USS Wadena ScStr
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Wadena ScStr

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A chief of the Minnesota Sioux Indians.

(ScStr: t. 246 (gross); 1. 176'; b. 20' 10"; dr. 10'6"; s. 13 k.; cpl. 66; a. 2 3", 2 .30-cal. Colt mg., 10 dc.

Mk. I)

Wadena-a steel-hulled, screw steam, schooner-rigged yacht-was built in 1891 at Cleveland, Ohio, by the Cleveland Shipbuilding Co. In the spring of 1917, the Navy inspected Wadena and acquired her from J. H. Wade, of Cleveland, who delivered the ship to the 3d Naval District on 25 May 1917. Designated SP-158, Wadena was fitted out at the New York Navy Yard for "distant service." She was commissioned at New York on 14 January 1918, Lt. Comdr. Walter M. Falconer, USN (Ret.), in command.

In company with Yacona (SP-617) and the steam tug Mariner (SP-1136), Wadena shifted to New London, Conn., and remained there from 6 February to 24 February. Wadena then coaled at Newport, R.I.-a difficult and time consuming process since it had to be done by handshovels-before she got underway for Bermuda on the 24th and rendezvoused with a convoy of 11 subchasers (SC's) soon thereafter.

As the little convoy made its way down the eastern seaboard, Mariner fell progressively astern. She briefly towed SC- 177 before the tug herself began to founder in the heavy southeasterly gale that sprang up on the 26th. At 1140 on that day, Mariner hoisted the breakdown flag, cast loose SC-177, and began fighting a losing battle against the sea. At 1400, Mariner sent a message: "We are sinking fast."

Wadena stood by the helpless tug, her log noting that the sea was "very rough and running high." Wadena sprayed oil on the water to calm the raging sea, and brought on board Mariner's entire complement between 1550 and 1730, the last raft reaching the yacht's side at 1730 with the tug's commanding officer, Lt. (jg.) Martin Miller, USNRF, on board. Wadena later went off in search of SC 177 after Mariner slipped beneath the waves, while the rest of the convoy continued on its passage. The yacht then took SC-177 in tow and later caught up with the rest of the group shortly before reaching the British naval station at Hamilton, Bermuda, on 1 March.

Wadena returned to the east coast of the United States soon thereafter, reaching Charleston, S.C., on 10 March. She remained there until the 25th, when she escorted another convoy of subehasers to Bermuda arriving there on the 29th. Assigned to the "speciai task force'~--probably formed to safeguard the transatlantic passage of subehasers slated to operate in European waters-Wadena sailed for the Azores on 15 April in company with seven SC's, the Army transport service tug Knickerbocker, and the tug Lykens (SP-876).

Making most of the passage under sail, Wadena reached Ponta Delgada, Azores, on the 27th. In company with Yacona and the fuel ship Arethu8a, Wadena
sailed for Bermuda on 4 May and reached the British admiralty dockyard there 10 days later. While at Bermuda, she was drydocked for repairs and the application of anticorrosive and antifouling paint to her hull. Underway again on 25 May, Wadena sailed for the Azores and returned to Bermuda in company with Undaunted (SP-1950), Goliath (SP-1494), Arctic (SP1158), and Yacona-on 20 June.

After subsequently taking part in another transatlantic movement of SC's from Bermuda to European waters, Wadena continued on via Ponta Delgada to Gibraltar in company with the Italian ship SS Bronte and three French SC's. Reaching Gibraltar on 31 July, the yacht operated with the patrol squadrons based at that port into the autumn.

She performed parol and escort duties beween Gibraltar and Funchal, Madeira; Ponta Delgada and the Canary Islands; and Tangiers and Safi, Morocco. On occasion, she also transported mail and personnel. After escorting the cargo vessel Mount Shasta from Ponta Delgada to Gibraltar between 16 and 21 October, Wadena remained at Gibraltar through the armistice. During the afternoon watch on 11 November, her log recorded the news: "At 1:00 (pm) received word that Germany had signed the armistice and that hostilities had ceased at 11:00 a.m."

While the ship was at Gibraltar, she was inspected by Rear Admiral Albert P. Niblack, Commander, Squadron 2, Patrol Force. Eventually getting underway on 11 December to return to the United States, she made part of the passage in company with Sacramento (Gunboat No. 19), Paducah (Gunboat No. 18), and the Coast Guard cutter Manning. Wadena used her sails again for most of the passage sailing via Ponta Delgada and Bermuda and reached New London in company with Manning on 3 January 1919.

Placed in reserve, Wadena remained at New London through April of 1919. As squadron flagship, she departed that port on 5 May, bound for the New York Navy Yard, reaching there the following day in company with Wanderer (SP 132), Corona (SP-813), Christabel (SP-162), and Emeline (SP-175). Later that day, the process of removing her guns and other Navy equipment began. After shifting to the Marine Basin at Brooklyn a week later, Wadena was decommissioned on the afternoon of 19 May 1919. She was sold to S. H. Johnson of New York City on 12 July 1920.