is an Auxiliary Fleet Tug and was built in Alameda, California in 1942 by
United Engineering Company . Auxiliary pertains to its designation
as a support ship rather than a ship designed for combat although with its
initial armament including the 3" 50 Gunmount forward and twin 40mm
guns on the 01 level aft and 20mm cannon's on each bridge wing she could
hold her own. As is the case with United States Naval vessels,
a class of ships is commonly named. Cruisers are usually named for
Cities (USS Boston or USS Chicago for example), Battleships for states (USS
Arizona & USS Massachusetts for example). There are exceptions
to the rule. Fleet tugs were given Native American names and Lipan
was named after a North American Tribe which was part of the Mescalero Apaches.
was commissioned on April 29th, 1943. The purpose of a Fleet Tug is
deep ocean towing and salvage operations. Additionally a tug will tow
targets for other ships to practice their gunnery. The target is towed
nearly a mile behind the ship on 1" thick wire cable while larger 2 1/2"
wire cable was used for larger deep ocean tows. Lipan's crew consisted
of at least five sailors who were qualified divers, in addition to their
standard rating (Electricians mate, Gunners mate, Engineman, etc). She
carried heavy "Beach Gear" which was a system of heavy cables, tackle, anchors,
etc that allowed her to create great pulling advantages to free grounded
vessels from the shore. The divers would temporarily patch the hull
and then the vessel would be towed to a yard for repair.
initially reported to Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides Islands of the Southern
Pacific where she picked up war supplies and towed them to Guadalcanal.
Lipan was then transferred to Guadalcanal and operated out of
The Solomon Islands for the first half of 1944. She was scheduled to
assist in the invasion of Guam but those plans were postponed by The Battle
of The Philippine Sea. She supported the invasion of Saipan and later
provided valuable tug servicesin Guam, Leyte and Okinawa. Returning
to The United States after VJ-Day, she arrived at San Francisco on Christmas
Day 1945 with her two earned battle stars.
The following Information was provided by Joe Lewis:
As of 1 January 1946, Lipan was anchored in
Anchorage #9, San Francisco Bay, where she remained until moving to the Moore
Drydock Co., Oakland, on 4 February. On 22 Mar 46, she offloaded ammunition
at the Naval Ammunition Depot (NAD) Mare Island, then entered Mare Island NSY
the following day for an overhaul, which commenced on 25 March. She was
drydocked in ARD-32 from 3 to 8 Apr 46, and remained at Mare Island NSY until
departing on or about 20 May for Pearl Harbor, which she reached on the 27th.
She spent the rest of the year in the western Pacific, making stops at Guam,
Yap, and Palau, then returned to Guam, where she remained through the end of
Lipan began the year at Guam, then proceeded to
Pearl Harbor, where she arrived on 29 Jan 47. She remained at Pearl for the
next several months; on 12 April, she intercepted a convoy off Oahu, and
returned to base towing a floating drydock section. On 15 April, she escorted
another convoy into Pearl Harbor, and departed for San Francisco on 22 April,
as the escort vessel for "SCAJAP Convoy #3." This convoy consisted of a
number of Japanese manned Liberty ships, which were towing a group of
decommissioned cargo ships to the West Coast. The convoy arrived at Drake's
Bay, north of San Francisco, on 7 May 47, and Lipan towed the ex-USS Luna
(AKS-7) from Drake's Bay to San Francisco the following day. Between 14-16
May, Lipan towed the craneship AB-1 (ex-USS Kearsarge, BB-5) from San
Francisco to San Pedro. She then proceeded from San Diego to Balboa, C.Z.,
during the period 27 May-14 Jun 47, towing the service craft APL-47 and
YR-25. Following her return to San Diego, she conducted local operations,
before moving to Bremerton, Wa., arriving on 23 August. After overhaul at
Puget Sound NSY, she returned to San Diego, arriving 12 Nov 47. Departing the
West Coast, Lipan arrived at Pearl on 6 December, and Kwajalein on the 25th.
Stopping at Enewetok, she was en route to Guam as of 31 Dec 47.
(1948--no logs; en route Guam as of January 1st.
The only other reference to Lipan that I found was that she was sailing "in
company" with Arikara (ATF-98) from Balboa, C.Z. to San Diego during late
November and early December of 1948.)
As of 1 Jan 1949, Lipan was in port at San Diego.
She towed YO-77 and YO-123 from Long Beach to Balboa, C.Z. during the period
10-26 February, and then proceeded from Balboa on 3 March, arriving at Pearl
Harbor on the 25th. During April, she was underway to Guam via Midway and
Wake Island, and arrived at Kwajalein on 4 May. Lipan departed on the
7th with YOG-64 and YW-94 in tow, and arrived at Pearl on the 19th. From 25
May-6 Jun 49, Lipan towed YOG-70 and YOG-76 from Pearl Harbor to Pier 90,
Seattle. She then entered Puget Sound NSY for overhaul, where she remained
until departing for Astoria, Or. on 18 Aug 49 with YF-314 in tow. Departing
Astoria 20 August, Lipan arrived at San Diego on the 23rd. During October,
she was underway for Pearl Harbor, arriving on the 28th, then made a trip to
Wake Island, arriving back at Pearl on 26 November. Between 3-14 Dec 49,
Lipan towed YFN-241, YFN-694 and YFN-274 from Pearl Harbor to San Francisco,
and arrived at San Diego on the 15th, where she remained through the end of