Tamaroa’s final cruise?
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.”