Tamaroa’s final cruise?

This image of the Coast Guard Cutter Tamaroa was shot one year before it would sail into the vicious Halloween storm to save lives. USCG Photo courtesy Coast Guard Historian.

This image of the Coast Guard Cutter Tamaroa was shot one year before it would sail into the vicious Halloween storm to save lives. USCG Photo courtesy Coast Guard Historian.

One of the hardest serving ships in U.S. maritime history was the Navajo-class fleet tug turned medium endurance cutter USCGC Tamaroa (WMEC/WATF/WAT-166) nee USS Zuni (AT/ATF-95).

She earned four battle stars for her service during World War II while dodging kamikazes, suicide boats and Japanese subs– picking up wounded cruisers left and right.

In Coast Guard service, the seagoing cop made more than a dozen large drug busts before she was immortalized in the book The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger (turned into a film of the same name) for rescuing three people from the sailboat Satori 75 miles off Nantucket Island in seas that built to 40 feet under 80-knot winds in 1991.

Decommissioned by the Coast Guard, 1 February 1994 after more than 50 years of service, she was the last Iwo Jima veteran to leave active duty and was probably the last ship afloat under a U.S. flag to carry a 3”/50!

Since then she has been a museum ship, resident of a floating junkyard, and a rats’ den, but is now just steps away from being turned into a reef off the Delaware/New Jersey coast. 

“With weather permitting and waiting on EPA certification, we are planning to sink the Zuni/Tamaroa before the end year,” said Michael Globetti, a spokesman for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. “The earliest we’re looking at is mid-November.”

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

2 responses to “Tamaroa’s final cruise?”

  1. S.J. Malayter says :

    First I would like to introduce myself. I am Stephen J. Malayter the son of the second C.O. of the Zuni. I was saddened to see that she was to be sunk! On the positive side she will be useful as a artificial reef unlike my ship the USS Sacramento AOE 1 which was towed to and scrapped. By the way I have the navigators log book for the USS Reno tow. God Speed Zuni!!!

  2. Phil P says :

    I served on the Tamaroa from 87-89 in the deck department. I was on board for a couple of the pictures featured. I can date the photos by the subtle changes in her configuration. She was a great ship. I still keep in touch with a couple of my shipmates 30 years later. This was a great read. I had no idea about some of her older wartime history.

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