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Kingfisher III (AM-25)

(AM-25: dp. 950; l.187'10" ; b. 35'6" ; dr. 9'10" ; s. 14 k.; cpl. 78; a. 2 3", 3 .50 cal. mg.)

One of Europe's most beautiful birds (Alcedo Ispida) conspicuous for its blue-green back and rich chestnut breast.


Kingfisher (AM-25) was launched 30 March 1918 by Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Puget Sound, Wash.; sponsored by Miss Nancy Griswold; and commissioned 27 May 1918, Lt. (j.g.) C. L. Greene in command.

Departing Bremerton, Wash., 17 June, Kingfisher steamed to Philadelphia, where she arrived 8 August for duty as a minesweeper off Cape May, N.J. On 5 April 1919 she departed Boston for the North Sea, arriving Inverness, Scotland. 20 April. Assigned to the North Sea Detachment at Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, she swept up mines of the Northern Barrage until 1 October when she sailed for the United States. Steaming via France, Portugal, and the Azores, she reached New York 19 November.

Assigned to the Train Force, Pacific Fleet, Kingfisher departed Hampton Roads, Va., 9 August 1920 for the West Coast. Arriving San Diego 3 October, she began duty as a fleet tug and minesweeper. Over the next 19 years fleet maneuvers and supply, towing, and minesweeping operations sent her to the East Coast, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Canal Zone, and Hawaii. During the summers of 1933, 1934, and 1935 she supplied naval ships and bases in Alaskan waters for the Aleutian Islands Survey Expedition.

Departing San Diego 4 October 1939, she sailed to Pearl Harbor for duty with the Base Force, Hawaiian Detachment. Arriving 19 October, she towed target rafts and conducted gunnery and minesweeping exercises until sailing for Samoa 26 October 1941. Kingfisher reached Tutuila 5 November and was on station duty 7 December when hearing of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

With Lt. Comdr. C. B. Schiano in command, Kingfisher began defense patrol and mine laying operations off Samoa.

On 19 February 1942 she departed Tutuila for similar duty in the Fijis and arrived Viti Levu 23 February. Returning to Samoa 12 April, she was reclassifled AT-135 on 1 June; she then sailed to Wallis Island 28 July for a month of plane guard and rescue duty. With a lighter in tow she departed Suva, Fiji, 12 September for Noumea, New Caledonia. Arriving 18 September, she served under the command of the Port Director until she departed for Hawaii 8 October.

Arriving Pearl Harbor 30 October, Kingfisher served as a tug and torpedo recovery ship until 23 September when she sailed for the Ellice Islands. She reached Funafuti 5 October and undertook towing duty between the Ellice and Phoenix Islands. On 8 December she sailed for the Gilberts, arriving Tarawa Atoll 13 December. Though subjected to intermittent enemy bombing attacks, Kingfisher towed antisubmarine nets and laid telephone cables in Betio Harbor before departing 27 December for Funafuti. From 30 December to 15 April she continued towing, station ship, and harbor operations in the Ellice, Gilbert, and Marshall Islands; then she departed Kwajalein 16 April for Pearl Harbor, arriving 29 April. Reclassifled ATO-135 on 15 May, Kingfisher departed 19 September for further towing operations in the South Pacific. Towing runs sent her to Palmyra, Ellice, Solomon, Admiralty, and Marshall Islands before she returned to Pearl 14 November. On 18 November she sailed for the West Coast, arriving San Diego 29 November. She returned to Pearl 29 January 1945 and resumed tug and target towing services. On 21 April she assisted in Salvage operations of grounded merchantman Sarensen. And while towing a gunnery target 4 May, she rescued the pilot of an Army P-47 that had splashed while on a training Sight.

Kingfisher sailed for San Francisco 30 October, arriving 9 November. Remaining in the San Francisco Bay area, she decommissioned 6 February 1946 and entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet. Transferred to the Maritime Commission 3 June 1947, she was sold the same day to M. E. Baker at Suisun Bay, Calif.

Kingfisher received one battle star for World War II service.

Published: Tue Jul 28 13:14:44 EDT 2015