Tuesday, August 31, 2010

take a bow

The Key West Maritime Memorial Museum at the old navy pier on Truman waterfront features two World War II era ships; USS Mohawk and USCGC Ingham are both berthed at the inner cay wall and both, as you might expect, have interesting histories.

USCGC INGHAM is a "Treasury-class" cutter and, to date, the most decorated vessel in the Coast Guard fleet with two Presidential Unit Citations. She was built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1935 and formally commissioned in 1936.

Serving with distinction during World War II on convoy duty in the Atlantic theatre, she sank an enemy submarine in 1942. Transferred to the Pacific theatre in 1944, Ingham served as an amphibious flagship.
She also served during the Korean War (1950-1953) and in Vietnam (1959-1975) where she earned one of those Presidential Unit Citations I mentioned earlier.
After Nam, Ingham was reassigned to regular Coast Guard duties until 1988 when she was decommissioned.

From 1989 to 2009 Ingham was on display at Patriots Point Navel and Maritime Museum in South Carolina where in 1992 she was declared a National Historic Landmark and at the end of her time there and a little refit in drydock, Ingham was brought to Key West.

USS MOHAWK was first assigned patrol and icebreaking duty on the Hudson and Delaware Rivers and at the outbreak of World War II, she had been stationed at Cape May in New Jersey. But at the start of the war in 1941, she was assigned to North Atlantic escort operations with the Greenland Patrol. There she served for the entire war launching better than a dozen attacks against enemy submarines in the doing.

At War's end, Mohawk was placed "in reserve, in commission" status with a skeleton crew and again stationed at Cape May.
Two years later, in 1947, Mohawk was decommissioned and mothballed. But the next year she was bought by the Delaware Bay and River Pilots' Association, and for the next thirty years served as a pilot boat on the Delaware River.

Years later Mohawk was rescued from a Staten Island scrap yard where she'd been rusting away for 15 years or so. She was towed to Miami for major repair by the Miami Dade Historical Maritime Museum who then established the USS Mohawk CGC Memorial Museum and brought her down to us here in
Key West.

As the faithful followers of Key West the Blog know, I am something of a history junkie and the United States Navy is steeped in noble history, myth and tradition. So where better to get an occasional history fix than at the Key West Maritime Memorial Museum.
To Ingham, Mohawk, all who have served on either ship or are serving now to preserve their histories, please accept my gratitude and, take a bow.


RumShopRyan said...

Thanks for sharing. I love war history. I will be sure to visit these next time I'm on island.


Yvonnie Ametin said...

Hi is there an address for the Old Truman Annex pier for those not familiar with the area? How long will these ships be on the island?

Arthur Winstanley said...

I don't know if there's an address but to find them, go to the extreme end of Southard St. past the Parrot and through Truman Annex and you can't miss them. I have a sense that both ships are here permanently but have checked in with a friend on the museum's board for confirmation. Will let you know when he gets back to me. Thanks for your comment and interest.

Arthur Winstanley said...

I've just heard back and, as I expected, Mohawk & Ingham are in Key West permanently.