Barataria-II

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The second Barataria (AVP 33) was laid down on 19 April 1943 at Houghton, Wash., by the Lake Washington Shipyard; launched on 2 October 1943; sponsored by Mrs. L. J. Stetcher; and commissioned at her builder's yard on 13 August 1944, Comdr. Garrett S. Coleman in command.

After having spent the remainder of August in outfitting, loading supplies, and testing and calibrating equipment, Barataria conducted training in tending seaplanes under the auspices of Fleet Air Wing (FAW) 6 at the Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island, Wash. Concluding that training in early September, the ship spent the month, 10 September to 10 October, in gunnery exercises, casualty drills, sonar training, a speed run, combat information center exercises, and in more seaplane tending operations. Upon completion of the shakedown, the ship returned to the Puget Sound Navy Yard for post shakedown availability and alterations.


Early in November, she stood out of Bremerton, bound for San Francisco where she took on stores, aircraft maintenance spares, aviation gasoline and supplies and embarked 39 officer passengers. She stood out of San Francisco Bay, bound for Hawaii. Reaching Pearl Harbor on 28 November, she got underway again two days later and proceeded independently to Eniwetok which she reached on 7 December. After embarking passengers, Barataria continued on again independently to Ulithi where she arrived on the 12th, and later fueled from the tanker Octorance.


Departing from Ulithi as escort and lead ship of a five ship convoy, Barataria reached the Philippines on the 22d. She spent the remainder of December 1944 and the first few days of January 1945 anchored off Leyte in the San Juanico Straits tending Patrol Bomber Squadron (VPB) 25--15 Martin PBM 3D's whose mission was to conduct daylight searches north and east of Luzon. Shifting to San Pedro Bay, Leyte, on 5 January 1945, Barataria got underway the following day as a screen for Currituck (AV 7) and rendezvoused with Task Force (TF) 79 carrying the San Fabian assault forces. Two aircraft rescue boats (ARB) had been assigned to Barataria, but one of these began taking on water and had to be abandoned and sunk on the 8th. When several suicide planes attacked the convoy later that day, Barataria's gunners claimed a "sure assist" for downing one.


On the morning of 9 January, Barataria, joined by Currituck, left the convoy and proceeded to eastern Lingayen Gulf where she planted seaplane moorings, anchors, and buoys in the shallow waters south of Aringay Point. That afternoon, the planes of VPB 20 arrived and moored, and the ship carried out routine fueling operations for the remainder of the day. The next morning, Barataria surveyed the waters off the town of Damortis, south of Aringay Point, and found them free of swells. This information prompted the ship to move to that area where she anchored shortly after noon. As the patrol bombers of VPB 17 arrived that afternoon, one plane sank after a rough landing. Barataria rescued the crew and salvaged some gear. When enemy mortar fire began falling around the ship at 1623, Barataria slipped her anchor chain and retired out of rang. Meanwhile, her 5 inch gun fired nine rounds at the enemy positions, silencing the Japanese mortar fire. After that, the tender returned to the anchorage.


For the rest of January, Barataria tended the PBY 5A's of VPB 71 as they carried out "Black Cat" strikes against shore installations and shipping along the China coast and conducted antisubmarine patrol missions. Based first at Cabalitan Bay and then at Sual Bay in southwestern Lingayen GuIf, she shared these tender duties with Currituck until the latter departed on 27 January. Barataria then spent the entire month of February and the first two weeks of March back at Cabalitan Bay, establishing a seaplane ramp on the south shore of Cabalitan Island and continuing to tend the "Catalinas" of VPB 71 as they carried out night reconnaissance and attack missions. The PBM 3D "Mariners" of VPB 28 relieved VPB 71 on 28 February and continued the nocturnal missions begun by the PBYs.


Transferring the tending duties for VPB 28 to Tangier (AV 8) on 13 March, Barataria stood out of Lingayen Gulf, bound, via Subic Bay, for Sangley Point and moored there on the morning of 18 March. While at Sangley Point, Barataria serviced the planes of VPB 25, previously tended by San Carlos (AVP 50). The highlight of her service there began when she got underway at 1116 on 26 March to rescue a VPB 28 plane downed in the South China Sea about 200 miles off the coast of Luzon. Guided by search planes, Barataria arrived on the scene at 2215, lowered her motor whaleboat, and brought the plane crew on board while preparing to fuel the plane for a morning take off attempt or, that failing, to rig a tow. However, neither plan came to fruition. Instead, Young (DD 510), which ship arrived on the scene shortly after midnight to escort Barataria, sank the plane with gunfire after all classified gear had been removed from it. Barataria then returned to Sangley Point where she spent the remainder of March.


Underway again on 2 April, Barataria headed for Mangarin Bay, Mindoro, to refuel and to replenish her supply of aviation gasoline, before proceeding to Cebu where she anchored on the 4th. Shifting to a berth off the city of Opon at Mactan Island on 5 April, she there assumed the duties of station tender, Cebu. She surveyed Mactan Island for the establishment of a seaplane ramp and beach facilities, and laid out take off and landing areas in the waters offshore. She also established liaison with the Army Air Force units ashore on both Mactan Island and Cebu. Meanwhile, the Army proceeded with the occupation of Cebu. With some isolated exceptions, the fighting centered on an area adjacent to Cebu City, with the “evident strong point being a high point, about three miles north of the city” identified as “Hill 25.” Army Artillery Control contacted the tender on 11 April and asked her to “fire on any available targets.” Directed by Army spotters, Barataria expended 100 of 5 inch rounds during two hours early on the 11th and shelled Hill 25 again the following day, this time sending 75 rounds into the enemy position. The Army spotters pronounced her firing “excellent”. However, the action was not all one sided for, at 0540 on the 14th, Barataria came under fire from 40 and 90 millimeter guns on Cebu Beach, directly opposite Mactan Island. Going to general quarters, the seaplane tender got underway and slipped her anchor cable, standing out of the north channel at 0549 to lie to north of Mactan Island. She returned to her original anchorage later that morning, before moving to a berth in the southern part of Cebu Bay.


Relieved by Heron (AVP 2) on 21 April, Barataria sailed for and anchored off Puerto Princessa, Palawan, on the following afternoon. She then escorted Pocomoke (AV 9) to Tawi Tawi on the 24th and 25th of April, before proceeding on toGuiuan Harbor, Samar, late on the afternoon of the 26th. After taking on board supplies there and fueling at San Pedro Bay, Barataria sailed for Mindoro and anchored in Mangarin Bay on the evening of 3 May.


Pushing on toward Lingayen Gulf, Barataria transferred aviation supplies to Tangier on the 5th before she relieved Orca (AVP 49) on station at noon on 8 May. In so doing, Barataria assumed charge of six planes from VPB 28 engaged in Lingayen based air-sea rescue operations. For the remainder of May and all of June, she tended the PBM 5Ds of VPB 28 as they carried out “Dumbo” missions covering the 5th Army Air Force bombing strikes on Formosa. During May, she also serviced the Royal Australian Air Force 76th Wing Detachment PBY’s as an “intermediary landing point” in their minelaying operations off the China coast. Early in June, Barataria provided air-sea rescue coverage for the movement of Marine Air Group 14 from Clark Field, Luzon, to Okinawa.


Underway for Puerto Princessa on 8 July, Barataria briefly tended planes of VPB 25, on standby for antisubmarine patrols, before she continued on, via Manila where she took on cargo bound for Puerto Princessa. She conducted tending operations at Puerto Princessa from 15 to 23 July before proceeding via Samar to Leyte. Barataria next provided services for VPB 28 as it flew antisubmarine patrols out of Manila Bay, covering the waters adjacent to northern Luzon.


With the end of the fighting in mid August came new orders. Barataria cleared Subic Bay on 30 August, bound for Okinawa and arrived in Buckner Bay on 3 September after weathering a typhoon en route. After voyage repairs there, she shifted to Chimu Wan to tend the planes of VPB 17 and VPB 20 as they conducted passenger and mail flights. On 16 September, another typhoon prompted Barataria to get underway to ride out the storm, getting all flyable planes aloft and off the rough seas. The tender clocked winds up to 74 knots and seas up to 40 feet high before she returned to port the next day. Underway for the coast of China, on the 24th, Barataria reached Shanghai on the 27th and, for the remainder of September, tended the planes of VPB 17 which were flying mail and passengers in and out of Shanghai. Barataria later performed seaplane tending operations out of Jinsen (now Inchon), Korea, before returning to the United States for inactivation.


She reached Seattle on 29 December 1945. Placed out of commission in reserve on 24 July 1946, Barataria was laid up at Alameda, Calif., until loaned to the Coast Guard on 17 September 1948. As USCGC Barataria (WAVP 381), the former seaplane tender was classified as a medium endurance cutter and operated under the Coast Guard flag into the 1960s. On 26 September 1966, her name was struck from the Navy list, and she was transferred to the permanent custody of the Coast Guard. Barataria was sold in October 1970 to N. W. Kennedy of Vancouver, British Columbia, and scrapped.


Barataria earned one battle star for her World War II operations.[1]

See also Barataria-I.

References

  1. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships [1]
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