USS Casco (AVP-12)

USS Casco (AVP-12)

USS "Casco" (AVP-12) was a "Barnegat"-class small seaplane tender commissioned by the U.S. Navy for use in World War II. "Casco" tended to seaplanes, and served in the volatile Pacific War in combat areas that provided her three battle stars by war’s end. Post-war she was assigned to the U.S. Coast Guard. She was twice torpedoed, the second time by the U.S. Navy sending her to the bottom, her wartime tasks faithfully and bravely completed.

The third Navy vessel to be named "Casco", (AVP-12) was launched 15 November 1941 by Puget Sound Navy Yard; sponsored by Mrs. W. J. Giles; and commissioned 27 December 1941, Commander T. S. Combs in command.

World War II North Pacific operations

After a period patrolling and caring for seaplanes off the northwest coast, "Casco" arrived at Sitka, Alaska, 5 May 1942 for duty surveying Aleutian waters, laying moorings for seaplanes, and providing tender services. Based at Cold Bay, she operated to Dutch Harbor, Chernofski Harbor, Kodiak, and Nazan Bay.

Torpedoed while at anchor

While lying at anchor in Nazan Bay on 30 August, she was torpedoed by Japanese submarine "RO-61". The resulting explosion killed five of her men and wounded 20, but prompt and clearheaded action brought flooding to a halt and got the ship underway so that she could be beached and later salvaged. "Casco" was floated on 12 September, and after emergency repairs at Dutch Harbor and Kodiak, she received a thorough overhaul at Puget Sound Navy Yard.

Continued North Pacific operations

"Casco" returned to fog-bound Aleutian duty in March 1943, operating at Constantino Harbor, Amchitka, as tender to Fleet Air Wing Four. In May she steamed to Attu, to care for the seaplanes conducting antisubmarine patrol and search missions in support of the Army's invasion of Attu. Here she remained providing the essential base for flights which guarded against further Japanese reinforcement or penetration of the Aleutians. The tender's service in these waters where weather was often as formidable an enemy as the Japanese ended in November, when she sailed for overhaul at Bremerton, Washington.

Assigned to the South Pacific war zone

"Casco" arrived in the Marshall Islands in February 1944 to tend seaplanes of patrol squadrons at Majuro and Kwajalein during their occupation, and later at Eniwetok until September. Temporarily assigned to carry cargo in the buildup for the Philippine Islands operations, she shuttled between Saipan, Ulithi, and the Palaus until November, then returned to tender duty, in the Palaus until January 1945, and at Ulithi until April. After overhaul at Saipan, she arrived in Kerama Retto 25 April to care not only for seaplanes, but also for a motor torpedo boat squadron, all engaged in the Okinawa invasion and occupation.

Post-war activity

Returning to the U.S. West Coast in July 1945, "Casco" sailed back to the Far East in the spring of 1946 for operations in the Philippines, then served in training duty off Galveston, Texas.

Transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard

She was decommissioned 10 April 1947, and transferred to the Coast Guard on 19 April 1949. She was commissioned USCGC "Casco" (WAVP-370), then redesignated WHEC-370 on 1 May 1966. In 1969, she was returned to Navy custody.

Final decommissioning

"Casco" was struck from the Naval Register (date unknown) and was later sunk as a target. "Casco" was sunk at 16:33 on 15 May 1969, less than five minutes after being torpedoed a second time on her starboard side. She sank at latitude 36-40N and longitude 024-16W.

Military awards and honors

"Casco" received three battle stars for World War II service.


See also

* List of United States Navy ships

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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