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USS Seneca (ATF-91) on 22 May 1945
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Class:        NAVAJO (AT-64)
Design        Navy AT-64
Displacement (tons):        1,091 light, 1,675 max.
Dimensions (feet):        205.0' oa, 195.0' wl x 38.5' e x 15.3' max.
Original Armament:        1-3"/50 (AT 64-66)
Later armaments:        1-3"/50 3-20mm (1942-3: AT-64, 66); 1-3"/50 4-20mm (1942-4: AT 66-76, 81- 98);
1-3"/50 2-40mmS 2-20mmS (1944-45: ATF 66-67, 69-76, 81-82, 84-88, 90-94, 96-98); 1-3"/50 2-40mmS 2-20mmT (1945-55: 12 units upgraded); 1-3"/50 2- 40mmS (1952-63: 23 units);
1-3"/50 (1958-63: 13 units); 1-3"/50 2-20mmS (1961-3: ATF 104, 108, 118, 151, 154)
Complement        89 (1944)
Speed (kts.):        16.5
Propulsion (HP):        3,000
Machinery:        1 screw, G.M. or Busch-Sulzer diesel-electric (4 diesel generators)

Construction:
AT Name Ord. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
64 NAVAJO 15 Aug 38 Bethlehem Steel, Staten Is. 12 Dec 38 17 Aug 39 26 Jan 40
65 SEMINOLE 15 Aug 38 Bethlehem Steel, Staten Is. 16 Dec 38 15 Sep 39 8 Mar 40
66 CHEROKEE 15 Aug 38 Bethlehem Steel, Staten Is. 23 Dec 38 10 Nov 39 26 Apr 40
67 APACHE 1 Apr 41 Charleston SB & DD 8 Nov 41 6 May 42 12 Dec 42
68 ARAPAHO 1 Apr 41 Charleston SB & DD 8 Nov 41 22 Jun 42 20 Jan 43
69 CHIPPEWA 1 Apr 41 Charleston SB & DD 28 Jan 42 25 Jul 42 14 Feb 43
70 CHOCTAW 1 Apr 41 Charleston SB & DD 4 Apr 42 18 Oct 42 21 Apr 43
71 HOPI 1 Apr 41 Charleston SB & DD 6 May 42 7 Sep 42 31 Mar 43
72 KIOWA 1 Apr 41 Charleston SB & DD 22 Jun 42 5 Nov 42 7 Jun 43
73 MENOMINEE 1 Apr 41 United Engineering 27 Sep 41 14 Feb 42 25 Sep 42
74 PAWNEE 1 Apr 41 United Engineering 23 Oct 41 31 Mar 42 7 Nov 42
75 SIOUX 1 Apr 41 United Engineering 14 Feb 42 27 May 42 6 Dec 42
76 UTE 1 Apr 41 United Engineering 27 Feb 42 25 Jun 42 31 Dec 42
81 BANNOCK 25 Aug 41 Charleston SB & DD 4 Aug 42 7 Jan 43 28 Jun 43
82 CARIB 25 Aug 41 Charleston SB & DD 7 Sep 42 7 Feb 43 24 Jul 43
83 CHICKASAW 20 Aug 41 United Engineering 14 Feb 42 23 Jul 42 4 Feb 43
84 CREE 20 Aug 41 United Engineering 31 Mar 42 17 Aug 42 28 Mar 43
85 LIPAN 20 Aug 41 United Engineering 30 May 42 17 Sep 42 29 Apr 43
86 MATACO 20 Aug 41 United Engineering 27 Jun 42 14 Oct 42 29 May 43
87 MORENO 20 Sep 41 Cramp SB 26 Jan 42 9 Jul 42 30 Nov 42
88 NARRAGANSETT 20 Sep 41 Cramp SB 31 Jan 42 8 Aug 42 15 Jan 43
89 NAUSET 20 Sep 41 Cramp SB 10 Jul 42 7 Sep 42 2 Mar 43
90 PINTO 20 Sep 41 Cramp SB 10 Aug 42 5 Jan 43 1 Apr 43
91 SENECA 20 Sep 41 Cramp SB 7 Sep 42 2 Feb 43 30 Apr 43
92 TAWASA 20 Sep 41 Commercial IW 22 Jun 42 22 Feb 43 17 Jul 43
93 TEKESTA 20 Sep 41 Commercial IW 7 Sep 42 20 Mar 43 16 Aug 43
94 YUMA 20 Sep 41 Commercial IW 13 Feb 43 17 Jul 43 31 Aug 43
95 ZUNI 20 Sep 41 Commercial IW 8 Mar 43 31 Jul 43 9 Oct 43

Disposition:
AT Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
64 NAVAJO -- 28 Sep 43 12 Sep 43 Lost --
65 SEMINOLE -- 2 Nov 42 25 Oct 42 Lost --
66 CHEROKEE 29 Jun 46 19 Jul 46 29 Jun 46 Trf. --
67 APACHE 27 Feb 74 30 Mar 74 30 Jun 74 Trf. --
68 ARAPAHO 15 Jan 47 1 Jul 61 1 Jul 61 Trf. --
69 CHIPPEWA 26 Feb 47 1 Sep 61 17 Aug 89 Hulk --
70 CHOCTAW 11 Mar 47 31 Oct 77 Dec 60 Trf. --
71 HOPI 9 Dec 55 1 Jul 63 11 Jun 86 Hulk --
72 KIOWA 16 Aug 72 5 Jun 92 16 Oct 72 Trf. --
73 MENOMINEE 15 Nov 46 1 Nov 59 26 Jan 61 Trf. --
74 PAWNEE 10 Oct 46 1 Sep 62 1 Sep 62 MA 9 Nov 71
75 SIOUX 30 Oct 72 15 Aug 73 30 Oct 72 Trf. --
76 UTE 30 Sep 80 23 Jan 89 30 Sep 80 Trf. --
81 BANNOCK 25 Nov 55 1 Dec 77 3 Oct 62 Trf. --
82 CARIB 24 Jan 47 1 Jul 63 15 Mar 79 Trf. --
83 CHICKASAW 30 Jun 65 15 Apr 76 Jan 66 Trf. --
84 CREE 21 Apr 78 21 Apr 78 27 Aug 78 Tgt. --
85 LIPAN 1980 23 Jan 89 30 Sep 80 Trf. --
86 MATACO 1 Oct 77 1 Oct 77 1 Apr 79 Sold --
87 MORENO 13 Aug 46 1 Sep 61 15 Dec 87 Hulk --
88 NARRAGANSETT 21 Dec 46 1 Sep 61 1 Sep 62 MA 20 Jun 91
89 NAUSET -- 28 Sep 43 9 Sep 43 Lost --
90 PINTO 7 Nov 46 17 May 74 Dec 60 Trf. ---
91 SENECA 2 Jul 71 31 Oct 85 21 Nov 85 Hulk --
92 TAWASA 1 Apr 75 1 Apr 75 12 Aug 76 Sold --
93 TEKESTA ca. 1960 25 Jun 92 May 60 Trf. --
94 YUMA 11 Nov 55 25 Mar 59 25 Mar 59 Trf. --
95 ZUNI 29 Jun 46 19 Jul 46 29 Jun 46 Trf. --

Class Notes:
Fiscal year 1939 (AT 64-66), 1941 (AT 67-76), 1942 (AT 81-95). The AT-96 and AT-148 (q.v.) classes are variants of this class. The characteristics of all three groups of this class were virtually identical, although different types of smokestacks gave each of the three groups its own distinctive appearance.

By 1934 the need for replacement auxiliary vessels, including minesweepers and fleet tugs, was painfully evident within the Navy, and the beginning of significant construction programs for combatant ships in 1933 and 1934 suggested that auxiliary vessel construction might soon follow. On 2 Jun 34 the Commanding Officer of USS TERN (AM-31) wrote a letter to his superior officer, Commander Base Force, describing the desirable characteristics of minesweepers and fleet tugs. He treated them separately and made no effort to combine the two types, as was sometimes done, stating that while the tugs could be fitted for minesweeping or minelaying, such service should be incidental to their primary purpose. He noted that the minesweepers and fleet tugs of the Base Force were 14 to 16 years old and that the oldest of the tugs, SONOMA (AT-12) had been in service for 22 years. He said that a fleet tug should have good sea-keeping qualities, as well as a powerful engine, large rudder, clear sides, blunt nose, a stout hull, and deep draft. Except for out-of-date steam machinery he felt that the SONOMA type seemed well adapted for this use. He recommended the use of diesel-electric main propulsion machinery because it would permit the vessels to be ready for instant service without having to keep up steam while in standby conditions and because it would permit a reduction in the engineering personnel by about a third. He recommended twin screws and a speed of 15 or 16 knots. Between minesweepers and fleet tugs he felt that the more urgent present need was for fleet tugs, and that a sufficient number of these needed to be built to provide for target towing and service in the Fleet Train. Commander Base Force enthusiastically forwarded this letter to CNO, who on 26 Jun 34 forwarded it to the General Board. On 9 Jul 34 CNO forwarded it to the Bureau of Construction and Repair (BuC&R) and the Bureau of Engineering (BuEng), stating that he felt that the characteristics of mine sweepers and tugs were so different that each type should be designed without regard to the other, although the designs could then be examined to find ways for them to serve in the other function in case of emergency. He also stated that a systematic replacement program for mine sweepers and fleet tugs would necessarily have to be initiated in the near future.

On 11 Jan 36 BuC&R wrote CNO noting that a CNO letter of 14 Oct 35 proposing a building program for auxiliary vessels in the 1937 program that included two mine sweepers, while the proposed 1938 program included one fleet tug. The Bureau noted that it had not received characteristics for these two types and requested that they be provided to the Bureau. The Secretary of the Navy forwarded this request to the General Board on 15 Jan 36. The General Board provided three general parameters to the Bureau and asked it to develop a sketch design. The parameters were a single screw as in SONOMA and her sister ONTARIO, a deep draft of hull capable of swinging a large diameter propeller suited to ocean towing (which made her unsuitable for mine sweeping except in an emergency), and a desired sustained sea speed of 15 knots full load. The Bureau on 19 Mar 37 sent to the Board rough plans for a steam-propelled tug of 1,500 tons full load displacement, dimensions of 190' wl x 36' x 15', and a trial speed of 16.25 knots and sustained sea speed of 15.5 knots. It noted that it had included a large clear deck space aft of the deck house, usable for holding a seaplane or fitting mine tracks if desired. The design also included sheer legs amidships with a boom 50 feet in length designed for a working load of 20 tons (a conspicuous feature of the ships as built). The topsides of the ship were designed with nearly vertical surfaces for the attachment of fenders, while the sides amidships and below water were sloped to avoid the need to fit fenders below the waterline. The General Board issued final characteristics for Fleet Tugs on 6 Apr 37 that generally matched this sketch design, including an armament of 1-3"/50 gun and 2-.50 cal. AA machine guns, the 20-ton boom, and a towing engine, and SecNav approved these characteristics on 19 Apr 37.

On 18 Jan 38 BuC&R circulated to CNO and the other bureaus a general arrangement plan for Fleet Tug AT-64 whose features closely resembled the 1937 sketch and characteristics. The Bureau stated that it intended to advertise for bids for the vessel under conditions requiring the successful bidder to prepare the detail specifications and the contract plans, in part to allow the contractor to use the best merchant design practices. A few days later the Bureau sent the plan to forces afloat, stating that it needed responses promptly as the type was included in the Auxiliary Construction Bill. On 31 Jan 38 Commander Base Force sent a long list of useful refinements based on experience with tugs like SONOMA, none of which however affected the main characteristics of the vessel. In early March the circular requirements to be sent to bidders were modified at the request of the Bureau of Engineering to include the diesel electric option, previous documents having apparently defaulted to the steam option. On 30 Mar 38 BuC&R circulated a revised general arrangement plan that incorporated most of the suggestions made by the Base Force and the other Bureaus. On 14 Jul 38 BuC&R forwarded to BuEng plans drafted by the bidder, the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Staten Island Works, for the variant of the tug with diesel electric drive. BuEng was to review them and then forward them to the Secretary of the Navy for signature.

Construction of the first new fleet tug slipped from FY 1938 to FY 1939, but when SecNav directed the construction of the ships in the FY 1939 program on 20 Jul 38 the list included three tugs, AT 64-66, instead of one. (Bu C&R on 14 Jul 38 asked SecNav for names for AT 65-66 so that they could appear on the title page of the specifications along with NAVAJO.) The construction contract for these three tugs was awarded to Bethlehem on 15 Aug 38. The class went into series production in 1941 when construction of ten more, AT 67-76, was directed in ca. February 1941 as part of the 400 Patrol and District Craft program (4th group). (This program also funded 86 PC, 78 SC, 56 PT, 50 AM, 50 AMc, and 90 YMS under directives of Dec 40, Jan 41, and Jun 41.) On 12 Jun 41 the Ship Movements Division of CNO's staff recommended the construction of another 15 units (AT 81-95), and on 14 July 41 the Auxiliary Vessels Board, after studying the Navy's requirements for seagoing tugs and concurred that 15 more were urgently required and recommended that BuShips be directed to have them built.

The specifications for this class were revisited by the Navy in mid-1942 based on early wartime experience. On 4 Jun 42 BuShips informed CNO that the General Board had included a 20-ton boom on the tugs primarily for the purpose of salvaging large seaplanes. However the maximum weight of large seaplanes had since then increased well beyond 20 tons and the length of a 20 ton boom was insufficient to prevent damage to a large seaplane while being salvaged. The Bureau noted that in the small seaplane tenders of the BARNEGAT (AVP-10) class the 20 ton crane had been replaced by a 10-ton crane, which was sufficient for handling ship-based seaplanes. The Bureau therefore proposed to fit tugs then under construction with a lighter tripod mast and a 10-ton boom. The General Board concurred and issued revised specifications for the class on 16 Jun 42. Ultimately AT 66-73, 81-82, 87, and probably 64-5 and 88 had 20-ton booms while the rest received 10-ton booms.

Ship Notes:
AT Name Notes
64 NAVAJO Torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-39 off New Hebrides Is. while towing YOG-42 from Pago Pago to Espiritu Santo.
65 SEMINOLE Sunk by Japanese destroyers off Guadalcanal while carrying a cargo of gasoline for U.S. forces there.
66 CHEROKEE To ATF-66 15 May 44. To USCG 1946 as CHEROKEE. Decom. by USCG 30 Jan 90, to NDRF 25 Jun 91, back to Navy as target 6 Oct 93.
67 APACHE To ATF-67 15 May 44. In USN reserve 1946-51 (completed inactivation 3 Dec 46). To Taiwan 1974 as TA WAN, still listed 2009.
68 ARAPAHO To ATF-68 15 May 44. Ex CATAWBA 5 Aug 41. In USN reserve 1946-61. To Argentina 1961 as COMANDANTE GENERAL ZAPIOLA, wrecked 1971.
69 CHIPPEWA To ATF-69 15 May 44. In USN reserve 1946-60, to NDRF 15 Nov 60, title to MA 1 Sep 62. From MA to Navy 17 Aug 89 for use as an underwater explosives testing/training platform.
70 CHOCTAW To ATF-70 15 May 44. In USN reserve 1946-60. Loaned to Colombia 1960 as PEDRO DE HEREDIA, sold to Colombia 31 Mar 78. Scrapped 1999.
71 HOPI To ATF-71 15 May 44. In USN reserve 1955-62, to NDRF 27 Mar 62, title to MA 1 Jul 63. From MA to Navy 11 Jun 86 for use as target off Norfolk, Va.
72 KIOWA To ATF-72 15 May 44. Loaned to Dominican Republic 1972 as MACORIX. Stricken in error 15 Sep 79, strike rescinded 23 Sep 80. Returned by Dominican Republic 5 Jun 92, sold by Navy 12 Jan 94 for scrapping in Dominican Republic.
73 MENOMINEE To ATF-73 15 May 44. In USN reserve 1946-59. To Indonesia 1961 as RAKATA, deleted ca. 2008.
74 PAWNEE To ATF-74 15 May 44. In USN reserve 1946-61, to NDRF 13 Apr 61, title to MA 1 Sep 62. To buyer 22 Nov 71.
75 SIOUX To ATF-75 15 May 44. In USN reserve 1946-52 (decomm. 23 Apr 47, recomm. 18 Nov 52 to replace SARSI (ATF-111), lost off Korea). Loaned to Turkey 1972 as GAZAL, sold to Turkey 15 Aug 73, still in service 2010.
76 UTE To ATF-76 15 May 44. In USN reserve 1946-51 (completed inactivation 13 Jul 46). Decom. and to MSTS 30 Aug 74, designated T-ATF-76. To USCG 30 Sep 80. Returned by Coast Guard 26 May 88 and to MA. Back to Navy Feb. 1990 for use as target, expended as missile target 4 Aug 91.
81 BANNOCK To ATF-81 15 May 44. In USN reserve 1946-51 (completed inactivation 21 Feb 47, recomm. 11 Sep 51) and 1955-62. Loaned to Italy 1962 as civilian oceanographic research ship BANNOCK. Sold to Italy May 1979, discarded.
82 CARIB To ATF-82 15 May 44. In USN reserve 1946-62, to NDRF 27 Sep 62, title to MA 1 Jul 63. To Navy 15 Mar 79 and to Colombia same date as SEBASTIAN DE BELALCALZAR. Used as patrol ship, deleted 2000.
83 CHICKASAW To ATF-83 15 May 44. Loaned to Taiwan 1966 as TA TUNG, sold to Taiwan May 1976, stricken 16 Jul 99.
84 CREE To ATF-84 15 May 44. Accidentally bombed by U.S. Army aircraft 18 Jan 78 near San Diego, Cal., the damage led to her disposal.
85 LIPAN To ATF-85 15 May 44. Decom. and to MSTS 31 Jul 73, designated T-ATF-85. To USCG 30 Sep 80 as LIPAN. Returned by USCG 9 Jun 88 and to MA. Back to Navy Jun. 1990 and expended as target.
86 MATACO To ATF-86 15 May 44. Sold for scrapping 1 Apr 79 but resold by buyer as the "party" boat PACIFIC CLIPPER at Acapulco, Mexico, eventually laid up there at a buoy and after 12 years of neglect sank at the buoy in 60 feet of water, still there.
87 MORENO To ATF-87 15 May 44. In USN reserve 1946-60, to NDRF 15 Dec 60, title to MA 1 Sep 62. Back to Navy 15 Dec 87 and expended as target for Penguin missiles Oct. 1988.
88 NARRAGANSETT To ATF-88 15 May 44. In USN reserve 1946-61 (out of commission in reserve 21 Dec 46), to NDRF 1 Feb 61. Purchased by Taiwan from MA 20 Jun 91 (date withdrawn from NDRF) as TA FENG, still listed 2009.
89 NAUSET Sunk by German aircraft off Salerno.
90 PINTO To ATF-90 15 May 44. In USN reserve 1946-60. Loaned to Peru 1960 as GUARDIAN RIOS, sold to Peru May 1974. Still listed 2009.
91 SENECA To ATF-91 15 May 44. To NDRF 18 Nov 71, title to MA 1 Jul 73. From MA to Navy and to the David Taylor Model Basin, Annapolis, Md., 21 Nov 85 for use as a floating machinery systems laboratory. To NDRF 22 Nov 97, back to Navy 11 Sep 02, sunk as target 2003.
92 TAWASA To ATF-92 15 May 44. Scrapped 1978.
93 TEKESTA To ATF-93 15 May 44. In USN reserve 1950-58. In service 24 Jan 58, out of service ca. 1960. Loaned to Chile 16 May 60 as YELCHO, to Chile under grant aid 30 Sep 92. Decom. by Chile 30 Aug 96, sunk as target 8 Jul 99.
94 YUMA To ATF-94 15 May 44. In USN reserve 1955-58. To Pakistan 1959 as MADADGAR, stricken 1995.
95 ZUNI To ATF-95 15 May 44. To USCG 1946 as TAMAROA (substitute for ARS-33). Transferred 28 Feb 94 to the INTREPID Air-Space Museum, New York, there until 1997, then at the Hudson River Park Conservancy until 2000. Sold at GSA at auction 2001, donated 16 Mar 02 to the ZUNI Maritime Foundation, moved from Baltimore, Md. to Newport News, Va., in 2007 and later to South Norfolk, Va.

Page Notes:
AT        1938
Compiled:        17 May 2011
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2011