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Oriole III (Minesweeper No. 7)

(Minesweeper No. 7: displacement 950 (full load); length 187’'10"”; beam 35'’6"”; draft 10'’3"”; speed 14.0 knots; complement 62; armament 2 3"”, 2 machine guns; class Lapwing)

Any of various birds in America with a highly specialized vocal apparatus (commonly referred to as "singing birds," although many among them do not sing) of the Icteridae family: the males are usually bright black and yellow or orange, the females chiefly greenish or yellowish, as the Baltimore oriole and the orchard oriole.



The third Oriole (Minesweeper No. 7) was laid down on 6 March 1918 at Port Richmond, N. Y., by the Staten Island Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 3 July 1918; sponsored by Miss Dorothy Leaverton, daughter of an employee of the builders' engineering department, and commissioned at the New York Navy Yard on 5 November 1918.

After a shaking-down period engaged in minesweeping operations off the Atlantic Coast, the new ship was assigned to the force assigned the monumental task of sweeping the North Sea Mine Barrage. Consequently, Oriole (Lt. Roy M. Cottrell, in command) proceeded to the Orkney Islands, and arrived at Kirkwall on 29 April 1919. She then spent 112 days in the minefields (punctuated by 41 days in port), and her Sailors' efforts accounted for 1,925 mines.

Assigned then to the Pacific Fleet, Oriole operated out of Pearl Harbor, in the 14th Naval District, for the next four years, during which time she received the alphanumeric hull number AM-7 on 17 July 1920. With the reduction in naval forces mandated by the Washington Treaty of 6 February 1922, however, she was decommissioned at Pearl Harbor on 3 May 1922 and placed in reserve.

On 2 May 1938, Oriole was placed in ordinary (a non-commissioned status) at the Mare Island Navy Yard to replace sistership Swallow (AM-4) in the 13th Naval District. Oriole was re-commissioned on 15 August 1938, Lt. Albert J. Wheaton in command. She then spent the next three years operating out of the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington.

Oriole stood north from Seattle on 22 October 1941 for duty in Alaskan waters, and arrived at Dutch Harbor on 3 November to begin vital support operations in those waters that lasted through the entrance of the United States into hostilities in December 1941 and continued through the end of World War II in 1945. She was assigned to the Northwest Sea Frontier Force on 15 July 1942 following her reclassification to AT-136 on 1 June. From 22 October 1942 to 11 January 1943 the ship conducted rescue, then salvage, service for Russian freighter Bremerton with the destroyer Abner Read (DD-526), mined off Kiska on 15 August 1943, in tow.

Ultimately assigned to the Alaska Sea Frontier on 15 April 1944, Oriole returned north for her last year of service as an ocean tug, proceeding from Adak to Kodiak to Kiska, Alaska. On 15 May 1944 she was redesignated ATO-136. After towing the floating workshop YR-78 from Kodiak to Tongue Point, Oregon (16-24 October 1945) Oriole remained in 13th Naval District waters awaiting disposition.

Decommissioned on 6 February 1946 at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Oriole was stricken from the List of Naval Vessels on 12 March 1946. Delivered to the Maritime Commission on 6 January 1947, she was sold that same day to M. E. Baker, who took possession of her on 8 January 1947 at Scow Bay, Kilisut Harbor, Washington.

Published: Mon Aug 17 14:06:23 EDT 2015