USS Tacoma (PGM-92)

USS Tacoma (PGM-92)

USS "Tacoma" (PGM-92/PG-92) was an sclass|Asheville|gunboat of the U.S. Navy and the fourth ship to be named after the city of Tacoma, Washington. "Tacoma" was the first in a series of revised "Asheville"-class gunboats. [cite web | url = | title = Descriptions and Histories | publisher = Patrol Gunboat Reunion Association | date = 2006-10-12 | accessdate = 2007-10-23 ] Some sources call these revised boats "Tacoma"- or PG-92-class, [cite web | url = | title = PG 84 Asheville | publisher = | date = 2005-02-05 | accessdate = 2007-10-23 ] but the U.S. Navy officially designates them as "Asheville"-class. [For example, see: cite web | url = | title = "Tacoma" | date = | accessdate = 2007-10-23 | work = Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships | publisher = United States Navy ] The keel of "Tacoma" was laid 24 July 1967 at the Tacoma Boatbuilding Co., in her namesake city. She was launched on 13 April 1968, sponsored by Mrs. Arne K. Strom, and was commissioned on 14 July 1969, with Lt. Frank H. Thomas, Jr., in command.

The Tacoma was powered by a combination of two Cummins Diesel engines and a General Electric LM-1500 Gas Turbine. Pneumatic actuators allowed the power source to be switched between the two sources. Top speed on the gas turbine was in excess of 42 knots. [ENS Mark W. Swarthout, Chief Engineer, USS Tacoma PG-92, 1981 | date = 1981 | accessdate = 2007-10-26 ]

Operational history

During the fall of 1969, "Tacoma" conducted shakedown training and independent ship exercises along the California coast. While so engaged on 16 October, she joined in a search and rescue mission and recovered a sailor who had fallen overboard from USS "Neches" (AO-47) the previous night. At the completion of refresher training, she participated in amphibious exercise PHIBELEX/BLT 4-69, off Camp Pendleton, Calif., in early December. In January 1970, she entered Long Beach Naval Shipyard for post-shakedown availability. "Tacoma" returned to San Diego on 20 May and began preparations for deployment to the western Pacific. On 1 August, after two months of operations out of San Diego, she got underway for the Mariana Islands. Following a week-long stopover in Pearl Harbor, the gunboat arrived in her new home port, Apra, Guam, on 28 August. For almost four years, "Tacoma" alternated between deployments to Vietnam and patrols in the islands of the Trust Territories of Micronesia. Her first tour of duty in Vietnamese waters began on 28 September 1970 when she arrived at Cam Ranh Bay after a week of upkeep at Subic Bay in the Philippines. She was assigned to the Coastal Surveillance Force and participated in search and rescue missions and interdicted communist coastal supply traffic in Operation "Market Time". On 22 November, she and several other units of the Coastal Surveillance Force cooperated in the destruction of a North Vietnamese infiltration trawler. She operated off the coast of Vietnam for two more months and then returned to Subic Bay on 31 January 1971. She remained there two weeks and then headed for Guam, arriving in Apra Harbor on 20 February. For almost five months, the gunboat underwent overhaul and operated in the vicinity of Guam. On 9 July, she embarked upon her first patrol of the Micronesia Trust Territories. Between then and 26 July, she visited seven islands in the Yap and Palau districts of the Eastern Carolines, conducting surveillance and making goodwill stops. She returned to Guam on the 26th, then departed again on 10 August. While on her second patrol in the Trust Territories, 10 August to 1 September, "Tacoma" visited 19 islands in the Truk and Ponape districts and apprehended a Japanese fishing vessel violating the territorial waters of the Trust Territories at Ngatik Island. She resumed operations in and around Guam on 1 September and was so occupied until early November. On 5 November, the gunboat departed Guam in company with "Asheville" (PG-84) and headed, via Subic Bay, for Vietnamese waters. On 29 November, she and "Asheville" relieved "Crockett" (PG-88) and "Welch" (PG-93) and resumed "Market Time" operations interdicting communist coastal supply traffic. After almost two months patrolling the Vietnamese coastline, "Tacoma" departed Cam Ranh Bay on 26 January 1972 for a visit to Bangkok, Thailand. There, she welcomed officers of the Royal Thai Navy on board for tours of the ship. On 3 February, she resumed coastal surveillance patrols along the coast of Vietnam. Late in March, trouble in her starboard main engine forced her to Subic Bay for repairs. The gunboat remained there from 29 March to 24 May; then she continued on to Guam, via Yap Island. "Tacoma" reached Apra Harbor on 31 May and commenced three months of sea trials, independent exercises, restricted availabilities, and inspections. After a dependents' cruise to Saipan on 3 September and 4 September, the gunboat conducted refresher training until 14 October, when she headed back to Vietnam with "Asheville". Between 20 October and 15 December, she made two patrols along the Vietnamese coast, broken by a visit to Bangkok, Thailand, in mid-November. On 15 December, she cleared Vietnamese waters and set sail for the Philippines. She laid over in Subic Bay beginning 18 December awaiting the completion of "Asheville"'s engine repairs. Then, on 21 December, the two gunboats got underway for Guam, where they arrived on 28 December. During the first three months of 1973, "Tacoma" operated out of Guam, primarily conducting exercises. In February, she made a voyage to Hong Kong, via Subic Bay. The first three weeks in April saw her in port at Apra Harbor preparing for regular overhaul. Yard work on the ship began on 20 April and was completed two months later. In late June and early July, she conducted sea trials and various drills. The gunboat completed type training early in September, then put to sea on 12 September to shadow a Soviet submarine tender and fleet submarine operating in the vicinity of the northern Marianas. She returned to Apra on 18 September and, after a restricted availability, completed sea trials on 27 October. On 5 November, she began another patrol of the eastern Carolines, returning to Guam on 24 November. From 11 December to 16 December, "Tacoma" made a Christmas gift tour of the northern Marianas. Following repairs in December and January and refresher training in late January and early February, the gunboat departed Apra on 13 February 1974 for a three-month cruise. In late February, she participated in exercises with "Midway" (CVA-41), "Oriskany" (CVA-34), and "Marathon" (PG-89), out of Subic Bay. In March, "Tacoma" visited Singapore and cruised the Malaysian coast. Late that month, she visited Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei on the northern coast of Borneo. After two days at Subic Bay, 4 May to 6 May, she headed for Taiwan and visits to Kaohsiung and Kee-lung. The gunboat returned to Guam on 27 May and commenced preparations to return to the United States. "Tacoma" stood out of Apra on 21 June and reached Pearl Harbor on 3 July. Five days later, she continued eastward and arrived in San Diego, Calif., on 15 July. On 1 August, she headed south along the coast of California and Mexico, stopped at Acapulco for two days, and made Rodman, in the Canal Zone, on 17 August. She transited the canal on 22 August and headed, via Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Port Everglades, Fla., to her new home port, Little Creek, Va., where she arrived on 2 September. During the period 14 April30 June 1975, "Tacoma" was overhauled in the Norfolk area. On 3 September, following underway refresher training, "Tacoma" commenced the mission of serving as a training unit for Royal Saudi Arabian naval personnel. That assignment, calling for operations along the east coast of the United States and in the Caribbean, continued until decommissioning.

For the next two years, "Tacoma" and "Welch" were a part of the Saudi Naval Expansion Program, training Saudi personnel on shipboard operations. She was decommissioned in 30 September 1981 at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, and at that time, was equipped with a 5" gun and a 20 mm aft.

On 16 May 1983 "Tacoma" and "Welch" were leased to the Colombian National Armada as fast attack ships ARC "Quita Sueño" and ARC "Albuquerque", and were formally transferred to the government of Colombia on 20 September 1995. Both ships have subsequently been transferred to the Colombian Customs agency. [cite web | url = | title = USS Tacoma PG-92 | publisher = Patrol Gunboat Reunion Association | date = 2006-10-12 | accessdate = 2007-10-23 ]

"Tacoma" earned two battle stars during the Vietnam War.


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