Thursday, February 7, 2013

Seaplane Tender USS Tangier

Another of the many vessels that Dad's ship, Vestal, repaired at Espiritu Santo during February 1943, was the USS Tangier. Tangier was a seaplane tender, one of many such ships that supplemented the aircraft carrier force during the war.

Tangier was launched in 1939 as a cargo ship but was converted to seaplane tender service in 1941. She was moored to the rear of the USS Utah (which was hit and sunk) in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese led a surprise attack on the US Fleet stationed there. During the attack, Tangier′s gunners claimed 3 enemy planes and scored hits on a midget sub that had penetrated the harbor's defenses. In March 1942, Tangier arrived in Nouméa, New Caledonia, to relieve the Curtiss as a tender for PBY Catalina flying boats in their long-range searches for the enemy. She participated in searches to rescue survivors in the Battle of the Coral Sea in April and May of that year. After a complete overhaul in February 1943, she sailed for Espiritu Santo, which is where she was serviced by Vestal, and operated out of this base through 1944. In 1945, her planes participated in anti-shipping missions in the South China Sea, before being assigned occupation duty in Japan.

The USS Tangier was decommissioned in 1947, and scrapped in 1961. Tangier earned 3 Battle Stars for her WWII service.

Sources: NavSource OnlineUSS Vestal War Diary, February 1943

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