HISTORY: from Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
Munsee (AT-107) was laid down 20 August 1942 by the United Engineering & Drydock Co., Alameda, Calif.; launched 21 January 1943; sponsored by mrs. Lloyd A. Davis; and commissioned 30 October 1943, Lt. John F. Pingley in command.
After shakedown and brief duty from west coast ports, Munsee conducted towing operations between Hawaii and Midway and the Marshalls. At ATF-107, redesignated 15 May 1944, she proceeded, in August, to the Solomons to prepare for the invasion of the Palaus. She arrived off Peleliu, 17 September, and screened transports during the landings. She then joined in the occupation of Ulithi, 23 September, and patrolled Kossol Roads.
(CA-70) was damaged by air attack off Formosa,
13 October, Munsee sailed to take her in tow, rendezvousing 3
days later. Pawnee (ATF-74) gave similar aid to Houston
(CL-81), struck the day after Canberra. Still in range of
land-based aircraft, the two cruisers drew heavy attacks, which Munsee
and Pawnee helped to fight off as they towed the cruisers to
safer waters. Relieved 21 October, she returned to the Palaus for
One of thoughs who boarded the Missy was James H. Jackson Soundman 2nd Class USNR. He was one of several to receive commendations from Fleet Admiral C.W. Nimitz. View: James Jackson history
Towing and salvage duty in the Palaus and at Ulithi continued. On 11 March 1945, she again fought fire in Ulithi Anchorage when Randolph (CV-15) was bombed. She next joined TG 50.8 for at-sea support of the Okinawa assault force. Arriving at Kerama Retto, 8 April, she underwent two enemy air attacks, before sailing to take Sigsbee (DD-502), damaged by enemy aircraft, in two for Guam. Rejoining TG 50.8, she sailed with them through the violent typhoon of 5 June, during which Pittsburgh (CA-72) lost 225 feet of her bow. Munsee sailed in search of the missing section, and shortly reported having sighted it and taken it in tow. The unwieldy tow was safely brought to Guam, with Pakana (ATF-108) assisting in the final stage of the mission.
The tug served in the Marianas through July and August; then, after hostilities ended, proceeded to Okinawa and Japan for salvage and diving operations. She opened 1946 in the Marshalls and operated between the central Pacific and the west coast until steaming to Bikini Atoll in June for operation "Crossroads," test conducted through the summer to determine the effects of atomic weapons on naval ships.
the next two decades the tug performed widely varied duties in
the Pacific, towing assorted ships and craft from the South Pacific to
the Aleutians, and from the California coast to the Asiatic mainland.
The pace quickened during the Korean conflict in the early 1950s and
again in the mid-1960s when the United States mustered forces to stop
Communist aggression in Vietnam.
USS Munsee worked in the
Eniwetok Atoll for about 9 months during 1958, participating in
Operation Hardtack. Ron
McPhail was aboard then and made the report that his health
was still good so far. Munsee
pulled mothballed destroyers from the west coast.
USS Munsee participated in the Atomic tests at Christmas Island in 1962. Ron Lockwood remembers that Munsee's duties were to tow the target sleds to the detonation area, turn on the lights for the B-52's to see, then get out of the area as fast as we could, which only gave us about 2 hours before detonation. If the bomb didn't sink the target we had to go back in and finish the job, which we had to do on several occasions. I believe we were there for 16 bomb drops.
On the morning of 10 July 1965, Munsee headed for Pratas Reef, 200 miles south of Hong Kong. There Frank Knox (DD-742) had grounded. First on the scene, Munsee remained for several days, helping to refloat the destroyer. On the 26th, she made run to Camrahn Bay with barges in tow, and then towed Frank Knox from Taiwan to Japan for repairs.
returned to San Diego 29 October 1965 and for the next
year operated on the west coast. She sailed, 28 October 1966, for the
Gulf of Alaska. Arriving at Adak, 5 November, she spent the next few
months assisting disabled vessels in the Aleutians. She headed south
again in February, arriving at San Diego on the 22d. She operated along
the west coast until 19 October, when she departed again for the Far
East. After a stop at Pearl Harbor, Munsee reached Subic Bay 27
November. On 2 December she sailed for Vung Tau, Vietnam, to assist HCU-1
in transferring equipment between lift craft. The veteran tug continued
to operate in the orient, supporting the struggle against communism in
Southeast Asia until returning to San Diego 28 May 1968. late in the
year she prepared to return to the North Pacific.
Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey - revised by Vern Bouwman