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Catawba II (ATA-210)


Formerly a leading tribe of the Carolinas and the most important of the eastern Siouian tribes; the Catawba aided the colonists in the Tuscarora War of 1711-1715, in the French and Indian War, and in the defense of South Carolina against the British during the Revolutionary War.


(ATA-210: displacement 835 (full load); length 143'; beam 34'; draft 15'; speed 13 knots; complement 45; armament 1 3-inch; class ATA-174)

The second Catawba (ATA-210) was laid down as ATR-137, reclassified ATA-210 on 15 May 1944, and launched on 15 February 1945 by Gulfport Boiler and Welding Works, Port Arthur, Tex., under a Maritime Commission contract; acquired by the Navy 18 April 1945; and commissioned the same day, Lt. (j.g.) R. W. Standart, USNR, in command.

Catawba cleared Galveston, Tex., on 16 May 1945 on towing duty bound for San Diego, where she arrived on 19 June. She sailed on to San Francisco to pick up another tow, which she brought into Pearl Harbor on 10 July. Proceeding to the Marshalls, Catawba was at sea between Kwajalein and Guam with two tows when the war ended. A brief voyage to the Philippines preceded her return to the east coast.

From 1946 through 1962, Catawba has been based at Norfolk, Va., Jacksonville, Fla., and Charleston, S.C., for the miscellany of towing duties which makes her and her sister tugs an essential although little-heralded part of the U.S. Navy. Disabled ships are brought to safety, or taken from one port to another for repairs; targets are towed in gunnery exercises; large fleet units are aided in docking and undocking. Although operating primarily off the southern coast, Catawba has frequently cruised to more northern ports to deliver ships to overhauling yards. In the summer of 1959, she joined the task force conducting Operation Inland Sea, the first penetration of the Great Lakes by American naval forces passing through the Saint Lawrence Seaway. For the larger ships of the force, it was often a close fit, and the services of Catawba and other tugs were essential.

Ultimately, Catawba was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 February 1975, and sold, through the Security Assistance Program, to the government of Argentina on 1 October 1975.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

30 October 2020

Published: Fri Oct 30 12:58:27 EDT 2020