Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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(AT‑39: dp. 1,000; l. 156'8"; b. 30'; dr. 14'7"; s. 13 k.; cpl. 44; a. 1 mg.)

A county in central Michigan, organized in 1850 and named for the French General, the Marquis de Montcalm (1712‑59) who died in battle on the Plains of Abraham, defending Quebec from a British attack led by General Wolfe.

Montcalm (AT‑39) was laid down by Staten Island Shipbuilding Co., Port Richmond, N.Y., 16 June 1919; launched 26 February 1920; and commissioned at New York Navy Yard 19 January 1921, Lieut. Carl I. Ostrom in command.

Assigned to the Navy Yard, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Montcalm departed New York 2 March 1921, steaming via Norfolk and arriving Guantanamo on the 14th. The tug operated out of the Cuban base through 1923, making periodic voyages to Key West, Norfolk and ports in the Bahamas until sailing for Charleston, S.C., 24 April 1923. Arriving 1 May, Montcalm was repaired and served locally and at Philadelphia before returning to Guantanamo Bay 19 June 1924. Annual voyages to Charleston for repairs and service missions to New York in fall 1929 and 1931 alternated with active service in the Caribbean.

Montcalm arrived at Philadelphia 25 May 1932 and decommissioned there 30 June. Recommissioning 13 August 1935, she left Philadelphia 14 September for her new base, Port Pensacola, Fla. She operated on numerous voyages along the gulf and east coasts, as far west as Galveston, Tex., and as far north as Norfolk. While stationed at Pensacola, the ship acted as plane guard for seaplane training, salvage ship, and naval aviation cadet training ship, in addition to performing her regular towing duties.

On 10 July 1939, the tugboat was reassigned to the Guantanamo Naval Station and for the remainder of her active career operated out of the Cuban base towing targets, and on salvage and towing missions throughout the Caribbean and to ports in the Southern United States. During World War II she continued her vital services in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. She was reclassified ATO‑39 on 15 May 1944.

Following the end of the war, the tug decommissioned at Charleston Navy Yard 24 May 1946, was struck from the Navy Register 13 June 1946, and was sold to J. C. Berkwit & Co., New York City, 12 February 1947.