Saturday, December 7, 2013

Another Pearl Harbor Survivor Discovered Afloat in Tacoma

US Coast Guard
From Tug Comanche, currently berthed in Tacoma, Washington:

12-07-12 Much to our amazement today, of all days, we discovered the "hulk" COMANCHE's bow is tied to is a former Coast Guard Cutter that saw action at Pearl Harbor! It was launched in 1927 as the US Coast Guard Cutter TIGER (WSC-152) of the Active Class. While serving, one must note her presence on December 7th, 1941 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where she patrolled the harbor entrance during the Japanese attack, at different points coming under fire from both sides. Her military career ended in 1947, and her civilian life began, eventually leading to her end as a part of a breakwater at Tacoma's Tyee Marina, as seen here. See also Thanks to Kyle Stubbs for the info.

From US Coast Guard list of cutters in Hawaiian waters at time of attack December 7, 1941:

USCGC Tiger (WSC-152); Commanding Officer: CWO William J. Mazzoni, USCG; 125-foot cutter (nicknamed the "Buck and a Quarter Class"); Armament: one 3-inch/23 gun, a few machine guns, and two depth charge racks.
She was commissioned in 1927 during the height of Prohibition. The Tiger was designed to interdict smugglers in small boats who attempted to unload booze from what were known as "Mother Ships" that sailed just outside of U.S. waters. Her commanding officer at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1942 was CWO William J. Mazzoni. Her armament consisted of one 3-inch/23 gun, a few machine guns, and two depth charge racks.
At 06:45 am while on regular patrol, Tiger, intercepted a dispatch from the US Navy destroyer Ward that claimed the destruction of an enemy submarine. Thirty-five minutes later, Tiger detected an underwater object on its rudimentary sonar apparatus near Barber's Point. Believing that this might also be a submarine, Tiger maneuvered to get a better position and stopped both engines to reduce sonar interference. Tiger, however, lost the object and resumed her patrol.
The Tiger continued her patrol eastward toward the Pearl Harbor entrance. At around 0800, to the surprise of the men on board the "buck and a quarter," they came under fire. The fire came from an undetermined source and fell within 100 yards. Mazzoni called the crew to general quarters and observed Japanese planes heading southwest away from Pearl Harbor. Manning the anti-aircraft guns, he ordered no return fire because of the extreme range of the aircraft. The Tiger immediately headed for her designated wartime station off the entrance to Honolulu Harbor. For the remainder of the morning the patrol vessel lay at the entrance and observed the air attack, being out of range to help defend against either of the attacks. The Tiger maintained a patrol off the harbor entrance during the night. In the darkness overly anxious Army units along the shore fired on the cutter.

Tug Comanche photo

1 comment:

  1. Should be placed ashore near Tacoma's fireboat No. 1 as a static display in the Old Town neighborhood facing Commencement Bay. A suitable memorial for those who fought in the Pacific Theater.