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Argus II (PY-14)

(PY-14: dp. 859; l. 207'6"; b. 30'; dr. 12'; s. 14.5 k.; cpl. 59; a. 1 3", 4 .50-cal. mg., 1 dcp. (Y-gun), 2 dct.)


A monster with a hundred eyes supposedly slain by the Greek mythological messenger of the gods, Hermes.


The second Argus (PY-14), a yacht built in 1929 at Kiel, Germany, by Germaniawerft as Haida, was acquired by the Navy on 25 October 1940 from Mrs. Max C. Fleischmann of Glenbrook, Nev.; converted at Long Beach, Calif., by the Craig Shipbuilding Co. for naval service; renamed Argus (PY-14) on 14 November 1940; and commissioned on 13 February 1941, Lt. Comdr. Harold H. Connelley in command.

Argus arrived in San Francisco on 19 February 1941 and began duty patrolling San Francisco Bay as a unit of the Patrol force, 12th Naval District. That assignment lasted until May 1941 when she was reassigned to what appears to have been a successor organization, Patrol Squadron 1, Local Defense Force, 12th Naval District. Her duty, however, remained substantially the same as before, patrolling San Francisco Bay. She continued to perform this task until decommissioned on 17 September 1941. She was then transferred to the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey which she served for eight months.

Argus was returned to the Navy on 16 March 1942; and, after reconversion at the General Engineering & Drydock Co., she was recommissioned at San Francisco on 18 April 1942. The converted yacht resumed her patrols of San Francisco Bay under the auspices of the Commandant, 12th Naval District, and continued that duty for the remainder of her naval career. Two events highlighted this otherwise prosaic existence.

The first occurred when Argus rescued the 60 survivors from the "Liberty Ship" John A. Johnson, which had been torpedoed and sunk by the Japanese submarine I-12 on 30 October 1944. I-12, after ramming and sinking the lifeboats and rafts, had then machine-gunned the 70 survivors in the water, killing ten. A Pan American Airways plane spotted John A. Johnson's remaining men soon thereafter, and Argus recovered them at 2135 on 30 October. She disembarked them at San Francisco on 3 November. Ardent (AM-340) and Rockford (PF-48) then teamed up to sink I-12 ten days later.

In the second, Argus participated in the establishment of a weather station on Clipperton Island, 670 miles southwest of Acapulco, Mexico. Departing San Francisco on 4 December 1944, with meteorological personnel embarked, the converted yacht reached the island a week later and landed her passengers. With the American colors hoisted over the island, the naval weather station was set up that day, supported at the outset by Argus. The yacht was decommissioned at San Francisco on 15 April 1946. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 21 May 1946, and she was transferred to the Maritime Commission on 30 October 1946 for disposal.

Published: Thu Jun 18 11:42:15 EDT 2015