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  USS Hilo AGP-2 (Caroline, Moana)
MTB Tender

2,350 Tons
278' x 38' 3" x 17'
1 x 3" DP gun

Ship History
Built by Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine as "Caroline" at a cost of $1.5 million for Eldridge R. Johnson, at the time the largest private yacht in the United States. This vessel was used for scientific research including a 1932 archaeological expedition to South America, Easter Island and in 1933 a  Smithsonian Institution expedition to the Puerto Rico Trench. In 1938, sold to William B. Leeds and renamed the "Moana".

Wartime History
On November 28, 1941 purchased by the U. S. Navy (USN) and converted into the first vessel to become a PT Boat tender at Craig Shipbuilding Co. in Long Beach, CA. On June 11, 1942 commissioned as USS Hilo (PG-58) with Lt. Commander F. A. Munroe in command.


On April 14, 1943 anchored off Kana Kopa during the morning a large formation of Japanese aircraft including G4M1 Betty bombers escorted by A6M Zeros passed over the vessel at 25,500' bound for Milne Bay.


On October 17, 1943 anchored off Buna at 11:20am PT-152 arrived with 1st Lt. Thomas B. McGuire, Jr. rescued after he bailed out of P-38H "Pudgy" 42-66836. Afterwards, Hilo returned him to shore.

On October 24, 1943 while anchored off Buna at 5:48pm, observed a P-38 that crashed into the Solomon Sea roughly five miles away, likely P-38 Lightning piloted by Woodward (MIA).

On April 30, 1944 in the early morning, PT-351 and PT-355 picked up the survivors of PT-350, PT-346 and PT-347 "Zombie" from a friendly fire incident the prior day and transported them to USS Hilo (AGP-2).

On July 9, 1944 USS Oyster Bay, USS Portunus and USS Hilo (AGP-2) anchored at Mios Woendi to support operations at Milos Woendi PT Boat Base (Base 21, Camp Taylor).


Hilo received four battle stars for service in World War II.

On March 3, 1946 decommissioned and was sold by the War Shipping Administration to Pillsbury & Martingnoni in San Francisco, California. Ultimate fate unknown.

NARA War Diary of PT Boat Tender USS Hilo - October 17, 1943
NARA War Diary of PT Boat Tender USS Hilo - October 24, 1943
Pacific Sweep page 132

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Last Updated
October 23, 2019


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