Naval History and Heritage Command

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Gorgona (S. P. 2164)

1917-1919 

The Navy retained the name carried by this vessel at the time of her acquisition. 

(S. P. 2164: displacement 732; length 112'; beam 30'; draft 15'6"; speed 12 knots; complement 27; armament none)

Gorgona -- built in 1915 at Staten Island, N.Y., by the Staten Island Steam Boat Co. -- was acquired from the Panama Canal Authority, given the section patrol identification S. P. 2164, and was commissioned on 23 July 1917 at Portsmouth, Va., Ens. (T) Gustav Freudendorf in command.

After fitting out at Arundel Cove, Md., then Lynnhaven Roads, until 21 October 1917, Gorgona served with the Atlantic Fleet out of Norfolk, towing target rafts for fleet gunnery practice on the Southern Drill Grounds and steaming between Hampton Roads, Lynnhaven Roads, Yorktown, and Norfolk.  She also performed the rugged utility work peculiar to her class; she towed in a wrecked barge on 8 January 1918, then freed the stranded Argentine steamer Pampa (9-11 January), then towed target rafts for the tender Lebanon and Seattle (Armored Cruiser No. 11) soon thereafter. Other ships of the Atlantic Fleet stationed at Norfolk for which she towed targets for gunnery shoots included Nevada (Battleship No. 36) and Maine (Battleship No. 10), as well as Oklahoma (Battleship No. 37), Missouri (Battleship No. 11), Kearsarge (Battleship No. 5) and Mississippi (Battleship No. 41). In between those stints towing targets for dreadnoughts and pre-dreadnoughts alike, Gorgona underwent repairs and alterations at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia. 

Gorgona remained on that duty through the Armistice (11 November 1918) that ended the Great War, until 24 January 1919 when she stood out of Hampton Roads for Cuban waters, setting course for Guantanamo, Cuba, reaching her destination with a target raft in tow on 30 January. There she supported the gunnery practices of Batteship Forces 1 and 2, after which time she set out for Port Antonio, Jamaica, on 10 March, then proceeded to New Orleans, La., making arrival there on 15 March. Underway to return, barges in tow, to Cuban waters, Gorgona sailed on 21 March, standing in to Guananamo Bay on 29 March. Sailing for Norfolk on 5 March with a target raft in tow, the tug dropped off the raft at Norfolk on 12 April, then set course for New York, shifting railroad barges, before returning to the Tidewater region on 27 April.

Proceeding thence up the Potomac River, Gorgona worked on the torpedo range there (28 April-6 May 1919), then returned to Norfolk, after whcih she steamed tio New york, then Hoboken, N.J., ultimately departing that port with barges in tow for the Panama Canal Zone. Pausing fiorst at Guantanamo (11 June), then  Coco Solo (16 June), Gorgona was placed out of commission on 20 June 1919, returning to her pre-war work with the Panama Canal Authority. 

Robert J. Cressman

9 August 2016 

Published: Tue Aug 09 23:52:41 EDT 2016