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Nuthatch

 

A small bird, of the family Sittidae, having long wings and a short tail.

 

(AM–60: dp. 890; l 221’2”; b. 32’2”; dr. 10’9”; s. 18 k.; cpl. 105; a. 1 3”; cl. Auk)

 

Nuthatch (AM–60) was laid down by the Defoe Shipbuilding Co., Bay City, Mich., 22 May 1941; launched 16 September 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Charles D. Swain; and commissioned 19 November 1942, Comdr. D. D. Humphreys in command.

 

Nuthatch then crossed the Great Lakes, steamed down the St. Lawrence, into the Atlantic and proceeded along the east coast for shakedown. Between January 1943 and April 1944, Nuthatch served in the Atlantic Fleet Convoy Escort Group, operating on the “Sugar” runs. Homeported at Norfolk, she operated to and from Santiago, Cuba; Curacao, N.W.I.; Bermuda; St. Thomas, V.I.; San Juan, P.R.; Galveston and Port Arthur, Texas; and other small ports in the CaribbeanGulf area. Convoy organization on these runs consisted of one to three Naval or Merchant Marine cargo vessels and tankers, escorted by two or three AMs.

 

Nuthatch departed the United States with her division, MinDiv 21, 7 April 1944 and headed east to Falmouth, England. There she staged for the much awaited invasion of France, scheduled for early June.

 

The division sailed from Torquay, 5 June, and, before it began sweeping operations lost one of its units, Osprey. Early on the 6th, the division started sweeping the coast of France in assault and check sweeps to assure safe passage channels for the landing craft. Sweeping continued after D-Day and on the 15th, in the Bay of the Seine, a mine exploded close aboard Nuthatch on the port side forward. While no personnel injuries were incurred, the force of the explosion damaged the hull, stopped the engines, and made all electric gear inoperative. However, within two hours, she was underway again and soon pulled out of range of German shore batteries.

 

Repairs completed in England, Nuthatch was soon back on the French side of the Channel. On the 25th, as a unit of TF 129, she participated in sweeping operations for the bombardment of Cherbourg. Sweep operations in the area continued until 1 August, when, with her entire squadron, MinRon 7, she headed for Gibraltar and duty with the 8th Fleet. Until 31 May 1945, Nuthatch, with MinDiv 21, swept mines and escorted ships in the western Mediterranean; Marseilles, Oran, Naples, Bizerte, Valletta, Palermo, and Maddalena being only a few of her stops. On 31 May, Nuthatch hoisted her homeward bound pennant and got underway for the United States.

 

Arriving Hampton Roads 15 June, Nuthatch underwent repairs and, on 18 September, sailed for Panama and duty with the Pacific Fleet. She arrived at Pearl Harbor 4 November only to receive orders to return to the United States for inactivation. Arriving at San Diego 31 December, she decommissioned 3 June 1946 and entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet. Redesignated MSF–60, 7 February 1955, Nuthatch remained in the Reserve Fleet at San Diego until struck from the Navy List 1 December 1966 and sunk as a target for the Pacific Fleet.

 

Nuthatch earned two battle stars during World War II.