Brass Porthole Removed From the USCGC Tamaroa (WAT/WMEC-166) Originally the USS Zuni (AT/ATF-95)
Product Code: 16112
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Brass four dog porthole recently removed from the USCGC Tamaroa (WAT/WMEC-166), formerly the USS Zuni (AT/ATF-95). The hull of the Tamaroa is still moored at a local ship salvage yard located here in the Tidewater, Virginia area and earmarked to be sunk as an artificial reef. The porthole is in good condition and the port glass survives without chips or cracks, but does have a few surface scratches and a little paint over-spray on the interior side. A rare opportunity to own a documented piece of both US Naval and US Coast Guard history.
USS Zuni (AT/ATF-95), a Navajo-class Fleet tugboat, was a ship of the United States Navy named for the Zuni, the popular name given to a tribe of Pueblo Indians indigenous to the area around the Zuni River in central New Mexico near the Arizona state line.
Zuni (AT-95) was laid down on 8 March 1943 at Portland, Oregon, by the Commercial Iron Works; launched on 31 July 1943; sponsored by Mrs. J. J. O'Donnell; and commissioned on 9 October 1943, Lieutenant Ray E. Chance in command.
Zuni completed shakedown training late in October and on the 28th reported for duty with the Western Sea Frontier, The following day, she departed Puget Sound, bound for Kodiak, Alaska. On 10 November, she stood out of the harbor at Kodiak with two barges in tow. In extremely heavy weather during the voyage south, the towlines to both barges parted; and Zuni experienced great difficulty in keeping herself afloat. Though she managed to maintain contact with the second barge after it broke loose, she ultimately received orders to abandon it and make for Seattle, Washington.
On 1 December, the tug was reassigned to Service Squadron 2 (ServRon 2) and departed Seattle that same day with a barge in tow, bound for Oakland, California. After repairs at Oakland, the tug headed west for the New Hebrides on 27 December 1943, in company with four cargo ships, and arrived in Espiritu Santo at the end of January 1944.
Early in February, the tug left Espiritu Santo, set her course for Hawaii, and arrived in Pearl Harbor on 17 February. She performed routine missions at Oahu for about a month, getting underway on 21 March for a round-trip voyage to Canton Island. She returned to Oahu on 9 April towing two barges from Canton Island. On 20 April, she stood out of Pearl Harbor, pulling three barges bound for Majuro Atoll, and returned to Hawaii on 11 May. On 15 May 1944, she was redesignated a Fleet Ocean Tug, ATF-95.
A week later, she began an extended tour of duty in the Central Pacific. Towing ARD-16, the tug arrived in Kwajalein lagoon on 2 June. Reassigned to ServRon 12, Zuni served as a harbor tug at Kwajalein until mid-July when she again took ARD-16 in tow and got underway for the Mariana Islands. There, she participated briefly in the 24 July assault on Tinian before settling into a routine of shuttle voyages between Eniwetok and the Marianas. Late in September, she towed ARD-17 to the Palau Islands where, during the first 18 days of October, she provided support services to the combined forces invading Peleliu. At that point, she received urgent orders to rendezvous with Houston (CL-81) after that light cruiser had been damaged by two torpedoes during a Japanese aerial blitz to answer Task Force 38's raids on Okinawa and Formosa. She relieved Pawnee (ATF-74) of the light cruiser and towed her into Ulithi lagoon on 27 October. After serving at the anchorage there for five days, the tug returned to sea with a group of oilers. Soon another set of urgent orders sent her to aid another light cruiser, Reno (CL-96), which had been torpedoed in the Philippines, off the San Bernardino Strait, on 3 November by Japanese submarine I-41. Though the cruiser nearly capsized, the ships’ companies of Zuni and Reno combined efforts to meet the threat; and the tug succeeded in towing the cruiser 1,500 miles (2,800 km) back to Ulithi.
The tug remained in Ulithi for the rest of November and throughout most of December. During the latter month, she towed the disabled merchantman SS John B. Floyd into Ulithi and conducted a solitary cruise to eastward of the Philippines. On 29 December, Zuni put to sea with Task Group 30.8, the replenishment group for TF 38, and cruised for almost a month off Luzon. She returned to Ulithi on 28 January 1945 for engine repairs.
She moved back out to sea in February and arrived off Iwo Jima three days after the initial assault. For 31 days, she performed yeoman service for the warships in the area. She pulled a transport off a sand bar. She provided engine partial power to the LST 944,which had lost one engine, as the LST 944 made her run for the beach and the Zuni remained alongside the LST 944 to assist the 944 to remain in position against the very high surf to land the US Army 506th 90 mm AAA Battalion,which was attached to the 3rd Marine Division.The use of a tug to help power an LST to the beach was a Navy first in amphibious landings. More routine missions consisted of assisting broached landing craft and laying submerged fuel pipes
Work in the shallows, however, was as dangerous to her as to others. While attempting to save LST-727 on 23 March 1945, she was stranded on Yellow Beach when a broken towline fouled her anchor and propeller. She lost two crewmen in the disaster and suffered a broken keel and holed sides. She was pulled off the beach by Zebra (AKN-5), temporarily repaired, and towed to Saipan. After further temporary repairs, Zuni was towed to Pearl Harbor where she arrived at the end of May. During the more than 14 weeks of repairs she underwent there, World War II ended.
Zuni resumed active duty on 15 September and served with the Pacific Fleet until early in 1946, when she was transferred to the Atlantic Fleet. She served in the 8th Naval District until she was decommissioned on 29 June 1946 and transferred to the United States Coast Guard. Zuni was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 19 July 1946.
Zuni earned four battle stars for her World War II service. Admiral William Halsey awarded the Legion of Merit to her skipper, Lt. Ray E. Chance. From the time of her commissioning Zuni was underway 80% of the time.
USCGC Tamaroa (WAT/WMEC-166) was a United States Coast Guard cutter, originally the United States Navy salvage tug USS Zuni (ATF-95). Following the USCG custom of naming cutters in this class of ship after Native American tribes, she is named after the Tamaroa tribe of the Illiniwek tribal group.
She was one of 70 built in her class for the US Navy. She saw action in World War II, including the Marianas, Philippines, and Iwo Jima operations. After the war she was transferred to the USCG. She was involved in the landmark tort case, Ira S. Bushey & Sons, Inc. v. United States, 398 F.2d 167 (2d Circ. 1968), in which the United States was held vicariously liable for the damage caused by the Tamaroa to a dry dock after an intoxicated seaman opened dry dock valves, causing the ship to list and slide off its blocks.
The bulk of her USCG career was spent patrolling, working in drug interdiction, and fisheries protection. She was the first Coast Guard Cutter to arrive at the sinking Andrea Doria. She is perhaps most famous for a rescue described in the book The Perfect Storm (by Sebastian Junger); she rescued both the crew of the yacht Satori, as well as the crew of a downed Air National Guard helicopter.
After she was decommissioned from the USCG, she was donated to the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City. She was noticed tied up next to the Intrepid in 1994 by a former crewman who began a campaign to restore her. After several unsuccessful attempts, he hooked up with others interested in her fate and thus was formed what has become the Zuni Maritime Foundation, a newly formed non-profit organization in Richmond, Virginia. The foundation attempted to preserve the ship in an operational condition, and use her to educate the public. She is currently sitting in Virginia waiting to be turned into an artificial reef.