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A solid wall like structure raised for defense; also, the side of a ship above the upper deck.


Bulwark (AMc 66) was renamed Avenge (AMc 66) (q.v.) on 23 May 1941.


(AM-425: dp. 775; l. 172'; b. 35'; dr. 10'; s. 14 k.; cpl. 70; a. 1 40mm., 2 .50-cal. mg.; cl. Aggressive)

The second Bulwark (AM-425) was laid down on 12 December 1951 by the Norfolk Naval Shipyard; launched on 14 March 1953; sponsored by Mrs. Edna R. Maloney; and commissioned on 12 November 1953, Lt. James A. Paulick in command.

The experimental nature of her design kept Bulwark occupied with tests and alterations during the first year of her commissioned service. By the beginning of 1955, however, she embarked upon normal duty with the Atlantic Fleet Mine Force out of her home port, Charleston, S.C. On 7 February 1955, she was redesignated MSO-425. In March, the minesweeper began preparations for her first deployment to the Mediterranean Sea. Early in May, Bulwark and her division mates put to sea from Charleston. They arrived in Lisbon, Portugal, on 18 May and, soon thereafter, joined the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. During the ensuing four months, the warship made port visits and conducted bilateral minesweeping exercises with units of the navies of Italy, Greece, and Spain.

She concluded that tour of duty in the latter part of September and reentered Charleston on 4 October. Bulwark spent the remainder of the month and the first two weeks of November alongside a tender while her crew enjoyed post-deployment standdown. During the latter part of November and the first half of December, she carried out special operations near Key West, Fla. The minesweeper returned to her home port in mid-December and spent the rest of the year engaged in holiday leave and upkeep.

The beginning of 1956 brought a resumption of operations at sea out of Charleston. At the end of January, Bulwark steamed south to the West Indies where she participated in the annual fleet exercise, Operation "Springboard." She returned to Charleston on 4 March and began several weeks of local operations. In April and May, she served as a school ship for mine warfare students. On 12 June, the minesweeper began her first regular overhaul at the Charleston Naval Shipyard. She completed her post-overhaul trials early in October and began preparations for her second tour of duty with the 6th Fleet.

Bulwark stood out of Charleston on 4 January 1957 and arrived in Cadiz, Spain, on the 21st. She spent the next six months engaged in the usual drills and exercises and making visits to various Mediterranean ports. The minesweeper returned to Charleston in June and, after the normal post-deployment standdown, resumed operations along the east coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. That employment occupied her time until October when she began repairs to one of her generators at Charleston. She took up local operations again in November and remained so occupied through March 1958. In April 1958, Bulwark entered the Charleston Naval Shipyard for a regular overhaul.

The minesweeper completed repairs on 15 July and began preparations for refresher training. Events in the Middle East, however, dictated other duty and she began feverish preparations for immediate deployment. Within three days the time it took her to get fully ready for sea the situation in Lebanon had eased, and the alert was relaxed to one of a standby nature. Bulwark, therefore, embarked upon her post-overhaul refresher training. She returned to Charleston on 6 September and began preparations for overseas movement. On 29 September, the warship stood out of Charleston on her way to the Mediterranean Sea and arrived at Gibraltar on 16 October. She spent a little less than four months conducting exercises and visiting ports in the "middle sea." Bulwark returned to Charleston on 11 February 1959 and began the usual period of leave and upkeep.

She returned to active service on 9 March when she put to sea to participate in LantMinEx 1-59. Normal operations out of Charleston occupied her time until July when she began a tender overhaul and leave period. She spent the fall of 1959 serving as a school ship for the Mine Warfare School. Type training saw her through January 1960, and, in February, she entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for regular overhaul. Bulwark emerged from the yard and began preparations at Charleston for post-overhaul refresher training. She completed refresher training late in June and, on the 28th, got underway for the West Indies. That deployment lasted through the summer, and Bulwark returned to Charleston on 13 September. In October, she moved north to Canadian waters to participate in the exercise Operation "Sweep Clear V." The minesweeper conducted independent ship's exercises out of Charleston and upkeep in port through the remainder of 1960 and during the first three months of 1961.

On 10 April 1961, Bulwark and her division mates set out to cross the Atlantic once more. Over the ensuing six months, she operated as an element of Task Force (TF) 62, conducting exercises and visiting various Mediterranean ports. The minesweeper returned to Charleston in October and spent the remainder of 1961 and the first month of 1962 engaged in yard repairs. During February and March, she conducted refresher training and independent ship's exercises. In April, the minesweeper participated in amphibious exercises at Vieques Island, near Puerto Rico, and at Onslow Beach, N.C. The month of May brought a return to type training and independent ship's exercises while June saw her provide services to the Navy Mine Defense Laboratory at Panama City, Fla.

On 20 July, she got underway from Charleston for a four-month deployment to the West Indies. When not engaged in exercises, Bulwark visited Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Roosevelt Roads and San Juan, Puerto Rico; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The minesweeper returned to Charleston in November and remained there for the rest of the year. In January 1963, she participated in a three-week Atlantic Fleet exercise conducted off the South Carolina coast.

Late in February, Bulwark moved from Charleston to Panama City, Fla., where she performed services for the Navy Mine Defense Laboratory until early in April. During most of April, the warship underwent a restricted availability at Charleston. Mid-May brought a NATO minesweeping exercise with Canadian minesweepers near Mayport, Fla. The warship spent June at Charleston preparing for a board of inspection and survey. Late in July, she embarked upon a voyage of three weeks duration in the vicinity of Argentia, Newfoundland, to participate in some unspecified tests conducted by the Operational Test and Evaluation Force. Bulwark returned to Charleston late in August and spent September and October engaged in competitive exercises and preparations for her regular overhaul. She entered Detyens Shipyard at Wando, S.C., early in November to begin overhaul.

Bulwark completed repairs and spent January 1964 conducting independent ship's exercises out of Charleston. Upkeep and refresher training occupied her time from late January to late March. During the last week in March, the minesweeper provided support to the Mine Warfare School. Early in April, Bulwark provided services during a Gemini space shot. On 15 May, the warship got underway with her division mates for the Mediterranean. She made a stop at Bermuda along the way and arrived at Malaga, Spain, on 3 June. The minesweeper participated in several amphibious exercises and other training evolutions and visited a number of ports along the Mediterranean littoral. After about five months of such duty, Bulwark departed Huelva, Spain, on 30 October and arrived back in Charleston on 17 November. She spent the remainder of the year in leave and upkeep.

In mid-January 1965, she returned to sea to provide services to the Mine Warfare School. During the month of February, the warship underwent repairs at the Savannah Machine & Foundry Co. She returned to Charleston on 2 March and, after two weeks of upkeep, resumed normal operations along the east coast. At the end of June, Bulwark headed for the Gulf of Mexico where she spent the following month providing services for the Mine Defense Laboratory at Panama City, Fla. She visited Veracruz, Mexico, early in August and returned to Charleston on the 17th. The minesweeper remained in Charleston for the next two months. On 18 October, she returned to sea to search for a downed National Guard aircraft off the Florida coast near St. Augustine. She found the plane in a week's time and returned to Charleston. Bulwark stayed in port for the rest of the year preparing for her regular overhaul.

In January 1966, the minesweeper entered the Jacksonville Shipyard at Charleston, S.C., for a regular overhaul. She completed the repair period in April and resumed local operations. Late in July, Bulwark embarked upon a voyage to the West Indies to conduct special operations. She returned to Charleston a month later and began two months of refresher training. At the conclusion of those two four-week training periods, the warship settled down to a well-deserved holiday leave and upkeep period. January 1967 brought type training, and she spent the middle two weeks of February in drydock at the Jacksonville Shipyard. Between 20 February and 30 March, Bulwark made preparations for overseas movement.

On the latter day, the minesweeper departed Charleston in company with Task Element (TE) on her way to join the 6th Fleet. She arrived at Gibraltar on 16 April and became an element of Task Unit (TU) 61.7.3. For almost five months, Bulwark ranged the length and breadth of the Mediterranean Sea. She participated in numerous 6th Fleet and multinational amphibious exercises and made frequent visits to ports on Mediterranean shores. After conducting turnover at Rota, she and her division got underway on 2 September to return to the United States. The minesweeper reentered Charleston on 16 September. Following a month of post-deployment standdown, she conducted type training and other evolutions in the Charleston operating area until the beginning of the December holiday leave and upkeep period.

Bulwark spent the first three weeks of January 1968 in port at Charleston. On 23 and 24 January, she got underway to provide services to the Mine Warfare School. From the end of January to mid-February, the minesweeper remained in port. Various evolutions at sea, alternated with periods in port, occupied her time until 6 May when she entered the Jacksonville Shipyard at Charleston for a regular overhaul. She completed repairs on 7 August and resumed normal operations out of Charleston. Refresher training took up the latter part of October, and she passed her operational readiness inspection at the end of the month. Local operations out of Charleston occupied the warship until late December when she went into holiday routine.

In mid-January 1969, Bulwark moved north to the Norfolk area where she served briefly under the auspices of the Operational Test and Evaluation Force. She returned to Charleston on 22 January and, on the 24th, began extensive repairs to two of her main engines. On 9 June, the minesweeper resumed normal operations out of Charleston, and that employment lasted through the summer. On 7 September, she headed for Jacksonville, Fla., where she entered the drydock at Jacksonville Shipyards on the 9th. Bulwark completed post-repair dock trials on 5 November and got underway for independent ship's exercises in the Charleston operating area. Normal operations saw her through the fall of 1969 to mid-December when she began the usual holiday standdown.

Bulwark spent the last year of her active career engaged in normal operations along the east coast of the United States. In January 1971, she began preparations for inactivation. The minesweeper was decommissioned on 2 July 1971 at Charleston. Bulwark remained in reserve at Charleston until 28 February 1975 at which time her name was struck from the Navy list. She was sold to R. E. Williams in April 1980.

Raymond A. Mann

22 November 2005