Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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The Greek goddess of retributive justice; an avenger.

Torpedo boat Napa (q.v.), a converted light-draft monitor, was renamed Nemesis 15 June 1869, but resumed the name Napa 10 August 1869.


(SP-343: t. 10; l. 41-9-; b. 12-3-; dr. 2-6-; s. 6.8 k.; a. I mg.)

Motor boat Nemesis  (S. P. 343), built in 1896 by G. Smith, Patchogue, L.I., was acquired by the Navy 25 May 1917 under free lease from W. L. Suydan, Else Point, L.I.: and placed in service 7 June 1917 for use on section patrol in the 3rd Naval District during World War I. She was returned to her owner 14 December 1918.

(WPC-111: dp. 337; l. 165-; b. 25-3-; dr. 9-6-; s. 16 k.; cpl. 50; a. 1 3-, 2 20mm.)

Nemesis built for the Coast Guard by Marietta Manufacturing Co., Point Pleasant, W. Va., was launched 7 July 1934. She commissioned as a large cruising cutter and assumed permanent station at St. Petersburg, Fla., where she commenced patrol and rescue operations in the fall of 1934.

With the outbreak of hostilities, Executive Order 8929 of 1 November 1941 transferred the Coast Guard to the Navy. In the early months of the war, before an effective coastal "dimout" was inaugurated, Nazi U-boats lay off-shore and sank clearly-silhouetted coastal shipping targets. The Gulf Sea Frontier, which included the Florida and Gulf coasts and parts of the Bahamas and Cuba, was defended in only rudimentary fashion during the early months of the war. Initial defenses consisted of the three Coast Guard cutters Nemesis, Nike, and Vigilant, together with nineteen unarmed Coast Guard aircraft and fourteen lightly armed Army aircraft.

In late February 1942 four ships were torpedoed in four days, and in May forty-one vessels were sent to the bottom by hostile submarine action off the Florida coast and in the Gulf. As sinkings mounted alarmingly in the Gulf Sea Frontier waters, American defensive strength in the area began to increase rapidly and overwhelmingly.

Nemesis remained operational in the Gulf Sea Frontier throughout the war. Between February and August 1942 she launched attacks on submarine contacts on at least five different occasions. She rescued twenty-eight survivors from the torpedoed Mexican tanker Fajadeoro 21 May and 7 June she rescued twenty-seven from the torpedoed Suwied. The cutter continued to perform vital patrol and rescue missions until the end of the war.

By Executive Order 9666, the Coast Guard officially returned to the Treasury Department 1 January 1946. With the return of peace, Nemesis resumed patrol duties out of her permanent station of St. Petersburg, Fla. She remained in an active status until 20 November 1964, when she decommissioned and was sold to Auto Marine Engineering, Inc., of Miami, Fla.

Nemesis received one battle star for World War II service.

Published: Wed Feb 10 13:41:10 EST 2016