A resort city in Cape May County, New Jersey. It is located on a barrier island off the Atlantic coast of the Cape May Peninsula, some 33 miles southwest of Atlantic City. Wildwood was incorporated as a borough in 1895 and became a city in 1911 through consolidation with the borough of Holly Beach City.
(PC-1181: dp. 450 (f.); l. 173'8"; b. 23'; dr. l0'l0" (max.); cpl. 65; s. 20.2 k.; a. 1 3", 1 40mm., 3 20mm., 4 dcp., 2 dct, 2 dcp. (Mousetrap); cl. PC-461)
Wildwood was laid down as PC-1181 on 5 October 1942 at Jacksonville, Fla., by the Gibbs Gas Engine Co.; launched on 15 April 1943; and commissioned on 17 September 1943, Lt. Carver J. Peacock, USNR, in command.
PC-1181 was fitted out at the Charleston (S.C.) Navy Yard and then moved to Florida waters for shakedown training out of Miami and sonar and antisubmarine warfare training at the Fleet Sound School at Key West. Then, her skills thus honed, the patrol craft got underway from Kest West on 6 November to escort Convoy KN-275 to New York City and arrived there with her charges on Armistice Day, 11 November.
One week later, PC-1181 sailed for Cuba with Convoy NG-399. One day out, she developed an oil leak and put into Norfolk, Va., on the 20th. The submarine chaser repaired the damage and got underway on the 22d, overtook the convoy, and completed the voyage to Guantanamo.
Having made port at Guantanamo Bay on 27 November, PC-1181 sailed for New York with Convoy GN-99 on the 30th, arriving at her destination on 6 December. However, the respite allowed the ship was a short one, for she quickly got underway again, proceeding to sea with Convoy NG-404 and drawing the duty of covering a lagging merchantman. Arriving at Guantanamo on 20 December, the submarine chaser sailed for New York on Christmas Day.
PC-1181 arrived at New York on New Year's Day 1944 but departed that port six days later with Convoy NG-409. Two days out, she was detached to stand by the disabled merchantman SS Beta, which had developed engine trouble. Completing her mission as the merchantman repaired her engines, PC-1181 was en route to rejoin the convoy when her sonar operators picked up a contact at 2132 on 12 January. In the meantime, PC-618 developed a stronger contact, and the escort commander, soon seeing that PC-1181's contact was somewhat less distinct, ordered that submarine chaser to break off her search and assist PC-618. This proved unproductive, however, and the two submarine chasers abandoned the hunt to rejoin the convoy, subsequently arriving at Guantanamo Bay on 15 January.
PC-1181 continued to escort the coastwise convoys into the spring of the year. She operated off the eastern seaboard of the United States as far north as New York and into the Caribbean Sea. Eventually, her area of operations embraced the Gulf of Mexico, as she escorted convoys bound from Guantanamo Bay to the Panama Canal Zone from May of 1944, under the aegis of Commander, Panama Sea Frontier. In the meantime, the Battle of the Atlantic was being won by the Allies as they gained the upper hand over German Admiral Donitz' U-boat arm. Eventually, the Allied armies on the continent of Europe forced Germany out of the war in the bitter struggle which ended in May 1945.
The convoy system, established to provide protection against the U-boats which occasionally conducted forays into the Gulf of Mexico, was then abolished, and PC-1181 assumed new duties—this time under the aegis of Commander, Submarine Squadron 3. The submarine chaser served as target vessel for submarines operating in the gulf, out of Panama. She remained operating in the gulf through the end of the war with Japan in August 1945. Shifted to the local defense forces of the Panama Canal, PC-1181 operated in this capacity, conducting patrols and training operations out of Coco Solo, Canal Zone, until June 1946. Departing Coco Solo on 13 July, PC-1181 sailed for Florida, arrived at Key West six days later, and was decommissioned there on 18 August 1946.
Placed in the status of a district craft for use by local Naval Reserve training units, PC-1181 was delivered to St. Petersburg, Fla., soon thereafter. She operated with that area's reserve units embarked between St. Petersburg and Key West until February 1950. Subsequently placed in reserve at Brownsville, Tex., and later shifted to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet's berthing area at Norfolk, Va., PC-1181 was named Wildwood by 15 February 1956. However, she never served actively under that name. She was struck from the Navy list on 1 April 1959 and was sold for scrap soon thereafter