(AT-71: dp. 1,240 ; l. 205'; b. 38'6" ; dr. 15'4" ; s. 16 k.; cpl. 85; a. 1 3", 2 20mm.; 4 dcp.; cl. Cherokee)
A group of the Shoshonean Tribe of the Pueblo Indians.
Hopi (AT-71) was launched 7 September 1942 by the Charleston Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Charleston, S.C., sponsored by Miss F. E. L. Blackwell; and commissioned 31 March 1943, Lt. O. W. Huff in command.
After shakedown out of Key West, Hopi sailed to New York to sail 10 June 1943 with a convoy for North Africa. After arriving Oran the 21st, she performed towing service for several days before steaming to Bizerte to join Vice Admiral Hewitt's Western Naval Task Force for the assault on Sicily (10 July-17 August 1943). Departing Bizerte 8 July with pontoons in tow, Hopi landed them 2 days later and immediately set to work clearing the beaches of damaged landing craft, fighting fires on vessels in the transport areas, and performing a multitude of other jobs so vital to success in amphibious operations.
Hopi returned to Bizerte 10 August to prepare for the Salerno Operation (9 September-13 October 1943). She sailed early in September and again performed invaluable salvage work. * At 0940, 11 September, cruiser Savannah, while lying-to in the support area awaiting calls for gunfire support, received a direct hit on No. 3 turret which left her dead in the water. Hopi and salvage tug Moreno immediately came alongside. Untiring and skillful work by the two tugs enabled Savannah to retire to Malta that evening under her own power. At 1427, 16 September, HMS Warspite was put out of action by two direct hits and two near misses from guided bombs. She was taken in tow by Hopi and Moreno and delivered to Malta without further incident.
Hopi next sailed for the assault on Anzio (22 January 1944) and remained there for the next month. On 15 February the liberty ship Elihu Yale was severely damaged by a direct bomb hit which left her burning fiercely. The ship had been abandoned except for one wounded man trapped below, though there were still some men clinging to life lines. After picking up survivors, Hopi maneuvered alongside and transferred fire fighting equipment to the stricken vessel. Over 2 days later the last fire was extinguished. Hopi, which handled the entire operation without outside assistance, had fought the fire with only some 40 men. The rest of the crew had remained on their stations during repeated air raids and heavy fire from shore; just one of many splendid examples of courage, devotion, and the "can-do" spirit of the Navy's small but gallant ships in the face of danger.
Reclassifled ATF-71, 15 May 1944, Hopi was assigned duty towing various craft about the Mediterranean until August when she again joined Vice Adm. Hewitt's Western Naval Task Force for Operation Dragoon, the invasion of southern France. As flagship of the Salvage and Fire-fighting Group, Hopi again rendered invaluable service. After termination of this operation she resumed her towing duties, principally shuttling pontoons from Bizerte to Oran.
Hopi arrived Antwerp, Belgium, 25 June 1945 and took in tow the Army Power Plant Seapower. Delivering it to Bermuda 25 August, she sailed for Norfolk, arriving 28 August and remained there until 21 October. At that time she steamed to Boston and 1 December got underway to assist the coastal collier Tristan, who had lost her rudder in a storm. Hopi returned to Boston 3 December with Tristan in tow.
For the next 3 years she operated along the East Coast with frequent towing duties to Oran, Algiers, Newfoundland, and the Caribbean. During the Berlin Airlift in 1948-1949 as Navy tankers and other ships brought 12 million gallons of aviation gasoline, goods, and supplies into Bremerhaven, Hopi, with the 2d Task Fleet held maneuvers in the North Atlantic, showing American power at sea, visible evidence of United States strength if needed, to maintain sovereignty for free people everywhere.
In the 1950's Hopi resumed her operations along the East Coast, performing towing and salvage services in Newfoundland and the Caribbean as well. She thus contributed to the operating efficiency of the fleet in its important peace-keeping operations. Hopi decommissioned at New London 9 December 1955 and joined the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She was turned over to the Maritime Administration 27 March 1962 and moved to the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River, Va., where she remains, following permanent transfer to the Maritime Administration 1 July 1963, into 1967.
Hopi received four battle stars for World War II service.