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Submarine Chaser Photo Archive

Fredonia (PC 1174)
ex-PC-1174



Call sign:
November - Papa - Oscar - Oscar

PC-461 Class Submarine Chaser:

  • The second Fredonia was originally assigned to be built by Defoe Shipbuilding Co., Bay City, MI, (Hull No. 259), then transferred to Leathem D. Smith Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., to be built. Laid down, 13 May 1943 by
    Leathem D. Smith Shipbuilding Co., Sturgeon Bay, WI
  • Launched, 22 July 1943
  • Sponsored by Mrs. Evelyn McKee, wife of Chester McKee, Welding Superintendent at Leathem D. Smith Shipbuilding Co.
  • Commissioned USS PC-1174, 5 November 1943
  • Decommissioned 1 January 1947 and laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, Green Cove Springs, FL
  • Named Fredonia 15 February 1956
  • Struck from the Naval Register in 1957
  • Sunk in 1968 as part of an artificial reef and lies offshore of Singer Island or Riviera Beach and is approximately one mile north of the Lake Worth Inlet.

    Specifications:

  • Displacement 295 t.(lt) 450 t.(fl)
  • Length 173' 8"
  • Beam 23'
  • Draft 10' 10"
  • Speed; 20.2 kts.
  • Complement 65
  • Armament: One 3"/50 dual purpose gun mount, one 40mm gun mount, three 20mm guns, two depth charge projectors and two depth charge tracks
  • Propulsion: Two 2,880bhp General Motors 16-278A diesel engines (Serial No. 14221 & 14222), Farrel-Birmingham single reduction gear, two shafts.

    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    PC-1174 383k Left to right: Chester and Evelyn McKee (ships sponsor) with two of their sons, John and Harry, holding the christening bottle chest. On the right are Leathem and Alva Smith Harry McKee
    PC-1174 90k Launching
    Great Lakes Institute photo
    Bob Daly/PC-1181
    PC-1174 102k -
    PC-1174 46k . Clay Long
    PC-1174 16k

    Commanding Officers
    01LT Ivo W. Lively, USNR22 July 1943 - 1944
    02LT William B. Tyler, USNRJuly 1944
    03LT James A. Currie, USNRMay 1945
    03LTJG Raymond G. Terry, USNRSeptember 1945
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Joe Radigan

    Fredonia (PC 1174)

    The USS FREDONIA (PC-1174) was launched by the Leathem D. Smith Shipyards, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin on Thursday, 22nd of July 1943. With Lt. I. W. Lively, USNR in command she was placed in full commission at the Algiers Naval Base, New Orleans, LA on the 5th of November 1943. After shakedown at SCTC, Miami, she was assigned to the Commander Gulf Sea Frontier escorting convoys from Key West to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Coco Solo, Panama; Galveston, Texas and New Orleans, LA. On the 17th of June 1944, while escorting a convoy from Key West to New York she was detached to Norfolk, Virginia for major overhaul in preparation for
    overseas duty.

    On the 4th of July, 1944, with William B. Tyler, Lt., USNR in command she was underway, escorting a convoy to Bizerte, Tunisia. A slow convoy speed and the great distance covered required refueling at sea several times. On the 19th of July, 1944, Europa Point Light at Gibraltar was sighted and by the 23rd of July the convoy had entered the harbor at Bizerte.

    For the next 12 months she operated in the western Mediterranean Sea escorting convoys to many ports in Italy, Corsica, Sicily and participated in the invasion of southern France.

    After V-E Day, and now under the command of James A. Currie, Lt., USNR she returned to the States in company with eleven other PC's stopping at Horta, in the Azores and at St. George, Bermuda for fuel, fresh water and supplies.

    On the 14th of June 1945 she arrived at the N.O.B. Key West for a major overhaul and refitting for duty in the Pacific area. During this availability period, which included a main engine overhaul, up-grading the ventilation systems, radar, radio and sound gear, replacement of the three single 20 mm anti-aircraft mounts with four double 20 mm mounts, sandblasting the hull and repainting the ship inside and out, the war with Japan came to a sudden end on the 14th of August 1945.

    On the 7th of September 1945, now under the command of Raymond G. Terry Lt. (jg), USNR, the PC-1174 was assigned to the Active Atlantic Fleet-Task Force 24. Reporting to the Norfolk Naval Base, Norfolk, Virginia, the PC-1174 was reassigned to Commander Carrier Air Groups, Atlantic Fleet Air Wing as a target towing vessel. Her depth charge racks were removed and towing gear with a power reel were installed. She operated 4 or 5 days a week towing sled targets for the Fleet Air Wing to use in bombing and strafing exercises.

    On the 1st of January, 1947 she was placed out of commission, in reserve, mothballed at the Green Cove Springs Reserve Fleet on the St. John's River in Florida. In 1956, while in the reserve fleet she was given the name Fredonia.

    In 1957, the Maritime Commission sold the ex-subchaser to private interests. In the spring of 1968, in an effort to improve the natural habitat of marine life off Florida, two surplus naval vessels were sunk together approximately a half mile north-east of the Palm Beach Inlet. As a project of the Florida Bureau of Sports Fisheries, the former luxury yacht "Mizpah", ex-USS Mizpah (YP-29) was towed over from Tampa where she had been moored for a number of years. After preparations, she was anchored from her stem against the Gulf Stream current with her bow pointing north. On Tuesday, 8 April 1968, holes were cut in her hull and she slowly settled to the bottom landing upright in 80 feet of water in a north-south direction.

    The next day, Wednesday 9 April 1968, the ex-subchaser USS Fredonia (PC-1174) was anchored to the bow of the sunken yacht and sunk by the use of six explosive charges. She settled up-right in a southeast to northwest attitude off the bow of the yacht.

    The ex-USS Fredonia was purchased by members of the Palm Beach Sailfish Club from private interests as their contribution to the new fish reef. Before sinking the ex-subchaser, all lube oil and fuel had to be removed, all tanks and watertight bulkheads had to be opened for uniform flooding during her placement on the reef. Her mast had been removed and was installed on the front lawn of Frederick S. Holmes, Capt., USN, (Ret.). All during the sinkings, a television camera crew from ABC's "American Sportsman" documented the event for future use.

    The Mizpah/PC-1174 artificial fish reef teems with all kinds of marine life. There are grouper, snapper, amber jacks, sea turtles, swarms of bait fish and a huge Jew fish has found a haven in the bridge and ward room of the subchaser. Spear fishing has been banned and the reef has become a prime location for sport fishing.

    As of this date, due to the strong Gulf Stream currents and numerous hurricanes, parts of the hull structures have collapsed but the artificial fish reef still teems with abundant marine life.

    R. W. Daly
    PC-1181
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