(AMc-40: displacement 173; length 97'1"; beam 21'6"; draft 9'; speed 10 knots; complement 17; armament 4 .30-caliber machine guns; class Accentor)
Caracara (AMc-40) was laid down on 26 December 1940 at South Bristol, Maine, by the Bristol Yacht Building Co.; launched on 23 August 1941; and sponsored by Mrs. John A. Lord, wife of Lt. John A. Lord (CC), USN (Ret.).
Caracara ran aground (but suffered no damage) during passage from her building yard to Boston [Mass.] Navy Yard, and she was delivered to the Navy at the Boston Navy Yard on 3 December 1941. She was placed in service on 30 December 1941, Lt. (j.g.) William W. Low, D-V(G), USNR, officer-in-charge.
Assigned to the Naval Operating Base (NOB) at Trinidad on 1 April 1942, sister ship Chachalaca (AMc-41) began immediate operations, and operated daily. Soon after arrival, however, her magnetic sweep cable broke, and despite immediate repairs with locally available materials, failed again after only one day’s use. “If adequate repair materials…were available, a better job could have undoubtedly been done. Because of lack of such,” the Commander Inshore Patrol, Trinidad Sector, wrote on 4 April, “it was necessary to order by dispatch a replacement cable for this vessel.”
Caracara experienced materiel casualties as well soon after her arrival, prompting Commander Inshore Patrol, Trinidad Sector, to ask that the Bureau of Ships take steps to provide the necessary spare parts to keep the two ships operating. “The urgency of this may be better understood,” the commander wrote on 4 April 1942, “if the Bureau realizes that these [Chachalaca and Caracara] are the only two vessels available between the British and ourselves that are capable of actually doing a sweeping job in the Gulf of Paria.”
Assigned to the Caribbean Sea Frontier in accordance with a ComInCh dispatch of 23 July 1942, she operated as part of the district defense forces, until assigned to Commandant, Tenth Naval District, on 21 April 1944, reporting back to the Commandant, Tenth Naval District, on 25 April. Her sweeping operations in those waters continued through the end of hostilities in the European and Atlantic theaters.
Placed out of service and laid up in the Wando [S.C.] River on 28 December 1945, three days after Christmas, Caracara was stricken from the List of District Craft on 21 January 1946.
Accepted by the U.S. Maritime Commission on 25 July 1947, the vessel was physically delivered at Charleston, S.C., to Roland I. Styron, of Cash Corner, N.C., her purchaser, the same day.
Robert J. Cressman and Teresa R. Hasson
25 April 2018