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Wapakoneta

 

The seat of Auglaize County, Ohio, a city founded in 1833 and named for the Shawnee Indian chief of the same name. The city is the hometown of Neil Armstrong, who, in July 1969, became the first man to walk on the surface of the Moon.

 

I

 

(PC-579: dp. 450 (f.) ; l. 173'8"; b. 23'0"; dr. 10'10" (mean) ; cpl. 65; s. 20.2 k.; a. 2 3", 5 20mm., 2 dct., 2 dcp., 2 mousetrap; cl. PC-461)

 

More than two decades after she was built, the first Wapakoneta (PC-579) was given that name on 15February 1956 while she was resting in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Norfolk, Va. She was originally laid down as the unnamed PC-579 on 5 January 1942 at Portland, Oreg., by the Albina Engine and Machinery Works, Inc.; launched on 29 April 1942; sponsored by Mrs. S. M. Rovang; and commissioned on 25 August 1942, Lt. Grinnel Lewis, USNR, in command.

 

After fitting out at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Wash., PC-579 reported for duty to the Commander, Western Sea Frontier, on 18 September 1942. She operated locally, on patrol and escort missions, into the autumn of the following year, before she sailed for Hawaii. From mid-November 1943, PC-579 operated under the aegis of Commander, Hawaiian Sea Frontier, performing more escort and patrol missions locally in the Hawaiian Islands, principally around Oahu and Pearl Harbor, through the end of World War II and into March 1946.

 

Assigned to the Atlantic Fleet in the spring of 1946, PC-579 arrived at the Charleston Navy Yard, Charleston, S.C., via the Panama Canal on 20 April 1946. After an overhaul there, PC-579 departed Charleston on 8 July, bound for Norfolk, Va., arriving there the following day. She remained there until 14 August, when she headed northward for Narragansett Bay, reaching Newport, R.I., on the 15th.

 

PC-579 served briefly as a training ship under the aegis of Commander, Training Command, Atlantic Fleet, based at Newport into the spring of 1947. During that time, the patrol craft was homeported at Newport and visited Salem, Mass., from 25 to 28 October 1946 and New London, Conn., from 27 March to 7 April 1947. Completing that tour of temporary duty on 23 May 1947, PC-579 departed Newport and sailed for Fort Pierce, Fla.

 

Working out of Fort Pierce and Mayport, Fla., the patrol craft again operated in a training capacity— primarily in the Banana River region—into the summer. On 1 August, she departed Mayport, bound for Narragansett Bay, and reached Newport on 3 August. She then underwent repairs alongside the repair ship Vulcan (AR-5) from 4 to 18 August before she sailed to Warren, R.I., on the 22d, to take part in observances marking the 200th anniversary of the founding of that town.

 

PC-579 continued training evolutions off the eastern seaboard until "immobilized" on 1 November 1947. Thereafter, the patrol craft conducted "limited operations" out of Newport into the autumn of the following year, 1948, making only comparatively short cruises—-to such ports as Bangor and East Boothbay, Maine, and Newburyport and Gloucester, Mass.

 

Apparently restored to full operational status in mid-1948, PC-579 shifted her area of operations southward to warmer climes. The ports she visited and operated from, between late 1948 and late 1955, included Baltimore, Md.; Key West, St. Petersburg, and Jacksonville, Fla.; Charleston, S.C.; Norfolk; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; and the Cuban ports of Guantanamo Bay and Havana.

 

Placed in reserve at Norfolk on 17 October 1955, PC-579 was decomissioned on 17 December of the same year. Although named Wapakoneta (retaining her PC-579 classification) on 15 February 1956, the patrol craft never served actively under that name, remaining in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet until struck from the Navy list on 1 July 1960. The exact nature of her ultimate disposal is not recorded