Torpedo Boat Tender (AGP)
|AGP-786||Garrett County||(ex LST-786)|
|AGP-821||Harnett County||(ex LST-821)|
|AGP-838||Hunterdon County||(ex LST-838)|
|AGP-1176||Graham County||(ex LST-1176)|
USS Pompey, a 1,285 gross ton (3,085 tons displacement) freighter, was built in 1897 at Sunderland, England, as the British merchant ship Harlech. She was purchased in April 1898 and commissioned as USS Pompey in May 1898 for service as a collier in the Spanish-American War. Pompey recommissioned in 1901 for service in the Asiatic Fleet and supported U.S. naval forces in the Far East until decommissioned at the Cavite Naval Station in June 1905. Placed back in commission in July 1906, the collier continued to serve on the Asiatic Station with the exception of a period in 1907-1909 when she was assigned to the Pacific Fleet.
By 1912 Pompey had been redesignated as a Tender to Torpedo Vessels and, along with the old wooden receiving ship Mohican, helped support the Asiatic Fleet's five destroyers. Pompey was decommissioned at the Olongapo Naval Station in February 1916. After being recommissioned in November 1917 Pompey probably served as a storeship -- a role she had assumed at least part of the time as early as 1915. She was designated AF-5 in July 1920, was decommissioned in July 1921, and was stricken from the Navy List in March 1922.
The fourth Iris (ScStr: 1,923; l. 321'0"; b. 39'0"; dr. 24'0"; s. 10 k.; cpl. 124; a. none) was built in 1885 by A. Leslie & Co., Newcastle, England, and was purchased by the Navy from Miami Steamship Co. 25 May 1898 for service in the Spanish American War. She departed Manila 20 May 1909 for San Francisco where she was converted to a torpedo boat tender. She was placed out of service 15 October and recommissioned the same day. During the following years she served as parent ship for the Pacific Torpedo Fleet operating off the West Coast of the United States.
Motor Torpedo Boat Tender (AGP)
(PG-52: dp. 1,922 (f.); l. 267'; b. 35'4"; dr. 17'; s. 16 k.; Cpl. 139; a. 2 3") The seventh Niagara (PG-52), a yacht built in 1929 as Hi-Esmare by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, was purchased by the Navy 16 October 1940. During overhaul in the New York Navy Yard in the summer of 1943, she fitted out to serve at Newport, R. 1. as a school ship for a training squadron of motor torpedo boats. This duty continued until she headed for the Southwest Pacific 27 November via the Panama Canal and the Society Islands. Enroute, on 13 January 1943 Niagara was reclassified as the Navy's first motor torpedo boat tender and redesignated AGP-1.
(AGP-2; dp. 2,350; l. 278'11" ; b. 38'3" ; dr. 17'; s. 14 k.; cpl. 116; a. 13") Hilo (AGP-2), originally yacht Caroline, was built in 1931 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, and was purchased by the Navy as Moana from William B. Leeds 28 November 1941. Converted to Navy use at Craig Shipbuilding Co., Long Beach, Calif., she commissioned as Hilo (PG-58) 11 June 1942. One of the first ships to be used as a motor torpedo boat tender, Hilo departed Long Beach to load supplies at San Diego 19 June and sailed for Pearl Harbor 28 June.
(PG-55: dp. 1,780; l. 294'; b. 38'2"; dr. 16'; s. 15 k.; cpl. 259; a. 2 3") The second Jamestown was built as Savarona in 1928 by Pusey & Jones Corp., Wilmington, Del., for Mrs. Thomas S. Cadwallader of Philadelphia. While Mrs. Cadwallader operated her, Savarona was said to be the largest and most luxurious yacht in the world. Colonel William Boyce Thompson purchased the palatial vessel in 1929 and renamed her Alder. Alder was acquired by the Navy at New York 6 December 1940; converted into a gunboat in the Fletcher Division Shipyard of Bethlehem Shipbuilding Co., Hoboken, N. J.; renamed Jamestown and designated PG-55; and commissioned at New York Navy Yard 26 May 1941. Jamestown's first summer in the Navy was devoted to training Naval Academy midshipmen. She sailed to Annapolis 1 June to embark her first detachment of 100 third-class men and 3 instructors for a 2-week training cruise to Norfolk. At the end of the summer, after completing a number of similar cruises, Jamestown steamed to New York to be fitted out as a motor-torpedo-boat tender. When final conversion was completed, she sailed to Melville, R.I., to assist in establishing the Motor Torpedo Boat Training Center and to serve as training ship and tender for the boats of Squadron 4 while she readied herself for combat.
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