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USS Nokomis (YT-142)
File:USS Nokomis tug YT-142.jpg
USS Nokomis, one of the tugs assisting USS Fulton (AS-11) to enter Pearl Harbor after the Battle of Midway.
Career (USA) Union Navy Jack
Name: USS Nokomis
Namesake: Grandmother and nurse of Hiawatha
Builder: Puget Sound Navy Yard, Washington
Laid down: date unknown
Launched: 29 November 1939
Completed: March 1940
Commissioned: March 1940
Decommissioned: c. 1973
Reclassified: YTB-142 in May 1944 and YTM-142 in February 1962
Struck: May 1973
Homeport: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Honors and
one battle star for World War II service
Fate: sold for scrapping, 1 September 1974
General characteristics
Class & type: Woban-class
Type: District Harbor Tug
Displacement: 218 tons
Length: 100’ 10”
Beam: 25’
Draft: 9’ 7”
Propulsion: Twin Enterprise Diesel electric, single screw
Speed: 12 knots
Complement: 8 crew members
Armament: not known

USS Nokomis (YT-142/YTB-142/YTM-142) was a Woban-class harbor tug built in Bremerton, Wash, and assigned to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in 1940. Nokomis was present during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. She was the first vessel on scene at the USS Arizona, and was called off by the officers on deck because of the imminent explosion of the battery below deck. It then left and helped beach the USS Nevada, with the USS Hoga, and the YT-153. The beaching of the Nevada saved Pearl Harbor's mouth from being blocked. After that the USS Nokomis fought fires and dewatered the battleship USS California, for 3 days. This effort made the California salvagable, to be recommissioned again later in the war. Nokomis was also the last vessel to move the surviving Yc-699 barge prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Post-war she continued serving Pearl Harbor ships until she was decommissioned in May 1973, and eventually sold for "scrap" to Crowley, in San Frencisco. She was renamed Sea Serpent and served many tears in the San Francisco Bay as a tug and fire boat. In 1989, after the Loma Prieta earthquake in the SF Bay area, Nokomisand Hoga fought fires alongside each other again.

Built in Bremerton, Washington

Nokomis (YT–142), a diesel electric tug, was built at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington; launched 29 November 1939; completed in March 1940; and allocated to the 14th Naval District for duty.

World War II service

Upon arrival Pearl Harbor, Nokomis assumed the duty of providing towing and berthing services, and was available for waterfront fire protection and inner harbor security.

Post-war service

Reclassified YTB–142, in 1944, she has remained active as a service craft based at Pearl Harbor into the 1970s.

Final decommissioning

Nokomis was decommissioned and was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in May 1973 and sold in April 1975.

Current status

According to the Historic Tugboat Education and Restoration Society, the Nokomis was purchased in April 1975 by Crowley Maritime Corporation, and her name was changed to Sea Serpent. She was operated in the San Francisco Bay as a commercial tugboat to assist docking vessels. The company terminated their operations in the San Francisco area in the early 1990's and the Nokomis was reflagged Panamanian and abandoned with many other tug boats, to decay and rust.

She was rediscovered in March 1999, in the mudflats of Hunters Point, San Francisco, by Tugboat Master Melissa Parker. She was purchased at an auction for $50 for the Historic Tugboat Education and Restoration Society. The 501(c)3 educational non-profit worked on historical research, practical engineering educational programs for underprivledged youth in the Bay Area, and cooperative programs between historical ship organizations in the SF Bay, and beyond; until the economical realities of the late 2000 decade cost the Historic Tugboat Education and Restoration Society its vessels; USS Nokomis and USS Wenonah. Both vessels were cut up in 2009. Wenonah was an identical sister to the USS Hoga. She would have been a great resource of partsto restore her. Nokomis was tge oldest surviving naval vessel from the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Yc -699 barge on the SF Bay and the YT- 153 on the east coast, with the Hoga, are now the last remaining Naval Pearl Harbor surviving vessels.

See also


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