- USS Humboldt (AVP-21)
USS "Humboldt" (AVP-21/AG-121) was a "Barnegat"-class
seaplane tenderacquired by the U.S. Navyduring World War II. She served in the North and South Atlantic Oceans and, at war’s end, she was loaned to the U.S. Coast Guardwhere she was known as USCGC "Humboldt" (WAVP-372) and later as USCGC "Humboldt" (WHEC-372).
Built at the Boston Navy Yard
"Humboldt" (AVP-21) was launched by
Boston Navy Yard17 March 1941; sponsored by Mrs. William T. Tarrant; and commissioned 7 October 1941, Comdr. W. G. Tomkinson in command.
World War II service
Atlantic Ocean operations
Following rigorous shakedown training off the Atlantic coast, the new seaplane tender sailed from
Norfolk, Virginia, 13 May 1942 to join Rear Admiral Jonas H. Ingrain's South Atlantic Force on the Brazilian coast. After stops at San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Trinidadshe arrived Recife, Brazil, 5 August and began tending the aircraft of VP-83.
During the months that followed, these patrol aircraft, operating with ships of the Brazilian and U.S. Navies, patrolled the vital South
Atlantic Oceansea lanes and hunted down Axis submarines. "Humboldt" supplied and repaired seaplanes and, in addition, carried aviation gasolineto outlying air bases on the coast while engaging in antisubmarinepatrol herself.
President Roosevelt arrives on board
Natal, Brazil, 28 January 1943, "Humboldt" was the site of a conference between President Franklin D. Roosevelt, returning from the Casablanca Conference, and President Getúlio Vargasof Brazil. Following this meeting, which helped to achieve even closer cooperation between the naval units of the two countries, the seaplane tender continued to visit isolated ports on the Brazilian coast with supplies, establishing a new seaplane base at Aratú, Bahia, in May 1943. "Humboldt" headed north 1 July 1943, arriving Boston, Massachusetts, 17 July to take up new duties in the North Atlantic. Sailing 23 August, the ship carried supplies and parts to the Fleet Air Wings in Newfoundland, Iceland, and Great Britain. She continued this dangerous duty, often sailing unescorted, into the early months of 1944, occasionally sailing to Casablancaas well.
She was at Casablanca in late May 1944 and upon hearing of the torpedoing of escort carrier "Block Island" and destroyer Barr steamed out to help with survivors and to escort "Barr" to safety. "Humboldt" was soon underway again, this time to bring an experienced submarine officer to rendezvous with "Guadalcanal"'s
hunter-killer group, which had just captured "U-505" in an epic encounter 4 June. The seaplane tender continued to bring supplies to squadrons in the Azoresand North Africauntil 22 March 1945 when she sailed from Norfolk, Virginia, for Brazil. Returning to her original tending duties in the South Atlantic, "Humboldt" arrived Recife, Brazil, 5 April and remained on duty until the surrender of Germany, after which she sailed for Norfolk 10 June.
She moved to
Philadelphia Navy Yard16 July for conversion to a Press Ship. Re-classified "AG-121" 30 July 1945, "Humboldt" was to serve as a broadcast and teletypecenter for correspondents during the final phases of the war against Japan; but the war ended before her conversion was completed.
Orange, Texas, 22 November 1945, the ship decommissioned 19 March 1947 and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.
Conversion to Coast Guard use
Loaned to the
U.S. Coast Guardin January 1949, she served at Boston, Massachusetts, as a weather ship, designated "WHEC-372". She was later redesignated "High Endurance Cutter (WHEC-372)", 1 May 1966, and, on 30 September 1969, she was decommissioned and returned to the Navy, where she was struck from the Navy listin 1970.
United States Navy
World War II
* [http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/43/4321.htm NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive - USS Humboldt (AVP-21) (AG-121) - USCGC Humboldt (WAVP-372) (WHEC-372)]
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