Friday, February 22, 2013

AGP-8 The USS Wachapreague

I recently was reading a book titled "Devil Boats - The PT War Against Japan" by William Breuer.  It is an interesting book that is about  PT Boats in the Pacfic in WW2.  Toward the end of the book it mentioned the tender Wachapreague in a fight with five Kamikazes in Leyte Bay the Philippines.  I naturally perked up at mention of a local name.  As you know the smaller ships and boats in the Navy were named for bays and channels.  In the case of the USS Wachapreague the name came from the Wachapreague Channel as opposed to the town in Virginia but that is close enough. 

The Wachapreague started out as a Seaplane Tender but was than changed to a PT Boat Tender.  PT Boat Tenders provide the necessary fuel and provisions for the group of torpedo boats she was responsible for.    She was launched 10 July 1943 out at Lake Washington Shipyard, Houghton Washington. 

She spent her time in the Philippines, Borneo, and received four battle stars for her service in WW2. After the war she was transferred to the Coast Guard and renamed the USCGC McCulloch.   In 1972 she was transferred to the South Vietnamese Navy and renamed the RVNS Ngo Quyen.  In 1975 with the collapse of South Vietnam, laden with refugees fled to the Philippines, where she was acquired by the Republic of the Philippines.  She was renamed BRP Gregorio del Pilar and finally decommissioned in 1985 and may have been scrapped in the 1990's.

Interestingly the USS Chincoteague, a sea plane tender, was built about the same time and followed almost the same route as the Wachapreague, serving as a Coast guard vessel, going to Viet Nam and finally ending up in the Philippine Navy.

No comments: