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  USS Conestoga AT-54 / SP-1128
USN
Tug

420 Tons
170' x 29' x 15'
1 x 76mm gun

Ship History
Built by Maryland Steel Company at Sparrows Point, Maryland for the Philadelphia and Reading Railway. Laid down during 1904.

On September 14, 1917 purchased by the United States Navy (USN) and designated as USS Conestoga SP-1128. Commissioned on November 11, 1917 with Lt(jg) C. Olsen in command. The tug was armed with a single 76mm gun.

During World War I, Conestoga was assigned to the Submarine Force and conducted towing duties in the Atlantic Ocean, transported supplies and escorting convoys to Bermuda and the Azores, and cruised with the American Patrol Detachment in the vicinity of the Azores. At the end of the war she was attached to Naval Base No. 13, Azores, from which she towed disabled ships and escorted convoys until arriving at New York on September 26, 1919. She was then assigned to harbor tug duty in the 5th Naval District at Norfolk, Virginia.

During July 1920, redesignated AT-54 and assigned to the Pacific. During the first three months of 1921 she operated out of San Diego and Mare Island.

On March 25, 1921 departed Mare Island under the command of Lt. Ernest Larkin Jones, with a barge of coal for Pearl Harbor then to take up an assignment as station ship at Tutuila. After departure, this vessel was never heard from again.

Shipwreck
During 2009, this shipwreck was discovered as an unidentified shipwreck in the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, a few miles southeast off Farallon Island, off the California coast. During October 2015, a joint NOAA and U. S. Navy mission confirmed the wreck. On March 23, 2016, the wreck was officially confirmed to be the Conestoga, 95 years after the ship was lost.

Search
Attempts to locate the vessel were unsuccessful. A lifeboat with the letter "C" was found near Manzanillo, Mexico and might have been associated with this loss.

References
Smithsonian "With the Discovery of the USS Conestoga, Researchers Have Solved a Mystery That Was Nearly 100 Years Old" by Suzy Khimm March 23, 2016

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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