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Bobolink I (Minesweeper No. 20)


An American bird named after its call.


(Minesweeper No. 20: displacement 950; length 187'10"; beam 35'6"; draft 9'9"; speed 14 knots; complement 72; armament 2 3-inch; class Lapwing)

The first Bobolink (AM-20) was launched 15 June 1918 by Baltimore Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co., Baltimore, Md.; sponsored by Miss Elsie Jean Willis; and commissioned 28 January 1919, Lieutenant F. Bruce in command.

Bobolink departed Norfolk in April 1919 to join Division 2, North Sea Minesweeping Detachment, at Kirkwall, Orkney Islands. While sweeping the North Sea 14 May 1919, a mine exploded close by, causing considerable damage to the stern and killing Lieutenant Bruce. Her repairs at Royal Dockyard, Devonport, England, took six months and she returned to Norfolk in January 1920.

Between 1920 and 1931 Bobolink served with the Fleet Base Force, Scouting Fleet, on the east coast and participated in fleet problems, concentrations, and join Army-Navy maneuvers. On 3 March 1932 she arrived on the west coast and was thereafter based at San Diego. She operated along the western seaboard between San Francisco and San Quentin Bay, Mexico, with the Train and various destroyer divisions. In 1935 she took part in the annual exercises and fleet problems held off Hawaii. Between January and March 1939 she participated in fleet problems in the Caribbean and then returned to San Diego, arriving 13 May 1939.

In September 1940 Bobolink joined the Train, Base Force, U.S. Fleet, at Pearl Harbor. She remained there until September 1942. Bobolink was present during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941. Following the attack she served as a salvage vessel and minesweeper. Between 20 May and 2 July 1942 she was converted to an ocean-going tug (redesignated AT-131, 1 June 1942). Remaining at Pearl Harbor until September 1942, Bobolink then steamed to the South Pacific and operated out of Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands; Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides; and Noumea, New Caledonia, as a tug until February 1944. She arrived at Long Beach, Calif., 4 March 1944 for overhaul and returned to Pearl Harbor 29 June 1944. She served in Hawaiian waters until the fall of 1945 and then returned to Mare Island Navy Yard where she was decommissioned 22 February 1945. She was sold through the Maritime Commission 5 October 1946.

Bobolink received one battle star during World War II.

30 January 2006

Published: Thu Jul 07 01:28:02 EDT 2016