Wednesday, December 14, 2011

USS Hoga, the heroine tug of Pearl Harbor

The USS Hoga was moored with other ships when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese at 7:50 AM, on December 7, 1941. It was underway within 10 minutes of the first strike, picking up men in the water while she headed to Battleship Row. The USS Arizona was a blazing hulk, but tied up to it was my father's repair ship, the USS Vestal. At 8:30 AM, sailors on the Hoga threw lines to the stricken repair ship, and helped the Vestal clear away from the Arizona.

Having freed the Vestal from destruction, the Hoga next moved to aid the minelayer, USS Oglala at 8:50 AM, and towed her clear of the flaming cruiser, Helena.  Then, it was on to the battleship Nevada, where with another tug, she kept the sinking ship from blocking the channel. From the NevadaHoga returned to Battleship Row, fighting fires on the Maryland and the Tennessee. Finally, she went to work on Arizona, assisting until December 9. In the days after the attack, the Hoga, along with other yard tugs and support craft, provided additional help in cleaning debris from the harbor and performing salvage work on the sunken and battle-damaged ships.

My dad, who was stationed on the Vestal at the time of the attack on December 7,  recalls the various actions of the Hoga, including its rescue of the his ship, in his story, The Heroine of the Day (A Story for My Grandkids). He was one among many survivors who praised the work of this tug on that infamous day.

USS Hoga at Pearl Harbor, 1942

The Hoga performed faithful service throughout the war, and then had a new life for 40 years as a fireboat for the port city of Oakland, California. She was retired in 1994. In 2005, the ownership of Hoga transferred to the City of North Little Rock, although for now, it rests with the reserve fleet in San Francisco.

1 comment:

  1. Mr. Dolan

    I am working with the marketing team for the commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Specifically, my area is digital marketing. I stumbled accross your blog this morning and would like to quote you and use some of your images on our social media channels. I would be happy to share links to any of our digital assets so you can see what we are doing. I hope this interests you and I hope to hear back from you. My email address is