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Montcalm (Tug No. 39)


A county in central Michigan, organized in 1850 and named for the French General, the Marquis de Montcalm (1712‑1759) who died in battle on the Plains of Abraham, defending Quebec from a British attack led by General James Wolfe.

(AT‑39: displacement 1,000; length 156'8"; beam 30'0"; draft 14'7"; speed 13.0 knots; complement 44; armament 1 machine gun; class Bagaduce)

Montcalm (Tug No. 39) was laid down on 16 June 1919 at Port Richmond, N,Y., by the Staten Island Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 26 February 1920; reclassified to AT-39 on 17 July 1920; and commissioned at the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N.Y., on 19 January 1921, Lt. Carl I. Ostrom in command.

Assigned to the Navy Yard, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Montcalm departed New York on 2 March 1921, steaming via Norfolk, Va.,  and arriving at Guantanamo on the 14th. The tug operated out of the Cuban base through 1923, making periodic voyages to Key West, Florida, Norfolk, and ports in the Bahamas until sailing for Charleston, S.C., on 24 April 1923. Arriving on 1 May, Montcalm was repaired and served locally and at Philadelphia, Pa., before returning to Guantanamo Bay on 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 on 25 May 1932 and was decommissioned there on 30 June. Recommissioned on 13 August 1935, she left Philadelphia on 14 September for her new base at Pensacola, Fla. She operated on numerous voyages along the gulf and east coasts, as far west as Galveston, Texas, 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, Montcalm 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 U.S.. During World War II she continued her vital services in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. She was reclassified as a fleet tug (old) ATO‑39 on 15 May 1944.

Following the end of World War II, the tug was decommissioned at Charleston Naval Shipyard on 24 May 1946, was stricken from the Navy Register on 13 June 1946. She was sold to J. C. Berkwit & Co., New York City, on 12 February 1947.

Published: Thu Oct 12 15:21:15 EDT 2023