The iron-hulled, single-screw steam yacht Utowana was completed in 1883 at Chester, Pa., by the Delaware River Iron Ship Building and Engineering Works, and, over the ensuing years, was renamed twice—first to Oneida and, about 1914, to Adelante. During her career as Oneida, she was owned by "Commodore" E. C. Benedict, a friend and confidant of President Grover Cleveland. Benedict's yacht served as an impromptu hospital when doctors performed a secret operation to remove cancerous growth from President Cleveland's upper jaw on 1 July 1893 as the ship cruised in the East River. Such secrecy had been deemed necessary in order avoid creating a greater financial panic in the country.
Inspected by the Navy in the 1st Naval District on 9 July 1918, for potential use as a "tow boat," Adelante was apparently not delivered to the Navy until 25 August 1918. Routing instructions indicate that she spent late July in coastwise operations between Philadelphia, New York, Providence, and Boston. Contemporary Navy documentation lists her as a "tug." Her owner at that time (1918), and master, was Theodore Krumm of Melrose, Mass.
Given the classification of SP-765 (or Id.No. 765 in some sources), Adelante was commissioned at Lawley's Shipyard, Neponset, Mass., on 17 December 1918, Lt. Edwin W. Keith, USNRF, in command. After fitting out alongside Battery Wharf, and at the Section Base, Boston, through mid-February 1919, Adelante dressed ship on 24 February in honor of the arrival in Boston of President Woodrow Wilson on board the transport George Washington, and stood out as part of the veritable armada of ships which proceeded to greet the returning Chief Executive as his ship arrived, appropriately enough, in President Roads.
After having returned to Battery Wharf, Adelante got underway for Portland, Maine, the following day and arrived at Portland an hour before midnight. The following morning, she moved to Damariscove Island where she helped to establish one of a network of radio compass stations along the Maine coast. Such a system had originally been installed during the war to detect enemy submarines operating off the coast, to "home in" on their radio transmissions and to determine their direction and distance. Wartime experience with those stations showed that the concept held great promise for peacetime use. As Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels reported in 1919, "The system of radio compasses on shore . . . proved such a useful aid to navigation that during the past year additional stations have been constructed."
Adelante. continued this work through the end of March, frequenting, besides Damariscove Island, Boothbay and Portland. Working parties, averaging a dozen men, went ashore almost daily to build the station at Damariscove Island, one of the additional 19 stations being added to the original 29 that had been set up on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts. While at Boothbay on the last day of March, she received orders directing her to return to Boston. Underway at 0410 on 1 April, Adelaide reached Boston at 1345.
After shifting her berth to the opposite side of Boston harbor the next morning, Adelante got underway and met the troop transport Mount Vernon as the "boarding boat" for the customs officers. She put these inspectors on board at 1300 and returned with passengers that she disembarked a little over an hour later.
Adelante's temporary duty as "boarding boat" continued through much of April. The ships she met included Agamemnon (Id. No. 3004) on the 7th; Mongolia (Id. No. 1615) on the 10th; Patricia, a transport, on the 17th; City of Birmingham (also on the 17th); Winifredia on the 21st; Vedic and City of Bombay on the 22d; and New Jersey (Battleship No. 16) oil the 23d. Two events highlighted the period: the first came on 5 April when she carried Major General Edwards, USA, and his staff out to board the incoming transport America in President Roads, the second occurred on 21 April, when Lt. Keith gave a talk on the Liberty Loan drive. He apparently proved persuasive and patriotic, for all hands purchased bonds, making Adelante a "100 percent ship," enabling her to hoist a "100 percent pennant" to her foremast signifying the achievement.
Her temporary job completed, Adelante sailed, on the 24th— via Gloucester, Mass.—for Rockland, Maine, which she reached on the 25th to resume her work establishing the compass stations. The ship began work on the station at Crass Island, Northeast Cove, on 28 April, and continued this task until 3 May. She then proceeded, via Rockland, to Boston before returning, via Bar Harbor, to Crass Island on the 6th. Shifting briefly to Machiasport, Maine, Adelante embarked an inspection party on the 8th to review the status of the work on Crass Island. The party then inspected the station at Damariscove Island the following day (9 May) before Adelante set course for Boston to take on construction supplies and stores (including lumber). She subsequently resumed work at Crass Island on 21 May; based at Machiasport, Adelante touched at Cranberry Island and White-head Island (14 June) to inspect the radio compass station there. Between 13 and 15 June, she also carried Capt. Cantwell, USCG, on an inspection tour of Coast Guard bases in the vicinity.
Adelante's men resumed work at Crass Island on the 23d before the ship visited Mt. Desert Island, and then at Machiasport (28 to 30 June) before returning to Crass Island on the 30th.
Adelante returned—via Machiasport and Rockland—to Boston which she reached on 3 July. She was decommissioned there on 18 August 1919.
Sold to J. Daniel Gully, of Brooklyn, N.Y., on 25 March 1920, Adelante was renamed John Gully soon thereafter. In subsequent years, the ship—now classed as a "tow boat"—was renamed Salvager by 1924 and was operated first by the H. J. Wheeler Salvage Co., Inc., of New York (1924-1927) and then by the Salvage Process Corp., of New York (1927-1940). By 1 January 1941, Salvager had been abandoned, due to age and deterioration.