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Apache V (T-ATF-172)


The fifth U.S. Navy ship to carry name of this Native American tribe that inhabited the southwestern portion of the United States.


(T-ATF-172; displacement 1,387 (light) 2,000 (full); 1ength 226'; beam 42'; draft 15'; speed 15 knots; complement 21; class Powhatan)

The fifth Apache (ATF-172) was laid down on 22 March 1979 at Marinette, Wis., by the Marinette Marine Corporation; launched on 28 March 1981; sponsored by Mrs. John R. Young; and delivered to the Military Sealift Command (MSC) on 23 July 1981.


First in Tow and Salvage

Manned by a civil service crew, the fleet tug (designated as T-ATF-172 in service) began service with the MSC in the Atlantic. Among her early assignments was a mission in September 1982 towing battleship Iowa (BB-61) from the Philadelphia (Pa.) Naval Shipyard to Westwego, La. where the battleship began modernization work preparatory to her return to active service.

On 18 November 1983, Apache towed the decommissioned destroyer Barry (DD-933), which was to serve as a museum ship at the Washington Navy Yard, on the Anacostia River.

On 25 November 2001 Apache rescued four people from an 80-foot sailing yacht Bossa Nova II which was foundering in 20-knot winds and 12-foot seas 1,400 miles southwest of the Azores. The yacht was en route from St. Martin to Gibraltar when it began to take on water and sink. Apache was en route to the Mediterranean from Norfolk, Va. for duty as the U.S. 6th Fleet towing and salvage ship when she was notified by the U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center in Portsmouth, Va. that the yacht was in trouble.

Apache (T-ATF-172)-050203-N-0295M-002
Apache endures a snow storm at Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Little Creek, Va. (Photographers Mate 2nd Class Daniel J. McLain, U.S. Navy Photograph 050203-N-0295M-002, Photos)

On 10 August 2006 Apache responded to a shipboard fire aboard a commercial freighter while repairing the port of Monrovia, Liberia's damaged commercial pier and surveying the city's harbor.

Apache- fighting fire in Monrovia-11Aug2006-060811-N-3255B-001
Crewmembers on board Apache battle the flames on board commercial freighter Tahoma Reefer in Monrovia, Liberia, 10 August 2006. Apache rescued the freighter's crew and was able to bring the fire under control. (U.S. Navy Photograph 060811-N-3255B-001, Photos)

On 14 August 2006, she rescued seven fishermen whose canoes capsized in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Monrovia.

Apache- rescued Liberian fishermen- 14Aug2006-060814-N-3255B-001 cropped
Liberian fishermen huddle on board a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) assigned to Apache after being rescued on 14 August 2006. (U.S. Navy Photograph 060814-N-3255B-001, Photos)

On 3 September 2006, the ship arrived in Sekondi, Ghana, to participate in a military exercise with the Ghanaian navy as part of the United States’ ongoing effort to strengthen its emerging partnership with that country.

Apache- divers off Solomons Island-12Jul2010-100713-N-9769P-132
Navy divers are lowered from Apache on a diving stage, 12 July 2010. Sailors assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2 are conducting mixed-gas and air diving off Solomons Island, Md. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jayme Pastoric, U.S. Navy Photograph 100713-N-9769P-132, Photos)

On 1 October 2015, MV El Faro disappeared with all hands during Hurricane Joaquin. Apache departed Norfolk on 19 October to begin searching for wreckage from the missing U.S.-flagged merchant vessel.

Apache- CURV in water-5Nov2015-151105-N-RZ218-161
The Cable Underwater Recovery Vehicle (CURV) holds a stationary position suspended from Apache’s A-Frame while searching for El Faro, 5 November 2015. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Paul Kotara II, U.S. Navy Photograph 151105-N-RZ218-161, Photos)

Detailed history pending.

Christopher B. Havern Sr.

24 November 2015

Published: Thu Jan 14 14:40:41 EST 2016