Avoyel, 1956 (AT/ATF/WAT/WMEC-150)
An Indian tribe native to the state of Louisiana.
Builder: Charleston Shipbuilding & Drydock Company, Charleston, South Carolina
Length: 205' 3"
Beam: 38' 7"
Draft: 16' 10"
Displacement: 1,641 tons (fl)
Launched: 9 August 1944
Commissioned: 8 January 1945 (USN); 3 October 1956 (USCG)
Machinery: 4 electric motors driven by 4 Allis Chalmers generators driven by 4 General Motors diesel engines; 3,000 BHP; single propeller.
Performance: 16.5 knots (maximum); 13,097 nm @ 10.1 knots
Armament: 1 x 3"/50
The Avoyel was one of six Cherokee/Navajo Class fleet ocean tugs acquired by the Coast Guard from the Navy in the 1950s. Avoyel (AT-150) was laid down on 25 March 1944 at Charleston, South Carolina, by the Charleston Shipbuilding & Drydock Company. She was launched on 9 August 1944 and was sponsored by Mrs. George E. Goodman. She was commissioned at Charleston on 8 January 1945 under the command of LCDR William R. Brown.
Following shakedown training in the Chesapeake Bay, the tug then reported to the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia, for post-shakedown availability. Upon completion of the yard period, the tug was ordered to proceed to the Hudson River which had frozen to a depth of two to three feet. Avoyel cleared a path to Iona Island so that ammunition barges could be moved down the river. When this assignment was finished, the vessel returned to Norfolk.
In early March, the tug sailed for New Orleans where she picked up a tow and pulled it to Gulfport, Mississippi, for loading. Avoyel departed the gulf coast on 20 March, bound for the Pacific. She transited the Panama Canal and continued on to the South Pacific. The ship paused at Bora Bora, Society Islands, to refuel before reaching Seeadler Harbor, Manus Island, on 13 May. Upon her arrival there, the tug reported to Commander, Service Force 10, for duty. On 15 May, the tug was redesignated ATF-150.
During the remaining months of World War II, Avoyel carried out various towing operations among the Philippine Islands; Hollandia, New Guinea; Ulithi, Caroline Islands; Guam, Mariana Islands; Okinawa; and Eniwetok, Marshall Islands. Following the Japanese capitulation on 15 August, the tug got underway with Task Group 95.4 to clear mines from the waters of the Yellow Sea, off the coast of Korea. Avoyel sank several mines with rifle fire; and, on 7 September, Allied occupation forces began steaming through the cleared area toward the Korean mainland. The tug anchored at Sasebo, Japan, on 16 September and operated in Sasebo area for the next three months, performing towing jobs and making resupply and refueling runs. On 8 December, Avoyel got underway to return to the United States. She made stops en route at Saipan, Eniwetok, and Guam.
The tug remained at Guam from 28 March until 12 May 1946 for repairs and alterations. She then sailed, via Pearl Harbor, for the Canal Zone. The vessel re-transited the Panama Canal on 12 July and reached New Orleans on the 28th. The ship then underwent a preinactivation overhaul.
On 17 October, Avoyel proceeded to Orange, Texas, and was placed out of commission, in reserve, there on 11 January 1947. On 9 July 1956, the ship was loaned to the United States Coast Guard and assigned to duty at Eureka, California, where she served until 1957. In midAugust 1956 she rescued a survivor from the fishing vessel Kay-D 115 miles northwest of Humboldt Bay following a collision between the Kay-D and the tug Sea Robin.
She was transferred to Fields Landing, California in 1957 and served out of that harbor for the remainder of her Coast Guard career. From 27 to 29 December of 1965 she relieved the CGC Cape Carter of towing the tug Sea Wolf and towed the tug to Humboldt Bay. In early August 1967 she seized the Russian fishing vessel Srtm 8-457 for fishing in U.S. waters in the Aleutian Islands. On 10 January 1968 collided with the CGC Resolute 100 miles south of San Francisco, California, during an underway replenishment. The Resolute was damaged slightly.
On 1 June 1969, her name was struck from the Navy List, and the ship was permanently transferred to the Coast Guard on that same day. The vessel was decommissioned by the Coast Guard on 30 September 1969, sold, and placed in commercial service.
Cutter files, USCG Historian's Office.
Scheina, Robert L. U.S. Coast Guard Cutters and Craft in World War II. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1982.
Scheina, Robert L. U.S. Coast Guard Cutters & Craft, 1946-1990. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1990.
U.S. Coast Guard. Public Information Division. Historical Section. The Coast Guard at War: Transports and Escorts (Vol. V, No. 1). (Washington, DC: Public Information Division, U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, 1949.