Return to DANFS IndexImage of an anchorReturn to Naval Historical Center homepage
flag banner
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships banner
DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Kiowa

 

A tribe of warlike and predatory American Indians, who at one time resided in Missouri. They later moved southward and often joined the Comanches in raids on other tribes and American settlers. Some members of the tribe still reside on a reservation in Oklahoma.

 

III

 

(ATF-72: dp. 1,146 (It); l. 205'; b. 38'6" ; dr. 14'3" ; s. 16.5 k.; cpl. 85; a. 1 3", 4 .50 mg.; cl. Apache)

 

The third Kiowa (ATF-72) was launched 5 November 1942, by the Charleston Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Charleston, S.C.; sponsored by Mrs. Hilda How Edwards; and commissioned 7 June 1943, Lt. William O. Kuykendall in command.

 

After shakedown off Key West, Kiowa reported Norfolk and sailed 26 July 1943, for operations off Newfoundland. During that summer the ocean tug performed various services, including towing targets for new Iowa (BB-61), enabling the larger ships to fulfill their vital roles. For 6 months Kiowa towed all kinds of ships and floating equipment before arriving New York 2 March 1944, to prepare for overseas operations. Sailing 3 weeks later, she arrived Falmouth, England, 19 April as the Allies were in the final planning stages for the Normandy invasion. Loaded with firefighting and salvage equipment, Kiowa sailed 3 June; joining a convoy of LST's, she made her way toward the largest amphibious operation of the war. D-day came 3 days later and the tug was actively engaged in repairing landing craft, assisting disabled ships, and performing general salvage duty. She remained off Normandy until 25 July and then operated in British waters before returning to Norfolk 30 September.

 

For the rest of the war Kiowa operated along the Atlantic coast, towing and assisting disabled ships and also escorting Allied merchant ships to the convoy lanes. During late spring 1945, the tug commenced operations as a tanker, fueling a number of ships at sea. Following the war Kiowa arrived Argentia, Newfoundland, 21 December for duty in the North Atlantic. From 1946 to 1959 the ocean tug continued operations along the coast from the Canal Zone to Newfoundland, as she engaged in salvage, target and ship towing. These unheralded but vital assignments are a major contribution to the power for peace of the Navy.

 

Arriving Guantanamo Bay 9 April, Kiowa prepared for her assignment in the Caribbean. She cleared San Juan 26 May and took station off Antigua as recovery ship for what was to be the beginning of space flight. On 28 May the tug recovered the nose cone of a Jupiter missile which contained monkeys Able and Baker, the first U.S. space riders. Thus Kiowa played a major role lifting America into space.

 

From 1959 into early 1965 Kiowa continued her vital towing operations out of Norfolk, and also performed extensive services at Guantanamo Bay during the tense years since Castro made Cuba a Communist foothold in the Western Hemisphere. The latter part of June and all of July 1965 Kiowa operated as a unit of a task force patrolling the West Indies during the second Dominican Republic Crisis. Her primary task was to maintain the off-shore pump for petroleum products to beseiged Santo Domingo. En route to East Coast, the fleet ocean tug recovered experimental mines off San Juan, Puerto Rico, before arriving off her homeport, Little Creek, Va., early in August.

 

On 7 September Kiowa departed for the Mediterranean to join the 6th Fleet in more peace-keeping operations. Arriving off Rota, Spain, the 20th, she began her target-towing, diving, and salvaging duties which continued into 1966.

 

From 26 January to 26 February 1966 the ship participated in the search for an H-bomb that fell into the Mediterranean off Palomares, Spain, following an Air Force bomber's collision with a air-tanker. Kiowa then returned home, via South Wales, England, and San Juan, arriving Little Creek 16 April. Kiowa spent the next 5 months towing targets in the Virginia Capes area before entering drydock at Norfolk 27 September.

 

Her overhaul completed by late January 1967, Kiowa returned to operations off the East Coast, cruising from Bermuda to Canada and back into late 1967.

 

Kiowa received one battle star for World War II service.