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USS Matagorda (AVP-22)
USS Matagorda (AVP-22) in 1942 - 19-N-28802
USS Matagorda (AVP-22) photographed on 3 April 1942 at Boston, Massachusetts, in her original configuration. She is painted in Measure 12 Modified camouflage.
Career (USA) US flag 48 stars.svg Naval jack of the United States (1908–1912)
Name: USS Matagorda
Namesake: Matagorda Bay, on the southeastern coast of Texas
Builder: Boston Navy Yard, Boston, Massachusetts
Laid down: 6 September 1940
Launched: 18 March 1941
Sponsored by: Miss Nancy Rowland Brand
Commissioned: 16 December 1941
Decommissioned: 20 February 1946
Reclassified: Miscellaneous auxiliary (as press information ship), AG-122, 30 July 1945
Small seaplane tender, AVP-22, 10 September 1945
Struck: 1 July 1968
Fate: Loaned to U.S. Coast Guard 7 March 1949
Returned to U.S. Navy 30 October 1968
Sunk as target October 1969
Notes: Served as U.S. Coast Guard cutter USCGC Matagorda (WAVP-373), later WHEC-373, 1949-1967
General characteristics
Class & type: Barnegat-class small seaplane tender
Displacement: 1,766 tons (light)
2,750 tons (full load)
Length: 311 ft 8 in (95.00 m)
Beam: 41 ft 1 in (12.52 m)
Draft: 13 ft 6 in (4.11 m)
Installed power: 6,000 horsepower (4.48 megawatts)
Propulsion: Diesel engines, two shafts
Speed: 18.6 knots (34.4 km/h)
Complement: 215 (ship's company)
367 (including aviation unit)
Sensors and
processing systems:
Radar; sonar
Armament: As built:
2 × single 5-inch (127 mm) 38-caliber dual-purpose gun mounts
4 × 1.1-inch (28 mm) antiaircraft guns
10 × 20-millimeter antiaircraft guns
2 × depth charge tracks
Later:
2 × single 5-inch (127 mm) 38-caliber dual-purpose gun mounts
4 × dual 20-mm antiaircraft gun mounts
2 × depth charge tracks
Aviation facilities: Supplies, spare parts, repairs, and berthing for one seaplane squadron; 80,000 US gallons (300,000 L) aviation fuel

USS Matagorda (AVP-22/AG-122) was a United States Navy Barnegat-class seaplane tender in commission from 1941 to 1946.

Construction, commissioning, and shakedownEdit

Matagorda (AVP 22) was laid down by Boston Navy Yard, Boston, Massachusetts, on 6 September 1940. She was launched on 18 March 1941, sponsored by Miss Nancy Rowland Brand, and commissioned at Boston on 16 December 1941 with Commander Stanley J. Michael in command.

Matagorda remained at Boston until 3 April 1942, when she departed for shakedown and training in Chesapeake Bay. She returned to Boston on 22 April 1942.

World War II serviceEdit

Operations in the Galápagos Islands, Panama Canal Zone, and CaribbeanEdit

After returning to Boston, Matagorda joined Patrol Wings Atlantic (PatWingLant) and loaded torpedoes and ordnance stores at Newport, Rhode Island. On 12 May 1942 she departed Newport and moved to Seymour Island[1] in the Galápagos Islands. Arriving there on 25 May 1942, she relieved seaplane tender USS Osmond Ingram (AVD-2) and began tending seaplanes of Patrol Wing 3 (PatWing 3).

After these duties ended, Matagorda arrived at Coco Solo in the Panama Canal Zone on 20 June 1942. She escorted merchant ships to Cuba and Jamaica before resuming seaplane tending duty on 22 July 1942, this time from bases in Central America and South America: She operated out of Puerto Castilla, Honduras, and Cartagena, Colombia until returning to the Panama Canal Zone on 12 November 1942.

Following a supply and escort run to Puerto Rico and Trinidad, Matagorda departed Port of Spain, Trinidad, on 23 November 1942 and on 4 December 1942 arrived at Boston for alterations and overhaul.

Voyage to NewfoundlandEdit

on 5 January 1943, Matagorda departed Boston to carry troops and supplies to Naval Station Argentia, Newfoundland, returning to Boston on 14 January 1943.

Return to the CaribbeanEdit

After loading aviation supplies at Norfolk, Virginia, Matagorda arrived at San Juan, Puerto Rico, on 11 February 1943. She operated primarily out of Puerto Rico until early August 1943, escorting merchant ships and transporting ordnance and aviation supplies to bases in the Caribbean. She called at the Virgin Islands, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Trinidad.

North Atlantic operationsEdit

Matagorda departed San Juan on 3 August 1943 and steamed via Bermuda and Norfolk to Argentia, where she arrived on 26 August 1943. On 28 August 1943 she joined Convoy UT-1 and made a voyage to the United Kingdom, arriving at Pembroke, Wales, on 4 September 1943. After unloading cargo, she sailed via Iceland and Boston to Norfolk, arriving there on 27 September 1943. Between 5 October 1943 and 5 March 1944 she made two more round trips across the Atlantic Ocean. She carried men and cargo to Pembroke and Bristol, England, and made escort and supply runs to Casablanca, French Morocco, and Gibraltar.

South Atlantic operationsEdit

Departing Boston on 18 April 1944, Matagorda loaded seaplane supplies at Bayonne, New Jersey, and departed Bayonne on 22 April 1944 for Brazil, reaching Recife, Brazil, on 6 May 1944. Until the beginning of April 1945, she conducted extensive training and supply operations and ranged Brazilian waters from Belém to Florianópolis. In late May 1944 and again in July 1944 she tended seaplanes at Florianópolis.

Matagorda interrupted this duty on 24 July 1944 and 25 July 1944, when she searched for and rescued the entire crew of 67 men from the American merchant ship SS William Gaston, torpedoed by a German submarine late on 23 July 1944 off the Brazilian coast. Again, while operating out of Fortaleza, she rescued five survivors of a downed Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina flying boat plus the crew from an assisting Martin PBM Mariner flying boat on 29 August 1944.

Matagorda made numerous runs along the Brazilian coast during supply and training missions. Based at Recife, she visited many Brazilian ports including Vitória, Natal, the island of Fernando de Noronha, Bahia, and Rio de Janeiro.

Voyages to the CaribbeanEdit

Matagorda departed Recife on 1 April 1945, touched briefly at San Juan, Puerto Rico, and reached Norfolk on 14 April 1945. From 2 June 1945 to 6 July 1945 she made two runs to Bermuda and Puerto Rico, returning to Norfolk with men of seaplane squadrons.

Conversion to press information shipEdit

Matagorda steamed to New York City on 10 July 1945 to begin conversion to a press information ship. As such her mission would be to provide all proper new facilities for the press and transport them to the coast of Japan where they would cover operations “Olympic” and “Coronet”, projected for the invasion of Japan in 1945 and 1946. She was reclassified as a "miscellaneous auxiliary" and redesignated AG-122 on 30 July 1945.

The cessation of hostilities with Japan and end of World War II came on 15 August 1945 made the invasion of Japan unnecessary, and Matagorda's conversion was halted in early September 1945.

Post-World War II U.S. Navy serviceEdit

Converted back into a seaplane tender and once again designated AVP-22 as of 10 September 1945, Matagorda departed New York City for Norfolk on 17 October 1945. On 31 October 1945 she departed Norfolk for Orange, Texas. Arriving there on 5 November 1945 for inactivation, she was decommissioned on 20 February 1946 and laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet's Texas Group at Orange.

United States Coast Guard serviceEdit

USCGC Matagorda (WHEC-373)

USCGC Matagorda (WHEC-373) on 21 November 1966.

Matagorda was loaned to the United States Coast Guard on 7 March 1949 and commissioned on 8 June 1949 as the Coast Guard cutter USCGC Matagorda (WAVP-373). Reclassified as a high endurance cutter and redesignated WHEC-373 on 1 May 1966, her primary duty was to patrol ocean stations in the North Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean, providing weather-reporting services and engaging in search-and-rescue and law-enforcement operations.

Decommissioned in October 1967, Matagorda was returned to the U.S. Navy in October 1968 and sunk as a target off Hawaii in October 1969.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. Matagorda's Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships entry (see http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/m6/matagorda.htm) does not specify whether this was North Seymour Island or South Seymour Island, also known as Baltra Island.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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