(AT-67: dp. 1,675:1. 205'; b. 38'6"; dr. 15'4"; s. 16.5 k.; cpl. 85; a. 1 3", 2 .50-cal. mg.)
The fourth Apache (AT-67) was laid down on 8 November 1941 by the Charleston Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Charleston, S.C.; launched on 8 May 1942; sponsored by Mrs. G. E. Baker; and commissioned on 12 December 1942, Lt. (jg.) Clyde S. Homer in command.
The tug spent the next six weeks training out of Portsmouth, Va., and Key West, Fla. In February 1943, she departed Norfolk, Va., bound for San Diego, Calif., where she spent two months engaged in towing operations before sailing on 8 May for New Caledonia. Apache reached Noumea in mid-June and worked from that base through mid-October, towing and salvaging vessels at Noumea, Funafuti, and Espiritu Santo.
On 26 October, Apache sailed as part of Task Force (TF) 31 for the invasion of Bougainville in the Solomons. The landings began on 1 November, and Apache assisted grounded vessels to withdraw from the beaches. Between December 1943 and March 1944, the tug operated throughout the Solomon Islands area. On 17 March, Apache joined Task Group (TG) 31.2 for an assault on Emirau Island in the Bismarcks and, after completing that assignment, returned to Guadalcanal on 4 April. On 15 May 1944, she was reclassified a fleet ocean tug and redesignated ATF-67.
Apache joined TG 53.1 on 4 June to assist in the invasion of Saipan. The force reached the staging area near Kwajalein on the 8th and sailed for the Marianas on 12 June. The invasion of Guam was postponed due to the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and TG 53.1 returned to Eniwetok on 28 June. In mid-July, Apache headed back to the Marianas and took part in the preinvasion bombardment of Guam and, after the landings, helped to clear amphibious vessels from the beach. On the 21st, the tug screened the transport area off Guam.
The ship left Guam on 3 August and served in the Tulagi area for two weeks before beginning a tender availability at Noumea on 20 August. She operated out of that base through late September and sailed for Auckland, New Zealand, on 23 October. After a brief rest and recreation period, Apache returned to Noumea on 8 November and operated there for more than a month. On 12 December, she got underway for Hollandia, New Guinea. After two days in port there, the tug sailed for Leyte, Philippines, and operated there through the end of the year.
Apache rendezvoused with TG 77.6 on 2 January 1945 to take part in the invasion of Luzon; and, for the next few days, she worked under frequent enemy air attacks. On 5 January, the tug was attacked by numerous Japanese planes and claimed to have shot down four. One of the planes crashed into Apache's radar mast and exploded off her port bow. Three of her crewmen were wounded, and the ship herself sustained minor material damage, but remained in operation with the task group. On 13 January, the tug steamed to the aid of Salamaua (CVE-96) and shepherded that kamikaze-damaged escort carrier to Leyte. From there, Apache proceeded to Seeadler Harbor for repairs.
The tug got underway once again on 24 February, bound for Ulithi and, for the next two months, operated from that atoll. On 7 May, Apache took two ships in tow and returned to Leyte. On the 21st, she pushed on toward the Admiralties and sailed from Manus on 24 May, bound for Hawaii. Apache reached Pearl Harbor on 16 June and, the next day, sailed independently for the west coast of the United States. Upon her arrival at San Francisco, the tug proceeded to the United Engineering CO., Alameda, Calif., for repairs. Apache an refresher training at San Pedro, Calif., on 13 August. Two days later, Japan capitulated.
In September, the tug reported to San Diego for duty. During the next 14 months, Apache operated along the west coast. On 3 December 1946, she was placed out of commission, in reserve, with the Columbia River group of the Pacific Reserve Fleet.
Due to the need to ex and the Fleet caused by the outbreak of the Korean War, Apache was recommissioned on 20 July 1951. Following a few months of operations on the west coast, she was ordered to the Far East and arrived in Sasebo, Japan, in early December 1951. On the 17th, the tug sailed to Wonsan, Korea, where she relieved Yuma (ATF-94) as the area salvage and rescue vessel. Apache also laid buoys in the harbors of Wonsan and Hungnam before returnin to Sasebo on 4 January 1952.
The tug's next mission began on 18 January, when she took station as a patrol ship off Cho Do and Sok To. Apache returned to Yokosuka, Japan, on 19 February for upkeep but was back in Wonsan harbor on 20 March. She took part in several shorebombardment missions besides serving as a salvage and rescue vessel. On 12 April, the tug put in at Sasebo for a brief availability. During the next four weeks, Apache made several salvage runs to Cheju Do, Korea, before arriving at Sasebo on 12 May for availability.
Apache returne to action at Wonsan on 16 June and served there until returning to Sasebo on the 28th. She departed J an on 2 July and headed for Pearl Harbor. But for a tow to Kwajalein. and one to Midway, the tug remained in Hawaiian waters for the next nine months. She sailed for Seattle, Wash., on 4 May 1953, picked up a tow, and proceeded to San Diego. The tug worked along the California coast until mid-July, when she headed for the western Pacific. She served there through the end of 1954, performing various missions at Guam, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Bikini, and the Philippines.
In January 1955, Apache returned to the west coast, reaching San Francisco on the 14th. However, she got underway for the Far East on 17 March, reached Yokosuka on 21 May, and began operations with Naval Forces, Far East. Although the tug's home port was changed to San Diego in January 1956, she remained in the western Pacific (WestPac) through the end of the decade, serving as a tow ship and occasionally taking part in search and rescue missions.
Early in 1960, Apache returned to San Diego for a six-month overhaul. Then, in December, after several months of service at San Diego, she headed back toward WestPac. She paused in Pearl Harbor and Guam before reaching Sasebo in February 1961. Shortly thereafter, the tug shifted to Subic Bay' Philippines, and operated from that base into April, when she sailed for Kwajalein and Pearl Harbor. On 11 May, the ship left Hawaii and proceeded to San Diego. Through the rest of 1961 and early 1962, Apache once again conducted coastal towing operations.
On 7 May 1962, Apache entered the Campbell Machine Co. shipyard at San Diego for overhaul and remained there until 18 July, when she commenced refresher training. In early September, Apache sailed for the Far East. During the tour, she served in the Philippines, Okinawa, Hong Kong, and Japan before departing Sasebo on 6 January 1963 and setting a course for Pearl arbor. She proceeded from there to San Diego and spent the next few months in post-deployment standdown and local operations.
Apache continued her pattern of west coast operations and WestPac deployments during 1964 and 1965. Late in 1965, she made her first WestPac cruise involving Vietnam service which began with the 7th Fleet operations on Yankee Station off the Vietnamese coast. In early February 1966, the tug escorted Brinkley Bass (DD-887) to Subic Bay following that destroyer's collision with Waddell (DDG-24) in the South China Sea. After brief service back at Danan Vietnam, Apache proceeded to Hong Kong and Kaohsiung, &wan, for rest and recreation. She next carried out one more tow from Subic to Danang before leaving Vietnam on 4 March and heading home. The tug stopped en route at Pearl Harbor before reaching San Diego on 1 April.
Apache operated along the California coast through the rest of 1966 and the first eight months of 1967. In September 1967, she was reassigned to Submarine Flotilla 1 to support the operations of Trieste IL Apache's new role involved towing the bathyscaph whenever required. On 23 October, the tug began a series of tests and trials off San Clemente Island in conjunction with Trieste II.
The first two months of 1968 were devoted to providing services for Fleet Training Group, San Diego. In early March, Apache resumed her duties with Trieste IL On 3 February 1969, the two vessels got underway from San Diego, bound for the Atlantic to investigate the loss of Scorpion (SSN-589). They reached the Azores on 21 May and, from 2 June until 2 August, the tug maintained station near Trieste II while the bathyscaph investigated the remains of Scorpion.
On 7 August, the tug and the deep submersible began their long voyage back to San Diego and reached home port on 7 October. Upon her return, Apache began preparations for an extensive overhaul; and she entered the yards at San Diego on 15 December.
After this work was completed in mid-April 1970, Apache held refresher training until late June and then carried out local operations through 25 September. On that day, the tug sailed for Panama to escort Dolphin (AGSS-555) back to San Diego. In January 1971, Apache resumed operations with Trieste IL The tug left San Diego on 5 October for a series of special operations in the Pearl Harbor area which continued until early May 1972. On the 23d, Apache arrived back at San Diego.
Apache got underway once again in June and alternated salvage operations with towing services for Trieste IL She continued this routine through March 1973 when she began a repair period at San Diego. Several material casualties prolonged the work, and the vessel did not leave the yard until 21 May. On that day, Apache sailed with Trieste II for waters off the coast of San Francisco to take part in Operation "Teleprobe." However, bad weather post poned the operation; and Apache sustained further damage which forced her to return to San Diego on 23 June for three weeks of repair work.
The tug arrived back in San Francisco on 18 July and, two days later, got underway for Hawaiian waters to resume Operation "Teleprobe." The operation was successfully completed on 30 July, and Apache arrived back in home port on 8 August for more local operations. She made her last tow as an active ship on 31 January 1974, when she delivered Sterett (DLG-31) to Long Beach, Calif. On 27 February 1974, the veteran tug was decommissioned, and her name was struck from the Navy list.
Apache won six battle stars and the Navy Unit Commendation for her World War II service, two battle stars for Korean service and two battle stars, the Navy Unit Commendation, and the Meritorious Unit Commendation for Vietnam service.