WW2 and History CollectionWeapons and Equipment / Ships / Country UUnited States / Lapwing-class / USS Whippoorwill (AM 35 / AT 169 / ATO 169)

March 27th, 2016

United States of America

USS Whippoorwill (AM 35 / AT 169 / ATO 169)

Lapwing-class Minesweepers
United States
U.S. Navy
Alabama Drydock and Shipbuilding Co., Mobile
Laid down:
December 12th, 1917
July 4th, 1918
April 1st, 1919
Reclassified Fleet Tug USS Whippoorwill (AT 169)
March 1st, 1944

USS Whippoorwill, Philippines, June 1941

The USS Whippoorwill was a Lapwing-class Minesweeper, build in 1917/1918 and commissioned as Minesweeper No. 35, USS Whippoorwill on April 1st, 1919. On March 1st, 1944 the ship was reclassified as Fleet Tug, USS Whippoorwill (AT 169).

The USS Whippoorwill was laid down at the Alabama Drydock and Shipbuilding Company, Mobile, Alabama on December 12th, 1917. On July 18th, 1918 the ship was launched. USS Whippoorwill was commissioned as Minesweeper No. 35 on April 1st, 1919. After the fitting out period, the ship left Boston on July 3rd, 1919 for Europe. The ship was stationed at Kirkwall asn participated in the North Sea Mine Barrage, placed withtin Division 3, Minesweeper Squadron Atlantic Fleet. USS Whippoorwill returned to the United States in November 1919 and then was assigned to the Pacific Fleet.
On July 17th, 1920 the ship was redesignated as USS Whippoorwill (AM 35) and was stationed at Pearl Harbor as from March 1st, 1921. Although classified as a minesweeper, the ship in its service with the Pacific Fleet was also used as a Fleet Tug, Target Tower and Seaplane Recovery Ship. The ship was also used as a Suvey ship on scientific expeditions in the Pacific and the Far East.
After being refitted and modernized, USS Whippoorwill on May 5th, 1941 was assigned to the Asiatic Fleet and bound for the Philippines. Underway, the ship was assigned as a direction-finding statio for patrol planes for Pacific Fleets Patrol Wing 10. The ship itself reached Manila on May 30th, 1941 and was assigned to Mine Division 9, Mine Squadron 3, Asiatic Fleet. Additioonal to its service as minesweeper, the ship her was also used as Fleet Tug and Target Tower. Lter that year the ship was attached to Inshore Patrol, stationed at Olongapo.
By the end of 1941, USS Whippoorwill was overhauled at the Verdadero Dockyard and then placed on patrol duties with USS Tulsa (PG 22) and USS Asheville (PG 21). By December 1941, the ship was stationed at Cavite, participating in minelsweeping operations.

December  8th, 1941, Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Charles A. Ferriter instructed his men after the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor became news. December 10th, 1941 the ship came under attack by Japanese aircraft while in Cavite. During the attack it assisted ships in trouble an was specifically in action in saving the USS Peary (DD 226), which was hit andin trouble. The following day, orders were received that USS Whippoorwill was to sail for Borneo, in the Dutch East Indies. December 12th, 1941, the ship left, accompanied by USS Tulsa (PG 22), USS Asheville (PG 21) and USS Lark (AM 21) and joined Task Force 7, bound for Celebes. From there USS Whippoorwill and USS Tulsa sailed for Java. With Surabaya as its homebase, the ships patrolled the area until into February 1942, when she was ordered to Tjilatjap, at the South coast of Java. The ship arrived there on February 26th, 1941 and was oredered to help in a search party for survivors of the sunken Seaplane Tender USS Langley (AV 3), together with USS Lark (AM 21), the next day. The search did not reveal any success due to the fact that survivors were already picked up by other ships. February 28th, 1942, USS Whippoorwill and USS Lark (AM 21), arrived at the scene of the sinking of the steamlines s.s. City of Manchester that was sunk by the Japanese Submarine I-53 (I). Both the ships started picking up survivors and returned them to Tjilatjap. Wounded were transferred to USS Tulsa (PG 22). March 1st, 1942 the ship arrived at Tjilatjap and was ordered to retreat towards Australia. USS Whippoorwill arrived at Fremantle on March 9th, 1942 and used it as its homebase until it was transferred to Albany in May 1942. In August 1942 the ship returend to Fremantle. During the yaer 1942 and the beginning of 1943, the ship was operating from Exmouth Bay, Albany and Fremantle, until the ship went into drydock at Fremantle in March 1943. April 24th, 1943 the ship was back at Exmouth and then went towards Fremantle, from where the ship was active in anti-submarine patrols until the end of November 1943. As from December 1st, 1943, the ship was completely refitted to be used for other purposes.
On March 1st, 1944 the ship was reclassified as Fleet Tug, USS Whippoorwill (AT 169).

The refitting was completed on March 5th, 1944, after which the ship was placed in service with Commander Service Force, 7th Fleet. The ships homebase was to be Brisbane where it arrived on March 20th, 1944. In Brisbane the final adjustments were made to be operated as an ocean-going tug. Her first tug operatio was the towing of USS LST 385 to New Guinea. After this the USS Whippoorwill served in Hollandia, Mios Woendi, Seeadler Harbor and the Admiralty Islands as tug for towing battle damaged ships.

On May 15th, 1944 the vessel was redesignated to Ocean-Going Tug, Old and received the designation ATO 169. After operating as a tug in New Guinea again and near Leyte in February 1945, USS Whippoorwill was send to the Philippine Islands and served as a harbor tug in Manila from June 15th, 1945. On December 20th, 1945 the ship sailed for Eniwetok together with USS Vireo (ATO 144) and USS Rail (ATO 139) and on January 4th, 1946 towards Pearl Harbor, arriving on January 15th, 1946. USS Whippoorwill and USS Rail left for San Francisco on January 25th, 1946, arriving there on February 5th.
On April 17th, 1946 the ship was decommissioned and struck form the Navy List on June 10th, 1946. On November 6th, 1946 USS Whippoorwill was transferred to the Maritime Commission for disposal.

For her service USS Whippoorwill was awarded the:

Asiatic Pacific Campaign Streamer with one bronze campaign star

USS Whippoorwill tendering a seaplane in 1920

Commanding Officers

Lieutenant Birney O. Halliwill
No image available
April 1st, 1919
Lieutenant (Jg) Charles William Van Horn
No image available 1920
Lieutenant Edwin Fisher
No image available December 9th, 1925
Lieutenant Eugene Carrol Burchett
No image available 1934 - June 1935
Lieutenant Laurence Francis Blodgett
No image available 1939 - 1940
Lieutenant Commander Charles Arthur Ferriter

December 1941
Lieutenant Vincent Arthur Halbert
No image available

During the ships career, USS Whippoorwill was part of:
July 1919
No image available
Division 3, Minesweeping Squadron, Atlantic Fleet
November 1919 No image available
Pacific Fleet
May 1941
No image available
Asiatic Fleet
May 30th, 1941
No image available
Mine Division 9, Mine Squadron 3, Asiatic Fleet
1941 No image available
Inshore Patrol
March 20th, 1944
No image available
Commander Service Force, 7th Fleet

USS Whippoorwill
United States
Lapwing-class Minesweeper
U.S. Navy
950 BRT (Standard)
1.010 BRT (Maximum)
Alabama Drydock and Shipbuilding Co., Mobile
Length: 57,25 m
Beam: 10,82 m
Draft: 3,15 m
Engine: 2 Babcock and Wilcox,  hp
Shafts: 1
14 knots
2 x 7,62 cm (3 inch) machineguns

Text: Wilco Vermeer
- USS Whippoorwill / NavSource Online (Retrieved March 2nd, 2015
- Whippoorwill (Retrieved March 2nd, 2015)
- USS Whippoorwill (AM-35) / Wikipeida (Retrieved March 26th, 2015)
© WW2 History Collection, Wilco Vermeer, 2015