Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Azurlite (PY-22)


A blue, semiprecious gem stone derived from the mineral carbonate of copper.

(PY-22: displacement 1,200; 1ength 210'11"; beam 34'; draft 12'; speed 13'/2 knots; complement 67; armament 2 3-inch, 4 .50-caliber machine guns)

Vagabondia, a yacht designed by Cox & Stevens, Inc., and constructed in 1928 at Kiel, Germany, by Germaniawerft was purchased by the Navy on 9 December 1941 from Mr. William L. Mellon, the Pittsburgh financier and industrialist who founded and headed the Gulf Oil Corporation; renamed Azurlite on 22 December 1941 and simultaneously designated PY-22; converted to naval use at the Marine Basin Co., Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y.; and placed in commission on 16 March 1942, Lt. Philip H. Dennler, Jr., USNR, in command.

The converted yacht completed fitting out at New York and put to sea on 6 April 1942. She touched at Norfolk the next day and then continued on to Charleston, S.C., where she was joined by armed yacht Beryl (PY-23) and the district patrol vessel YP-209. She and her consorts stood out of Charleston on 16 April; proceeded to the Canal Zone; transited the Panama Canal on 27 April; and shaped a course for San Diego on the 28th. Azurlite arrived in San Diego on 9 May and remained there until 20 June when she weighed anchor for the Hawaiian Islands. The converted yacht arrived in Pearl Harbor on 28 June and reported for duty to the Commander, Sea Forces, Hawaiian Sea Frontier.

With the exception of two round-trip voyages to the Gilbert Islands, Azurlite spent the remainder of World War II operating in the Hawaiian Islands. At first, she conducted training exercises and escorted ships between the islands, as well as into and out of Pearl Harbor. Later, she added duty as a weather station ship west of the main islands and as an air/sea rescue ship. Her two absences from Hawaii came in the early part of 1944. Between 17 January and 6 February 1944, the yacht escorted a convoy to Abemama in the Gilberts and returned to Oahu. Between 20 February and mid-March, she conducted a similar mission, this time to Tarawa and back. Upon her return to Hawaii, Azurlite resumed her former duties with the Hawaiian Sea Frontier.

She continued to be so engaged until late in the fall of 1945. Early in November, she departed Hawaii for the west coast. The converted yacht arrived in San Francisco on 15 November. She was decommissioned on 22 January 1946 at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California. Her name was stricken from the Navy Register on 25 February 1946. She was transferred to the War Shipping Administration and was sold to Mr. Royal B. Bodden on 29 January 1947.

Raymond A. Mann

29 July 2020

Published: Wed Jul 29 11:00:10 EDT 2020