April 1945, she conducted extensive training and supply operations and ranged Brazilian waters from Belém to Florianópolis. In late May 1944 and again in July 1944 she tended seaplanes at Florianópolis.
Matagorda interrupted this duty on 24 July 1944 and 25 July 1944, when she searched for and rescued the entire crew of 67 men from the American merchant ship SS William Gaston, torpedoed by a German submarine late on 23 July 1944 off the Brazilian coast. Again, while operating out of Fortaleza, she rescued five survivors of a downed Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina flying boat plus the crew from an assisting Martin PBM Mariner flying boat on 29 August 1944.
Matagorda made numerous runs along the Brazilian coast during supply and training missions. Based at Recife, she visited many Brazilian ports including Vitória, Natal, the island of Fernando de Noronha, Bahia, and Rio de Janeiro.
Voyages to the Caribbean
Matagorda departed Recife on 1 April 1945, touched briefly at San Juan, Puerto Rico, and reached Norfolk on 14 April 1945. From 2 June 1945 to 6 July 1945 she made two runs to Bermuda and Puerto Rico, returning to Norfolk with men of seaplane squadrons.
Conversion to press information ship
Matagorda steamed to New York City on 10 July 1945 to begin conversion to a press information ship. As such her mission would be to provide all proper news facilities for the press and transport them to the coast of Japan where they would cover operations “Olympic” and “Coronet”, projected for the invasion of Japan in 1945 and 1946. She was reclassified as a "miscellaneous auxiliary" and redesignated AG-122 on 30 July 1945.
The cessation of hostilities with Japan and end of World War II came on 15 August 1945 made the invasion of Japan unnecessary, and Matagorda's conversion was halted in early September 1945.
Post-World War II
Converted back into a seaplane tender and once again designated AVP-22 as of 10 September 1945, Matagorda departed New York City for Norfolk on 17 October 1945. On 31 October 1945 she departed Norfolk for Orange, Texas. Arriving there on 5 November 1945 for inactivation, she was decommissioned on 20 February 1946 and laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet's Texas Group at Orange.
United States Coast Guard service
Barnegat-class ships were very reliable and seaworthy and had good habitability, and 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 Matagorda to the Coast Guard on 7 March 1949. The Coast Guard converted her into a weather-reporting ship and commissioned her as USCGC Matagorda (WAVP-373) on 8 June 1949.
Matagorda's primary duty during her Coast Guard service was to serve on ocean stations 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.
Matagorda was stationed at Boston, Massachusetts, from her commissioning on 8 June 1949 until 1954. She was used for law enforcement, ocean station, and search and rescue operations in the Atlantic Ocean.
In August 1960, Matagorda towed the disabled fishing vessel Wild Goose II.
On 12 January 1965, Matagorda stood by the disabled Liberian tanker Saint Helena 1,000 nautical miles (1,900 km) northwest of Midway Atoll; Saint Helena had sustained hull damage due to heavy seas and was in danger of breaking in two. Matagorda herself sustained damage; she was relieved by the Coast Guard cutter USCGC Bering Strait (WAVP-382) on 13 January 1965 and proceeded to Hawaii, via Midway, in heavy seas.
In mid-September 1965, Matagorda escorted the disabled Liberian merchant ship Londias to Honolulu.
On 27 February 1966, Matagorda transferred 12,000 US gallons (45,000 L) of water to the disabled merchant ship Union Success and took her under tow until relieved of towing duties.
Matagorda was reclassified as a high endurance cutter and redesignated WHEC-373 on 1 May 1966.
Decommissioning and disposal
Matagorda was decommissioned at Honolulu on 15 October 1967, and she was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 July 1968. On 30 October 1968, the Coast Guard returned her to the Navy, which sank her as a target 72 nautical miles (133 km) off Hawaii in October 1969 in position
- "Matagorda Bay". Dictionary.com. Random House, Inc. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
- Matagorda's Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships entry (see http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/m6/matagorda.htm) does not specify whether this was North Seymour Island or South Seymour Island, also known as Baltra Island.
- 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 Matagorda (AVP-22), 1941-1949
- NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive - USS Matagorda (AVP-22) (AG-122) - USCGC Matagorda (WAVP-373) (WHEC-373)
- United States Coast Guard Historian's Office Matagorda, 1949 WAVP / WHEC-373
- United States Coast Guard Historian's Office: Mackinac, 1949 WHEC-371
- Bering Strait, 1948 WAVP / WHEC-382 Radio Call Sign: NBYG
- Chesneau, Roger. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922–1946. New York: Mayflower Books, Inc., 1980. ISBN 0-8317-0303-2.
- Gardiner, Robert. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1947-1982, Part I: The Western Powers. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1983. ISBN 0-87021-918-9.
Media related to USS Matagorda (AVP-22) at Wikimedia Commons