Bluffton I (PC-461)
A city in northeastern Indiana located about 25 miles south of Fort Wayne.
PC-461 was laid down on 10 July 1941 at Neponset, Mass., by George Lawley & Sons, Inc.; launched on 23 December 1941; and placed in commission at the Boston Navy Yard on 19 March 1942.
After fitting out and shakedown training, the subchaser served briefly with the Caribbean Sea Frontier in June and early July of 1942. On 30 July, she reported for duty in her permanent assignment with the Panama Sea Frontier. For over two years, she escorted convoys between the Canal Zone and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and patrolled the approaches to the Panama Canal as part of the effort to protect Caribbean shipping from the submarine menace.
On 19 September 1944, PC-461 received orders to join the Pacific Fleet and, just over a month later on 20 October, reported for duty with the Pacific Fleet Service Force. She departed the west coast of Panama on 31 October bound for the southern Pacific. Steaming by way of the Galapagos Islands and Bora Bora in the Society Islands, she arrived at Noumea, New Caledonia, on 25 November. PC-461 served at New Caledonia until late December when she moved to the southern Solomons. The subchaser plied the waters around Guadalcanal through the end of April 1945. On 1 May, she set out for duty in the central Pacific. PC-461 arrived at Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands on 13 May and began escort missions between such places as Eniwetok, Guam, Saipan, and Iwo Jima. Convoy and patrol assignments in the central Pacific occupied the subchaser through the end of World War II.
Ordered back to the United States soon thereafter, PC-461 sailed via Pearl Harbor to San Diego where she spent most of the remainder of 1945. On 21 December, the warship left San Diego en route to the east coast by way of the Panama Canal. PC-461 arrived at Key West, Fla., on 3 January 1946 and reported for duty with Service Force, Atlantic Fleet. On 8 February, the subchaser joined the 16th Fleet at Green Cove Springs, Fla., for some unspecified variety of active service with the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. On 15 August 1946, she was placed out of commission, in reserve, and was berthed with that same Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Green Cove Springs.
The warship remained in reserve for 11 years. She was named Bluffton on 15 February 1956 but carried that name for less than 20 months. On 5 September 1957, her name was struck from the Navy list, and she was sold to Ships & Power, Inc., of Miami, Fla., on 5 August 1958.
Raymond A. Mann
30 January 2006