(AM-59: dp. 890; l. 221'2"; b. 32'2"; dr. 10'9"; s. 18 k.; cpl. 105; a 1 3"; cl. Auk)
One of the tamest and most familiar of North American birds.
Chickadee (AM-59) was launched 20 July 1942 by Defoe Boat and Marine Works, Bay City, Mich.; sponsored by Mrs. G. B. Coale; commissioned 9 November 1942, Lieutenant Commander G. B. Coale, USNR, in command; and reported to the Atlantic Fleet.
Between 15 February and 4 May 1943 Chickadee voyaged from Norfolk to Casablanca on convoy escort duty, then participated in an antisubmarine search and escorted coastwise convoys until 19 June. Chickadee sailed out of Norfolk and New York as an escort for vessels sailing to Iceland or the Caribbean between 7 July 1943 and 2 March 1944.
Chickadee cleared Charleston, S.C., 7 April for Mil-ford Haven, Wales, arriving 12 May. For the remainder of the month the minesweeper engaged in training exercises for the coming invasion of Europe. Arriving off Normandy 5 June 1944 Chickadee swept fire support channels into Baie de la Seine and throughout the various assault areas along the French coast. She performed her hazardous duties under enemy shore fire on several occasions, but escaped with only minor damage from shrapnel and no casualties. The ship assisted in the rescue of survivors from Osprey (AM-56) and LST-133, and towed damaged LST-133 to safety.
Chickadee continued to operate off the coast of France, with frequent visits to British ports, until 1 August 1944 when she departed Plymouth for Naples. After arriving in Italian waters 12 August, she swept in Bonifacio Straits until 23 August when she sailed to Baie de la Cavalaire, France, for sweeping operations during the invasion of southern France. Between 29 August and 2 October she swept the harbor of Marseilles and conducted antisubmarine patrol off that port.
During October and November 1944 Chickadee carried out a visual search for mines south of San Remo, Italy, and, after a brief overhaul at Palermo, Sicily, returned to sweeping duty throughout the Mediterranean, operating out of Cannes, Nice, Leghorn, Palermo, Malta, and Corsica. On 31 May 1945 she cleared Oran, Algeria, for Norfolk, arriving 15 June.
After lengthy overhaul, Chickadee sailed from Norfolk 18 September 1945 for the Pacific, reaching San Pedro, Calif., 10 October. On 26 November she sailed for Astoria, Oreg., where she was placed out of commission in reserve 15 May 1946. Her classification was changed to MSF-59, 7 February 1955.
Chickadee received two battle stars for World War II service.