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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND
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Bisbee

A city in the southeastern corner of Arizona. It is the seat of government for Cochise County.

(PF 46: dp. 1,430; l. 303'11"; b. 37'6"; dr. 13'8" (lim.); s. 20.3 k. (tl.); cpl. 190; a. 2 3", 4 40mm., 4 20mm., 8 dcp. (K guns), 1 dcp. (hh.), 2 dct.; cl. Tacoma; T. S2 S2 AQ1)

Bisbee (PF 46) was laid down on 7 August 1943 at Los Angeles, Calif., by the Consolidated Steel Corp. under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1457) as PG 154; launched on 7 September 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Richard Murphy; accepted by the Navy and named Bisbee (PF 46) on 14 February 1944; and placed in commission at Terminal Island, Calif., on 15 February 1944, Comdr. J. P. German, USCG, in command.


The frigate reported for shakedown on 1 April 1944 and, after completing the training on the 29th, underwent availability. She reported for duty to the Commander, 7th Fleet, by dispatch on 31 May and got underway for the southwestern Pacific the next day. Bisbee arrived at Noumea, New Caledonia, on the 23d; took on fuel; and resumed her voyage arriving in Cairns, Australia, on the 28th. After an availability, she moved north to New Guinea where she carried out escort and antisubmarine patrol duty along the northern coast. During that assignment, she supported the amphibious landings at Cape Sansapor in August. In October 1944, she was reassigned to Task Force (TF) 78 for the invasion of the Philippines at Leyte. She collected data on mined areas in the vicinity and served as a harbor entrance control vessel patrolling the inner approaches of Leyte Gulf. Late in November, she was reassigned to escort duty and departed Leyte on the 22d. She arrived in Humboldt Bay, New Guinea, on the 28th and remained there until 3 December when she moved to Manus in the Admiralty Islands. The ship stood out of Manus on 5 December, shaped a course for Hawaii, and entered Pearl Harbor on 15 December.


Following repairs in the navy yard there, the warship returned to sea on 6 January 1945, bound for Alaskan waters, and arrived in Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands on 13 January. There, she began duty escorting Army transports and merchant vessels between Dutch Harbor, Adak, Amchitka, and Attu. In addition, she served as a guardship for Fleet Air Wing 4 in the northern Pacific. On 6 July 1945, Escort Division (CortDiv) 43--Bisbee included--shaped a course for Seattle, Wash. The warships reached their destination on 12 July, and Bisbee began a repair period. CortDiv 43 headed back to Alaska less than a month later and arrived in Cold Bay on 13 August. However, soon after its arrival, CortDiv 43 was disbanded as a result of the war's end. Bisbee was decommissioned on 26 August 1945 at Cold Bay. The following day, she was transferred, on loan, to the Soviet Union.


The Soviet Union returned the small warship to the Navy on 1 November 1949 at Yokosuka, Japan; and she remained in reserve at Yokosuka until the outbreak of hostilities in Korea in 1950 brought a new need for her services. Refurbished at Yokosuka in August and September, Bisbee was recommissioned there on 18 October 1950, Lt. Comdr. W. F. Gadberry in command, and she departed Yokosuka on 23 November. She arrived at Wonsan on 26 November and reported for duty with Task Group (TG) 95.2, the East Coast Group, United Nations Blockading & Escort Force. Bisbee remained at Wonsan until 9 December when she moved north to Hungnam. There she performed harbor entrance control duties during the evacuation of embattled United Nations forces from that port. The evacuation was completed on the day before Christmas Eve, and Bisbee steamed down to Pusan in far southern Korea.


The warship remained at Pusan until 7 December at which time she sailed for Inchon on the western coast of Korea just south of the 38th parallel. From 28 December 1950 to 4 January 1951, she served on patrol and as harbor entrance control vessel during the latter stages of the evacuation of that port. On 4 January, three days before the completion of the evacuation, she put to sea bound for Yokosuka. A month long overhaul kept her at Yokosuka from 13 January to 13 February. On the latter day, Bisbee headed for Korean waters where, on 24 February, she became a unit of the Wonsan Bombardment Group. For nine days, she delivered harassing and interdiction fire on targets ashore during the siege of Wonsan. On 5 March, she left the Wonsan area and steered for Sasebo. The warship completed a tender availability there, returned to Wonsan on 24 March, but stayed only five days before departing on the 29th for duty in the Philippines. Her service in the Philippines--which included a round-trip voyage to Hong Kong and back--lasted until mid-summer. She returned to Sasebo on 8 July and reported for duty with TG 95.5. For the next four months, she performed patrol and escort duty between Japanese ports and the 7th Fleet replenishment area.


On 29 October, Bisbee returned to Sasebo to begin an overhaul to prepare her for sale to Colombia. She was decommissioned on 12 February 1952 and simultaneously turned over to her Colombian crew. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 25 February 1952. She became Capitan Tono in the Colombian Navy.


Bisbee earned two battle stars for World War II service and three battle stars during the Korean conflict.

Raymond A. Mann



6 February 2006