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Pampanga (Gunboat No. 39)

(PG-39: dp. 243 t.; l. 121'; b. 17'10"; dr. 7'6"; s. 10 k.; cpl. 30; a. I 6-pdr., 3 3-pdrs.)

Former Spanish Navy name retained.

Pampanga (Gunboat No. 39), a schooner rigged iron gunboat, was laid down for the Spanish Navy by the Manila Slip Co., Cavite, Philippine Islands, in March 1887; launched in February 1888; captured by the Army at Manila Bay in June 1898; commissioned in American service 18 June 1899; and turned over to the Navy at Cavite Navy Yard 9 November 1899, Lt. F. R. Payne in command.

Assigned to patrol duty in Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, Pampanga operated in support of the Army engaged in putting down the Philippine insurrection, carrying troops and supplies, providing shore bombardment to forces ashore, and blockaded rebel towns. Moving on to the Cebu station in mid-1900, the gunboat continued cooperating with the Army there into 1901 and then switched to patrolling off Samar. She returned to Cavite to decommission 18 June 1902 and recommissioned 30 January 1904, continuing duty on the Philippine Station, basing out of Cavite to 1906. The warship then cruised the waters off Zamboanga and Borneo until returning to Cavite to decommission 30 April 1907.

Pampanga was loaned to the Army for use as a patrol boat and ferry about Corregidor Island in Manila Bay 31 December 1908 and was returned to the Navy 11 November 1910. She recommissioned 12 April 1911 and then sailed to cruise the Southern Philippines. On 24 September, the gunboat arrived off Semut, Basilan Island, and landed a detachment under Ensign Charles E. Hovey to take supplies to Army Camp Tabla inland. Enroute, the small party was attacked by hostile natives, killing Ensign Hovey and injuring three of his men. Retaliatory action by the Army troops punished the attackers. The warship remained on patrol in the southern Philippines until decommissioning at Olongapo 31 May 1915.

Once again commissioned 3 January 1916 at Hong Kong, China, Pampanga was attached to the Asiatic Fleet and began duty on the South China Patrol station, investigating Chinese political conditions and offering assistance to Americans in danger or need. In the course of her service, she cruised the West River to Canton and beyond protecting American interests, especially in the period of heavy unrest in the middle 1920's, and made frequent visits to Hong Kong, Swatow, and the other ports of the area in the performance of her duty. The warship remained on this station until decommissioned at Hong Kong 6 November 1928, and was sunk by gunfire from Asheville and Sacramento off the China coast after being stripped of all usable gear 21 November.

Published: Mon Feb 29 17:12:14 EST 2016