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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Topenebee

 

A noted American Indian chief of the Potawatomie tribe of southern Michigan during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Topenebee became an adherent of Tecumseh during the latter's uprising in the second decade of the 19th century. He was present at the Dearborn Massacre of 15 August 1812 and was instrumental in saving the lives of a number of settlers.

 

(YTB-373:  dp. 206; 1. 102'2"; b. 24'0";  dr. 9'7"; s. 12 k.; cpl. 12; cl. Allaquippa)

 

Topenebee (YTB-373), a large harbor tug, was constructed early in 1944 by the Gulfport Boiler & Welding Works, Inc., at Port Arthur, Tex., and was placed in service on 25 May 1944.

 

Topenebee left Galveston, Tex., on 13 June and arrived in the Canal Zone on the 26th. After almost three weeks in Panama, during which she transited the canal, the tug departed Rodman on 15 July for duty in the 14th Naval District. She arrived in Pearl Harbor on 20 August. For the next 23 years, Topenebee served in the Hawaiian Islands, primarily operating at and steaming between Midway Island and Pearl Harbor. On 1 May 1947, she was placed out of service, in reserve, at Pearl Harbor.

 

However, she was active again by 21 October 1948 and on her way to Midway to replace YTB-129, while the latter was undergoing overhaul. In January 1949, her temporary duty at Midway was formalized as a reassignment. In June of 1950, Topenebee received orders to head for Pearl Harbor for inactivation. However, later that month, communist forces invaded South Korea; the tug's tour of duty at Midway was extended; and orders for her decommissioning were cancelled. She remained active in the 14th Naval District until November of 1953 at which time she was placed out of commission, in reserve, at Pearl Harbor. In December of 1956, Topenebee came out of reserve and rejoined the active fleet.

 

For the next decade, she plied the waters of the 14th Naval District. In February 1962, she was reclassified as medium harbor tug and was redesignated YTM-373. In 1967, a Board of Inspection and Survey found Topenebee to be unsuitable for further naval service. Accordingly, she was decommissioned, and her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 June 1967. Records delineating her final disposition are not extant; but, in all probability, she was sold—possibly for private use. More probably, however, she was scrapped.