USS Allegheny (ATA-179)
USS Allegheny (ATA-179) underway, date and location unknown.
|Name:||USS Allegheny (ATA-179)|
|Builder:||Levingston Shipbuilding Co., Orange, TX|
|Laid down:||22 May 1944|
|Launched:||30 June 1944|
|Commissioned:||22 September 1944|
|Recommissioned:||25 July 1949|
|Decommissioned:||14 December 1968|
|Reclassified:||Auxiliary Fleet Tug, ATA-179, 15 May 1944|
|Struck:||14 December 1968|
|Fate:||Sold to a commercial interest|
|Class and type:||Sotoyomo-class auxiliary fleet tug|
|Displacement:||534 t.(lt) 835 t.(fl)|
|Length:||143 ft (44 m)|
|Beam:||33 ft (10 m)|
|Draft:||13 ft (4.0 m)|
|Propulsion:||diesel-electric engines, single screw|
|Speed:||13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph)|
The unnamed single-screw ocean-going tug ATA-179 (originally projected as the rescue tug, ATR-106) was laid down on 22 May 1944 at Orange, Texas, by the Levingston Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 30 June 1944; and commissioned on 22 September 1944, Lt. (jg.) Thomas C. McLaren, USNR, in command.
After fitting out, ATA-179 conducted shakedown training out of Galveston, Texas, before undergoing post-shakedown availability at that port until 24 October. Two days later, the tug departed Galveston for Tampa, Florida, with a covered lighter, YF-6H, in tow, and reached her destination on the 28th. Taking the barracks ship APL-19 in tow, the tug sailed for the Panama Canal Zone on 4 November 1944, reaching her destination with her two tows on the 13th. Transiting the Panama Canal three days later, she sailed for Bora Bora, in the Society Islands, on 30 November 1944, and reached her destination on 22 December. On the day after Christmas, ATA-179 got underway for Finschhafen, New Guinea, towing YF-6H. She then towed the lighter to Hollandia, New Guinea, arriving on 12 January 1945, before proceeding on to Leyte with APL-19 and YF-6U in tow, arriving there on 5 February 1945.
Assigned to Service Squadron Three, Service Force, Seventh Fleet, ATA-179 cleared Leyte on 18 February 1945 for the Carolines and reached Ulithi the following day. There, she took two floating workshops, YRD(H)-6 and YRD(M)-6, in tow and departed Ulithi on 24 February for the Philippines. Proceeding via Kossol Roads, in the Palaus, ATA-179 arrived at Leyte on 12 March 1945 and delivered her tows. Departing San Pedro Bay on 24 March, the tug reached Cebu on the 26th and picked up LCT-1'296, towing her to Leyte.
Proceeding thence to Hollandia, New Guinea, having left the tank craft at Leyte, ATA-179 picked up the tow of a dredge and four pontoon barges on 18 April and delivered them to Leyte on 1 May 1945. Returning to Hollandia, the tug then picked up four ammunition barges and towed them to Leyte as well, reaching the Philippines on 7 June. ATA-179 proceeded thence to Espiritu Santo, in the New Hebrides, reaching that port on 26 June 1945. On 7 July, the tug cleared the New Hebrides with Section B of the advanced base sectional dock, ABSD-1, and the open lighter, YC-324, and headed for the Philippines. Proceeding via Hollandia, the tug and her two charges reached their destination on 2 August 1945.
Departing Leyte on 7 August, ATA-179 sailed for the Padaido Islands, and there took David B. Henderson in tow on 12 August. She proceeded thence to Biak, New Guinea, and arrived on the following day. During the week that followed, ATA-179 towed a 400-ton pontoon drydock to Morotai and the covered lighter, YF-621, to Leyte. Proceeding thence to Morotai, the tug towed a 400-ton floating drydock and the motor minesweeper YMS-47 to Samar, and a 100-ton pontoon drydock from there to Subic Bay. For the balance of October 1945, the tug operated in the Philippine Islands, between Samar and Leyte. She towed seven pontoon barges from Samar to Subic Bay (24 to 28 October) and spent the remainder of 1945 and the first few months of the following year, 1946, based at Leyte.
ATA-179 departed Leyte on 30 March 1946. She reached Manus, in the Admiralty Islands, on 6 April and departed there eight days later with a section of ABSD-4 in tow. Touching briefly at Eniwetok and Johnston Island en route, the tug reached Pearl Harbor on 24 May and proceeded thence to the west coast of the United States soon thereafter, towing AFD-2 to San Pedro. She then took LCS-66 to San Diego and arrived there on 12 September. Moving to San Pedro the same day, ATA-179 took APL-43 in tow and sailed for the Canal Zone on 12 October. She reached her destination on the 18th, and departed 11 days later, bound for Jacksonville, Florida with APL-43 and APL-34 in her wake, to deliver her tows to the Florida group of the reserve fleet. With new orders to deliver the barracks ships elsewhere, however, for preservation work, ATA-179 proceeded to Charleston, South Carolina, which she reached on 8 November 1946.
Over the next several months, ATA-179 participated in the demobilization process of many fleet units assigned temporarily to the Commandant, 8th Naval District, and performed tug and tow operations on the Gulf and Florida coasts, ranging from Key West and Mayport to New Orleans, Mobile, and Galveston until she herself was inactivated and placed out of commission, in reserve, at Orange, Texas, on 10 October 1947. On 16 July 1948, she was named Allegheny (ATA-179).
She was recommissioned on 25 July 1949. Allegheny then sailed for the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, arriving on 8 August. She remained there until 26 September, when she sailed for New York. Departing New York on 1 October, Allegheny sailed for the Mediterranean, in company with USS Stallion (ATA-193) and the survey ship USS Maury (AGS-16), reaching Gibraltar on 13 October. Pushing on across the Mediterranean, the survey group put in at Naples, Italy, on the 19th, and at Argostolion, Greece, on the 21st. Sailing for Port Said, Egypt, that same day, the ships reached the northern terminus of the Suez Canal on 24 October and transited that waterway on the 25th, reaching Aden on the 30th.
Allegheny commenced her hydrographic work in that region soon thereafter. Over the next several weeks, she supported Maury as that ship operated in the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman, and the Persian Gulf conducting surveys of the uncharted waters of the Arabian coast. She touched at ports in Saudi Arabia; Kuwait; Bahrain; and Pakistan. The survey ships transited the Suez Canal on 4 May. Allegheny rounded out the deployment with visits to Algiers and Gibraltar before she sailed for the United States, reaching Norfolk on 27 May. She moved to New York soon thereafter, and underwent post-deployment availability at the New York Naval Shipyard from 3 June to 8 September.
Allegheny conducted survey operations at Newport, RI, following her overhaul at New York from 9 to 29 September. She then returned to the naval shipyard following that work, to prepare for another deployment to the Persian Gulf, and sailed for the Mediterranean on 6 October. Reaching Gibraltar on 19 October, Allegheny visited Golfe Juan from 22 to 25 October and touched briefly at Port Said from 30 to 31 October before transiting the Suez Canal and proceeding down the Red Sea. Reaching Bahrain on 11 November, she remained there until the 13th when she got underway for Ras Tanura, making port there later the same day. She spent the remainder of the year 1950 and the first three and one-half months of 1951 operating from that Saudi oil port, ultimately sailing for Suez on 18 April 1951. She wound up the deployment with calls at Port Said, Naples, Algiers, and Gibraltar before she got underway to return to the United States on 18 May.
Arriving at the New York Naval Shipyard on the last day of May 1951, Allegheny remained there through the summer and into September, leaving New York on 17 September for Hampton Roads. Reaching Norfolk the next day, she did not get underway again until 10 October when she sailed for her third deployment to the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern waters. She visited Athens from 30 October to 2 November, and operated briefly in the Mediterranean before transiting the Suez Canal on 5 November. A port call at Aden on 10 November preceded her arrival at Bahrain on the 17th. As in the previous deployment, she conducted survey work in the Bahrain-Ras Tanura area into the following spring, winding up her work at the latter port on 12 April. Transiting the Suez Canal on 24 and 25 April 1952, Allegheny visited Naples and Monaco en route home, ultimately reaching Norfolk on 29 May 1952.
Conversion to a research vessel
Shifting soon thereafter to the New York Naval Shipyard where she arrived on 14 June, Allegheny underwent a major conversion for her new role as research vessel. During the summer of 1952, all armament and towing accessories were removed and her towing winch rotated 90° and modified to perform the functions of a heavy trawling winch. Various hydrographic and bathythermograph winches and booms were installed, as was sonar, dead reckoning, and various electronic equipment. Shipboard spaces were converted to a machine shop, motor generator, and photographic laboratory. A new deckhouse was constructed aft to house underwater sound and electronic equipment.
Assigned to the Commandant, 3rd Naval District, for duty and based at the Naval Supply Center, Bayonne, NJ, Allegheny spent the next 17 years engaged in hydrographic and research functions through the Office of Naval Research, with various research teams from the Hudson Laboratories, Bell Telephone Company, Woods Hole Institute, and Columbia University embarked as the mission required. Generally, her operations consisted of spending months from January through April in the Bermuda-Caribbean area, and the rest of the year in the Long Island-Hudson Canyon region, off New York, and occasionally involved in operations off Cape Hatteras. Ports of call included St. Thomas, Virgin Islands; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Willemstad, Curaçao; Miami and Port Everglades, FL.; and Bermuda. In the spring of 1963 she was assigned to Task Group 89.7 from 24 April to 15 May, an operational commitment occasioned by the disappearance of the nuclear submarine USS Thresher (SSN-593).
Highlighting the latter part of her long tour of research support work was a towing operation—something she had not been configured for in many, many years. Underway from Bayonne on 31 January 1967, Allegheny sailed for Bermuda, arriving on 3 February. No longer possessing a towing engine or fittings, the research vessel had to jury-rig a towing arrangement to the "Monster Buoy" (General Dynamics Buoy "Bravo")- Setting out for the west coast of the United States on 11 February, Allegheny and the "Monster Buoy" headed for the Pacific. Touching briefly at Guantanamo Bay for provisions from 17 to 19 February, Allegheny and her charge transited the Panama Canal on 23 February, and set out for Acapulco on the 25th. En route, the tug and her tow ran into 40-knot winds and 15-foot seas in the Gulf of Tehuantepec, but reached their destination on 4 March. Underway on the 7th, Allegheny delivered her tow one week later, on the 14th, having successfully completed a 32-day, 4,642-mile journey. Retracing her course, the tug returned to Bermuda on 16 April, via Acapulco, the Panama Canal, and Kingston, Jamaica.
Allegheny conducted oceanographic research missions off Bermuda with USNS Mission Capistrano (T-AO-112) from 22 April to 5 May before sailing for Bayonne. Further oceanographic work— off Port Everglades, Fla.—began in June, followed by a visit on 4 July to Washington, B.C. That September, the ship was reassigned from Commandant, 3d Naval District, to Service Squadron 8 on 1 July 1969, and conducted coring operations on the Continental Shelf, off the New York-New Jersey coast from 5 to 11 September. From 18 to 28 September, Allegheny conducted operations with Bang (SS-365) in the Gulf of Maine and Boston area and, from 9 to 20 November with Cutlass (SS-478), in the Virginia capes area, each time under the auspices of Commander, Operational Development Force.
Ultimately declared excess to the needs of the Navy, Allegheny was decommissioned and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 14 December 1968. Towed to Philadelphia and the Inactive Ship Facility there, the ship was turned over to Northwestern Michigan College, Traverse City, Mich., for use as a training ship to prepare young men for merchant service on the Great Lakes. Berthed at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy, the ship served as a training vessel and floating laboratory for a little under a decade. On 27 January 1978, "burdened by frozen spray flung on her superstructure by strong north winds," the ship rolled over at her Maritime Academy dock.
As of 2018, the ship is owned by American Tugs Incorporated, based in Puerto Rico, and is operated commercially under the name Alejandro.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive USS Allegheny (ATA-179)
- "ALEJANDRO". MarineTraffic. Retrieved 12 April 2018.