Commissioned USS Tanager (AM-385), 28 July 1945; Redesignated as a Fleet Minesweeper, MSF-385, 7 February 1955; Transferred to the Coast Guard 4 October 1963; Commissioned USCGC Tanager (WTR 885), 16 July 1964. She commenced training operations from 6 August 1964 through 22 October 1969 at the Reserve Training Center at Yorktown. She frequently made cruises along the eastern seaboard for training cruises as well as search and rescue.

Ship's History

Tanager (AM-385) was laid down at Lorain, Ohio, on 29 March 1944 by the American Shipbuilding Company. She was launched on 9 December 1944 and was sponsored by Mrs. Thomas Slingluff. She was commissioned on 28 July 1945 under the command of LCDR Oscar B. Lundgren, USNR. Tanager steamed via the St. Lawrence River to Boston, Massachusetts, in late July and early August. In October 1945, she moved south to the Naval Amphibious Base at Little Creek, Virginia, for shakedown training and mine-sweeping exercises in the Chesapeake Bay area. For almost six years, Tanager operated with the 2d Fleet along the eastern seaboard and in the Caribbean area. She conducted minesweeping exercises and supported the training efforts of the Mine Warfare School at Yorktown, Virginia. On three occasions—once each in 1948, 1950, and 1951—she did tours of duty with the Naval Mine Countermeasures Station, located at Panama City, Florida.

On 2 September 1951, she departed Charleston, South Carolina, for the Mediterranean Sea. While she was deployed with the 6th Fleet, she conducted more minesweeping exercises and visited many of the famous ports in the area. Among those were Mers-el-Kebir, Gibraltar, Naples, Monaco, Cannes, Venice, Malta, and Genoa. In February 1952, Tanager returned to Charleston and resumed operations with the 2d Fleet. After repairs at Charleston and a voyage to Norfolk and back, the minesweeper began her second Mediterranean deployment in April 1953. During that cruise, she added some new ports-of-call to her itinerary, notably Tangier, Palermo, Marseille, Leghorn, Salonika, and Seville. She also participated in a number of minesweeping exercises with other units of the 6th Fleet. Tanager returned to Charleston on 26 October 1953.

Following minesweeping exercises along the southeastern coast of the United States and in the Caribbean, she entered the yard at Savannah Machine & Foundry Company, in Savannah, Georgia, on 29 June 1954 for repairs. On 23 September, the minesweeper departed Savannah and headed for Beaumont, Texas. She arrived on the 28th and entered the drydock the same day. She was refloated on 8 October and towed to the naval station at Orange, Texas. Two months later, on 10 December 1954, Tanager was decommissioned and berthed there with the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. On 7 February 1955, the minesweeper was redesignated MSF-385.

On 4 October 1963, Tanager was transferred to the Coast Guard for use as a training cutter. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 November 1963. She was towed to Curtis Bay, Maryland, where she was converted for use as a training cutter for the Coast Guard Reserve program. Her permanent crew consisted of five officers and 34 enlisted men, and she was capable of carrying up to 90 reserve officers and enlisted personnel for training. She was commissioned in the Coast Guard as Tanager (WTR-885) on 16 July 1964 under the command of LCDR Robert G. Elm. She commenced training operations on 6 August 1964 at the Reserve Training Center at Yorktown, Virginia and was also used on a limited basis for search and rescue operations when needed. While homeported at Yorktown, she frequently made cruises along the eastern seaboard for training cruises. Her first training cruise was scheduled to depart from Boston.

On 13 August 1969 she escorted the distressed ketch Arcturus from Sand Shoal Inlet to Norfolk, Virginia. A few months later she was transferred to the Training and Supply Center at Government Island, Alameda, California. She departed Yorktown on 22 October 1969 and made ports-of-call at Panama and Acapulco, Mexico. She arrived at her new homeport on 16 November 1969 and again began training reservists. At this point her permanent crew had been downsized to three officers and 19 enlisted men. She was decommissioned on 1 February 1972 and, on 15 November, was sold to Mr. William A. Hardesty of Seattle, Washington.


  • Builder: American Shipbuilding Company, Lorain, Ohio
  • Commissioned: 1945 (USN); 11 July 1964 (USCG)
  • Decommissioned: 1 February 1972
  • Disposition: Sold
  • Length: 220' 7"
  • Beam: 32' 3"
  • Draft: 10' 2"
  • Displacement: 1,112 tons
  • Propulsion: 4 generators driven by 4 electric motors driven by 4 Cleveland diesels; 3,600 HP; twin propellers
  • Performance:   
    • Max: 16.0 knots
    • Economic: 12.0 knots; 7,200-mile range
  • Complement: 40
  • Armament: 1 x 3"/50; 1 x Mk 11 ASW projector
  • Electronics: SPS-23 radar; SQS-1 sonar


  • Cutter History File. USCG Historian's Office, USCG HQ, Washington, D.C.
  • Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Washington, DC: USGPO.
  • Robert Scheina. U.S. Coast Guard Cutters & Craft, 1946-1990. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1990.