Tag Archives: mohawk museum

USS Tampa flag found

The 240-foot Modoc-class of cutters was conceived for blue water use by the new Post-Great War multi-mission Coast Guard in the 1920s. Capable of carrying three 5-inch guns, a pretty stout armament for such vessels, they had a turbo-electric drive that could push them to 16 knots, which was thought to be good enough for government work. The four sisters, Modoc, Mojave, Haida and Tampa, went on to give hard service in WWII.

Speaking of which, USCGC Tampa (WPG-48) was built by Union in Oakland for a cost of $775,000 and commissioned in 1921. She would spend the next two decades running 15-day patrols from Boston, serving time in the International Ice Patrol, catching bootleggers and keeping the sea lanes safe for travel. The latter included famously saving 140 souls from the burning Ward Line steamer SS Morro Castle in 1932.

Transferring to Mobile, Alabama in the late 1930s, Tampa came under naval jurisdiction in November 1941, a month before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, as USS Tampa (WPG-48). This caused a shift back to the North Atlantic for coastwise convoy escort runs in the Greenland area along with sisters Modoc (WPG-46) and Mojave (WPG-47).

USS Tampa (WPG 48) at anchor at Kungya Bay, Greenland, as seen from USS Bear (AG 29) while on Arctic patrol. The photograph released on May 1, 1944. NARA 80-G-225156

In this work, she fought U-boats, rescued survivors, landing parties to guard key facilities, and helped fight the “Weather War” to keep German Met units from setting up vital camps in the Arctic alongside such floating relics as the old cutter Bear.

From ship structure and a 20mm gun, onboard a coast guard cutter on the Greenland patrol during World War II. Note the variety of tools in use, including a baseball bat. The ship appears to be a 240-foot (“TAMPA”) class cutter. NH 96116

U.S. Coast Guard Combat Cutter, The Tampa, which patrols the North Atlantic, in the resumption of the International Ice Patrol World.” Accession #: L41-03 Catalog #: L41-03.02.02

Although paid off in 1947, her name was key to USCG history, with the first USCGC Tampa lost during the Great War and the second Tampa being the aforementioned WWII vet. This led to the name being reissued in 1984 to the 270-foot Bear-class medium endurance cutter USCGC Tampa (WMEC-902), which was in line with the rest of the naming convention for the class as all were named after famous Coast Guard vessels.

This week, Alex Obrizok a 96-year-old man and resident from North Carolina, traveled to Portsmouth, Va where the current Tampa is based. A former WWII USS Tampa vet, Obrizok has earlier this summer shown a special relic to a 2003 USCGA grad and member of WMEC-902s crew whose wedding he was attending– USS Tampa‘s ensign. Obrizok wanted the ensign to go home.

“It’s a beautiful flag,” said Obrizok. “It survived all these years and belongs with her namesake, it belongs to the Tampa.” (USCG photo)

VADM Scott Buschman, Coast Guard Atlantic Area Commander, presided over the ceremony and thanked Obrizok for the historical flag, his service to his country and for making the trip to meet the crewmembers aboard the current Tampa.

Ninety-six-year-old Alex Obrizok was able to keep this flag from the 1946 decommissioned Tampa over the last 70 years. Obrizok, who lives in North Carolina, returned to the current Tampa on Thursday, Nov. 21 at the Coast Guard base in Portsmouth, Virginia to give the current crew the flag. The World War II veteran also read promotions for four crew members. Photo of the flag that is being kept on the ship, Nov. 25, 2019. (L. Todd Spencer/The Virginian-Pilot)

Warship Wednesday May 2

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take out every Wednesday for a look at the old steampunk navies of the 1866-1938 time period and will profile a different ship each week.

– Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday,  May 2

Mohawk as new, 1935, USCG photo

Here we have the USCG Cutter Mohawk

Built as the USCG Cutter Mohawk by Pusey & Jones Shipbuilders, Wilmington, Delaware for $499,800 in 1933, she was commissioned into US service 19 January 1935. For several yeas she operated from Cape May, New Jersey, and later Boston Mass.

Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk. Pier B Naval Station. Key West. 1940. Monroe County Library.

During WWII she served with the Greenland Patrol during the so-called Weather War. She sent the final weather update from the Arctic that Eisenhower used to launch D-Day in 1944. A sub-buster, the tiny 165-foot gunboat launched a total of 14 attacks against submarine contacts between 27 August 1942 and 8 April 1945.

Model of Mohawk, note the tubbyness of the design. Must have been fun rolling around the North Atlantic in her with 125 hardlegs on a 165-foot boat.

One of her crewman, Chief Gunner’s Mate Sieg, invented a breakthrough bullpupped 30.06 rifle that, while revolutionary, came too late for the war.

Mohawk was decommissioned 8 January 1946, and sold 1 November 1948 to the Delaware Bay and River Pilots’ Association, who operated the craft until the 1970s. Abandoned, she sat rusting at the dock until 2001 where she was saved through an effort that brought her to Key West Florida where she was operated as a memorial museum until the Spring of 2012.

The old Mohawk is gonna be sunk as a reef.

You can say the Country got their $499,800 out of her…

General characteristics
Type:     Patrol Gunboat
Displacement:     1,005 tons
Length:     165 feet
Beam:     36 feet
Draft:     12 foot 3 inches
Ice class:     ice breaking capabilities up to 2 feet
Installed power:     1,500 shp
Propulsion:     1× Westinghouse double-reduction geared turbine, 2× foster-wheeler 310 psi 200 deg superheat boilers
Speed:     13.5 kt
Range:     (max speed=1,350 miles)(economic speed=5,079 miles)
Crew:     124 enlisted 10 officers
Sensors and
processing systems:     Radar SF (1945) Sonar QCJ-3 (1945)
Armament:     3× 3″ 50 cal deck guns. 2× “mouse trap” mortars. 2× depth charge racks. 10× “k” gun depth charge projectors