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USS Challenge (AT-59) on 14 February 1921
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Class: CHALLENGE (AT-59)
Design: Tug, 1889
Displacement (tons): 255 gross, 515 displ.
Dimensions (feet): 129.25' oa, 122.0' pp x 22.2' x 12.5' mn
Original Armament: 2-3pdr
Later armaments: none (1920)
Complement: 25 (1929)
Speed (kts.): 14
Propulsion (HP): 750
Machinery: Vert. triple expansion, 1 screw
||24 Jun 18
||J. H. Dialogue & Son
||29 Jul 18
||7 Jan 46
||21 Jan 46
||16 Oct 46
||16 Oct 46
Between 1889 and 1898 Lewis Luckenbach of New York had five tugs of varying sizes built by J. H. Dialogue & Son of Camden, N.J. for use at New York and along the East Coast. All were eventually acquired by the Navy, two (AT-51 and YT-24) in 1898 and three (AT-59, SP-458, and SP-1232) in 1917-18. In 1900 Luckenbach sold the first of these tugs, the iron-hulled L. LUCKENBACH, to the Spreckels Tugboat Co. of San Francisco. Renamed DEFIANCE, the tug was used for towing along the Pacific coast and in San Francisco Bay. In December 1902 she raced to the scene of an explosion in the oil tanks of the tanker PROGRESO at the Fulton Iron works in San Francisco and helped fight the fires. By 1917 she belonged to the Shipowners & Merchants Tugboat Co. of San Francisco, from which the Navy acquired her in June 1918 for $150,000. The Navy renamed her CHALLENGE on 15 Aug 18.
CHALLENGE was assigned to Division 2 of the Pacific Fleet and towed oil barges between California and Mexico until 31 May 1920, when she arrived at Bremerton, Wash. She was designated AT-59 when the Navy's standard hull classification scheme was implemented on 17 Jul 20 and at about the same time was reassigned to the 13th Naval District. CHALLENGE served as a harbor tug at Puget Sound Navy Yard until she was decommissioned on 13 May 22 and resumed this duty after she was recommissioned on 21 Feb 25. She was redesignated as a district tug, YT-126, on 31 Jan 36 and was decommissioned for the last time as a tug on 28 May 40. On 7 Oct 40 CHALLENGE was assigned duty as a gate vessel, but she remained self-propelled and retained her YT classification. Placed in service on 29 Nov 40 with an armament of a single machine gun, she served in the 13th Naval District until being reassigned to Dutch Harbor on 15 Apr 44. On 15 May 1944, a mass redesignation of tugs occurred and UNDAUNTED became a medium harbor tug, YTM-126. The 56-year old former tug was towed back to Seattle by PINOLA (ATO-33) in October 1945, placed out of service at Kennyle, Wash., in January 1946, and sold in October 1946.
||Ex merc. DEFIANCE (SP-1015), ex L. LUCKENBACH 1900. To YT-126 31 Jan 36 and YTM-126 15 May 44. Sold to Puget Sound Tug & Barge Co., Seattle, Wash., for $2,100.
Compiled: 19 Feb 2013
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2013