(AM-242: dp. 530; l. 184'6"; b. 33'; dr. 9'9"; s. 15 k.; cpl. 104; a. 1 3", 4 40mm.; cl. Admirable)
Pertaining to an inauguration.
Inaugural (AM-242) was laid down 22 May 1944 by Winslow Marine Railway & Shipbuilding Co., Winslow, Wash.; launched 1 October 1944; sponsored by Miss Jacqueline Gage; and commissioned 30 December 1944, Lt. J. H. Pace in command.
Following shakedown off the California coast, Inaugural sailed 14 March 1945 for Pearl Harbor, where she arrived 8 days later. For the next 2 months the minesweeper performed patrol and escort duties between Hawaii and the islands of the western Pacific. She was at Saipan 22 May and departed that day with a convoy bound for Okinawa, site of the last and largest amphibious operation of the tough Pacific war. After a voyage enlivened by several attacks on suspected submarines, the convoy reached Okinawa 30 May 1945.
During the desperate struggle for Okinawa, Inaugural patrolled the seas around the island group, often firing at enemy planes as Japanese aircraft made a suicidal effort to stop American ground forces by destroying their support from the sea. Except for the period 19-24 July, when the ship put to sea to ride out the great typhoon, Inaugural remained in the dangerous waters around Okinawa until 30 August 1945.
With the war then over, she steamed to the waters around Japan and Korea for vital minesweeping operations that were a necessary prelude to occupation. She swept the approaches to Jinsen, Korea, in September, and later cleared mines in waters off Nagasaki and Sasebo, Japan. Inaugural proceeded to Okinawa for needed equipment 14-24 October and then returned to the important minesweeping operations around the Japanese home islands.
The veteran minesweeper sailed 24 December for the United States, via Saipan and Pearl Harbor, and arrived San Pedro, Calif., 7 February 1946. Sailing again 11 March, she proceeded to Galveston, Tex., and decommissioned there 9 September 1946. Inaugural entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, Texas Group, where she remained until struck from the Navy List 1 March 1967 and sold. She was reclassified MSF-242 on 7 February 1955.
Inaugural received two battle stars for World War II service.