(ATA-176: dp. 835; 1. 143'0"; b. 33'10"; dr. 13'2"; s. 13 k.; cpl. 45; a. 1 3"; cl. ATA-121)
An Indian tribe which lived in central Texas during most of the 18th and 19th centuries. The Tonkawa were war wanderers who lived chiefly on game, mostly buffalo. In 1859, they were placed on a reservation at the Washita River. In 1862, nearly half of the 300 remaining members were massacred by the Delaware, Shawnee, and Caddo warriors for allegedly aiding the Confederacy. Refugees fled to Fort Griffin, Tex. In 1884, the survivors were moved to a small reservation near Ponca City, Okla.
The first Tonkawa (ATA-176) was laid down as ATR-103 on 30 January 1944 at Orange, Tex., by the Levingston Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 1 March 1944; sponsored by Mrs. R. F. Parker; redesignated ATA-176 on 15 May 1944; and commissioned on 19 August 1944, Lt. (jg.) Ralph T. Crane, USNR, in command.
After a brief shakedown cruise in the Gulf of Mexico, the auxiliary ocean tug stood out of Galveston on 22 September bound, via Miami, for the Canal Zone. She arrived at Colon on 4 October and departed Balboa on the 20th for the South Pacific. ATA-176 called at Borabora and Manus before anchoring in Milne Bay, New Guinea, on 20 December. Assigned to the Service Force, Pacific Fleet, the tug got underway on 30 December 1944 for Hollandia and arrived on 5 January 1945. She took Etamin (IX-173) in tow and sortied with a convoy for the Philippines on the 10th. She arrived at San Pedro Bay on the 22d and returned to Humboldt Bay on 12 February. During the next eight months, ATA-176 operated between ports in New Guinea, Emirau, Morotai, Borneo, and various Philippine islands.
On 20 October 1945, the auxiliary tug stood out of Manila to search for an Army barge that had been reported adrift to the northwest. She found the barge on the 26th and towed it to Okinawa. ATA-176 then returned to Manila Bay on 5 November 1945. After operations in the Philippines, she called at Guam in April 1946 and left Apra Harbor on 2 May towing AFD-3 to Midway. She delivered her charge there on the 15th and headed for the United States. The tug arrived at San Francisco on 1 June and remained at the Naval Supply Depot, Oakland, with a crew supplied by the 12th Naval District until 30 June 1947. On that day, ATA-176 was decommissioned and placed "in service," manned by a civilian crew. On 16 July 1948, the ship was named Tonkawa.
Tonkawa served in the 12th Naval District until 8 May 1956 when she was placed out of service, in reserve. Tonkawa was struck from the Navy list on 1 August 196
Tonkawa (YTB-710), a Hisada-class harbor tug, was slated to be built at San Pedro, Calif., by the Bethlehem Steel Co., but the contract for her construction was cancelled on 1 October 1945.