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Nuthatch (AM-60)


A small bird, of the family Sittidae, having long wings and a short tail.

(AM-60: displacement 890; length 221'2"; beam 32'2"; draft 10'9"; speed 18 knots; compement 105; armament 1 3-inch; class Auk)

Nuthatch (AM-60) was laid down on 22 May 1941 at Bay City, Mich., by the Defoe Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 16 September 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Charles D. Swain; and commissioned on 19 November 1942, Cmdr. Denis D. Humphreys, D-V(G), USNR, in command.

Nuthatch then crossed the Great Lakes, steamed down the St. Lawrence, into the Atlantic and proceeded along the east coast for shakedown. Between January 1943 and April 1944, Nuthatch served in the Atlantic Fleet Convoy Escort Group, operating on the Sugar runs. Homeported at Norfolk, she operated to and from Santiago, Cuba; Curacao, N.W.I.; Bermuda; St. Thomas, V.I.; San Juan, P.R.; Galveston and Port Arthur, Texas; and other small ports in the Caribbean Gulf area. Convoy organization on these runs consisted of one to three Naval or Merchant Marine cargo vessels and tankers, escorted by two or three AMs.

Nuthatch departed the United States with her division, Mine Division (MinDiv) 21, on 7 April 1944 and headed east to Falmouth, England. There she staged for the much awaited invasion of France, scheduled for early June.

The division sailed from Torquay, 5 June, and, before it began sweeping operations lost one of its units, Osprey. Early on the 6th, the division started sweeping the coast of France in assault and check sweeps to assure safe passage channels for the landing craft. Sweeping continued after D-Day and on the 15th, in the Bay of the Seine, a mine exploded close aboard Nuthatch on the port side forward. While none of her crew suffered injuries, the force of the explosion damaged the hull, stopped the engines, and rendered all electric gear inoperative. However, within two hours, she was underway again and soon pulled out of range of German shore batteries.

Repairs completed in England, Nuthatch was soon back on the French side of the Channel. On the 25th, as a unit of TF 129, she participated in sweeping operations for the bombardment of Cherbourg. Sweep operations in the area continued until 1 August 1944, when, with her entire squadron, Mine Squadron 7, she headed for Gibraltar and duty with the Eighth Fleet. Until 31 May 1945, Nuthatch, with MinDiv 21, swept mines and escorted ships in the western Mediterranean; Marseilles, Oran, Naples, Bizerte, Valletta, Palermo, and Maddalena being only a few of her stops. On 31 May, Nuthatch hoisted her homeward bound pennant and got underway for the United States.

Arriving at Hampton Roads on 15 June 1945, Nuthatch underwent repairs and, on 18 September, sailed for Panama and duty with the Pacific Fleet. She arrived at Pearl Harbor,Territory of Hawaii, on 4 November only to receive orders to return to the United States for inactivation. Arriving at San Diego, Calif., on 31 December, she was decommissioned on 3 June 1946 and entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet at Tongue Point, Oregon.

Redesignated MSF-60 on 7 February 1955, Nuthatch remained in the Reserve Fleet at San Diego until stricken from the Navy Register on 1 December 1966 and sunk as a target for the Pacific Fleet.

Nuthatch earned two battle stars for her World War II service, first for her participation in the invasion of Normandy (6-25 June 1944) and then recognizing her supporting operations for the invasion of southern France (15 August-25 September 1944).

Interim update, Robert J. Cressman

12 May 2022 

Published: Thu May 12 15:11:53 EDT 2022