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(ATF-104: dp. 1,240; l. 205'; b. 38'6"; dr. 15'4"; s. 16 k.; cpl. 85; a. 1 3", 2 40mm.; cl. Cherokee)

A group of the Apache tribe found in the southwestern United States.

Jicarilla (ATF-104) was laid down as AF-104 by Charleston Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Charleston, S.C., 25 August 1943; launched 25 February 1944; sponsored by Mrs. R. L. Harley; reclassified ATF-104 on 15 May 1944; and commissioned at Charleston Navy Yard 26 June 1944. Lt. Comdr. W. B. Coats in command.

Following shakedown training in Chesapeake Bay, Jicarilla departed New York towing barges 9 August 1944, bound fox San Francisco via the Panama Canal. She arrived 22 September, but sailed again seven days later towing ARD-21 to Pearl Harbor. The tug remained in Hawaiian waters until November doing salvage and towing work, including the difficult task of pulling SS Antigua off a reef 14-21 October. Departing Pearl Harbor 7 November, she towed barges of supplies to advance bases at Eniwetok and Ulithi, arriving the latter island 3 December.

With the campaign to recapture the Philippines well underway, Jicarilla sailed 10 December as part of the refueling group for Task Force 38, the fast carrier group then supporting the Philippines operation. Refueling began early 17 December but had to be broken off as weather worsened. Anxious to top off his destroyers and support the Mindoro operation. Admiral Halsey continued attempts to refuel until the next morning, when Jicarilla and the rest of the fueling group turned south. The fleet tug rode out the typhoon and returned to Ulithi 22 December, but the great storm sank three gallant destroyers, two of them from Jicarilla's group. Undaunted, the fast carrier force resumed its punishing attacks on the Philippines.

Jicarilla arrived Leyte 7 January to support the next amphibious operation at Lingayen Gulf. She sailed 9 January with a convoy of LCI's and LST's; despite numerous air attacks by the Japanese, she arrived Mangarin Bay 2 days later. The tug remained there until 22 January performing salvage and firefighting duties on the many damaged and beached landing craft. She arrived Ulithi 27 January. After towing voyages between Ulithi and the Marianas, Jicarilla sailed from Ulithi 9 April pulling a much-needed floating drydock to Okinawa.

The veteran tug arrived Kerama Retto, repair base for the Okinawa operation, 16 April, and remained there to perform salvage work on ships damaged in the desperate kamikaze attacks. She sailed 20 April with Idaho, arrived Guam 25 April, and from there returned to Ulithi 30 April. After towing work at the advance base, she sailed for Leyte 19 May and arrived Okinawa again 13 June. As the struggle for the island continued, she worked directly off the Hagushi beaches, towing landing craft and performing salvage work. Thus, she contributed importantly to the eventual victory by helping to keep the massive fleet afloat and operating.

Jicarilla remained at Okinawa until departing for Wakayama, Japan, 21 September. Four days later she arrived, and performed towing duties in connection with the occupation operations until returning to Okinawa 14 October. After a voyage to Guam, the ship steamed to Iwo Jima 4 December to salvage ARL-32. In the months that followed, she was engaged in towing and salvage in the Marshalls and Carolines, arriving Pearl Harbor 24 April 1946.

Jicarilla spent the summer of 1946 in the Marshall Islands in support of Operation Crossroads, the history-making atomic test series in the Pacific. Returning to the United States 14 September, she performed towing duties on the West Coast and at the Canal Zone until 23 January 1947, when she sailed again for the Par East from Bremerton, Wash. The ship operated out of Pearl Harbor until May, sailing on the 14th to Guam. Jicarilla arrived Tsingtao, China, 17 June for towing and salvage work in connection with the American Marines ashore. In the months that followed, she continued to steam between American Pacific bases and China. After a month at Pearl Harbor, she returned to Long Beach 18 February 1948.

The ocean tug conducted operations on the Pacific coast and out of Pearl Harbor until arriving Yokosuka 25 January 1949. She again supported the American effort to bring peace and security to China and the Far East, before returning to Long Beach 19 August 1949. After additional towing on the West Coast, she decommissioned at San Diego 14 June 1950 and entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet. In August 1962 she was transferred to the Maritime Administration, and at present is berthed with the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, Calif.

Jicarilla received two battle stars for World War II service.

Published: Wed Jul 22 15:10:52 EDT 2015