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Anaqua (AN-40)


A fruit-bearing tree or shrub native to Mexico and the southwestern part of the state of Texas.

(AN-40: displacement 1,460; length 194'6"; beam 37'; draft 13'6"; speed 12.1 knots; complement 56; armament 1 3-inch, 2 20 millimeter; class Ailanthus)

The net tender Anaqua (YN-59) was laid down on 16 December 1942 at Everett, Wash., by the Everett-Pacific Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.; launched on 16 August 1943; sponsored by Miss Marian Swalwell; redesignated as a net-laying ship, AN-40, on 20 January 1944; and placed in commission on 21 February 1944, Lt. James M. C. Tighe, D-VS, USNR, in command.

After conducting shakedown training in Puget Sound, “in and about Seattle [Wash.],” Anaqua got underway for Alaska on 18 May 1944. Proceeding via the inland passage route, she reached Dutch Harbor on 20 May and began carrying out her assignment of tending nets in waters “within the Alaska sector of the Seventeenth Naval District.” She spent the next sixth months thus engaged.

On 19 October 1944, while engaged in hauling net gear from Cold Bay, Alaska, to Dutch Harbor, Anaqua encountered a “williwaw.” Tossed by 35-foot seas and 128-mile-per-hour winds for 28 hours, the ship suffered such extensive damage that she received orders to return to the continental United States for availability.

The battered vessel reached Seattle on 20 December 1944, five days before Christmas, and entered dry dock at the Lake Washington Shipyard, Kirkland, Wash. Upon completion of the repairs, she got underway on 5 February 1945 for the Naval Net Depot, Tiburon, Calif. While en route, however, Anaqua encountered a storm off the coast of Oregon that lasted for 30 hours, with 60-miles-per-hour gusts and the seas reaching heights of 30 feet. The ship sprung numerous leaks through the main and boat decks, while several electrical fires broke out and caused considerable damage below. Upon her arrival at Tiburon, the ship was granted additional availability, and soon entered the Martinolich Shipyard, San Francisco, Calif., for repairs to her latest damage.

On 11 March 1945, Anaqua again stood out to sea and arrived back at Tiburon safely and took on a load of “amphibious” net gear before sailing for Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii. Although vexed during her voyage across the eastern Pacific by several steering engine failures, she reached Pearl Harbor on 28 March, where she learned that the Bureau of Ships had decided that the ship’s steering gear needed modification. Consequently, Anaqua unloaded her net gear and entered dry dock at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard where, in addition to changes to her steering system, her hull was re-caulked to eliminate the persistent leaks that had jeopardized the operation of the ship.

“With steering and hull defects eliminated,” her historian later wrote, Anaqua set course for the Marianas with a load of freight on 25 May 1945. Pausing briefly at Eniwetok, in the Marshalls, en route, the net-laying ship reached Guam on 16 June, discharged her cargo, and then proceeded to Tinian to lay gasoline tanker moorings. She completed that job on 22 June, then resumed her voyage to Ulithi, in the western Carolines. She arrived there on the 26th and spent the next four months in the lagoon there maintaining anti-torpedo nets in company with five other net-laying ships, duty punctuated by a trip to Yap Island following the Japanese surrender to load the erstwhile enemy’s ordnance gear for transportation back to Ulithi. While thus engaged, Anaqua destroyed four mines (most likely Type 93s) with 20-millimeter fire that had been cut by the motor minesweeper YMS-165.

Following her return to Ulithi, Anaqua assisted in closing down the once-bustling fleet anchorage there, helping to remove 20 miles of anti-torpedo net, work completed by 17 October 1945, when sailed with the covered lighter YF-218, loaded with 30 panels of anti-torpedo net on board, in tow. The ship paused at Saipan to unload YF-218’s cargo, a three-day process, then set course for Hawaii on 26 October, to proceed via the northern route in company with eight other net-laying ships.

Rough seas and inclement weather slowed progress, while fuel consumption proved higher than anticipated. Nine days out of Saipan, the nine-ship convoy altered course to steer in a more northerly direction to better ride out the storm  then head for Midway to refuel. Reaching that atoll on 5 November 1945, the tenders refueled there, then sailed the following evening [6 November] for Pearl Harbor.

Anaqua and her consorts reached Pearl Harbor on 13 November 1945, then she cleared Hawaiian waters on 16 November for San Diego, Calif., arriving at her destination on 25 November.  There she embarked three officers and 11 enlisted men as passengers, and sailed for San Pedro, Calif., where she disembarked her passengers and began preparations to deactivate the ship.

Decommissioned at San Pedro on 7 February 1946, Anaqua was stricken from the Navy Register on 26 February 1946, and sold on 6 March 1946 to Robert J. Heffner, Santa Ana, California.

Robert J. Cressman

15 March 2021

Published: Tue Mar 16 08:38:00 EDT 2021