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Gunboat Photo Archive

Tutuila (PR 4)

Tutuila served the Navies of the United States and Nationalist China.

Shallow-draft River Gunboat:

  • The first Tutuila was laid down 17 October 1926 by Kiangnan Docking and Engineering Works, Shanghai, China
  • Launched 14 June 1927
  • Commissioned USS Tutuila (PG-44), 2 March 1928
  • Reclassified as a River Gunboat, PR-4, 15 June 1928
  • Decommissioned 18 January 1942
  • Transferred to Nationalist China 16 February 1942 and renamed Mei Yuan (translated "American Origin")
  • Struck from the Naval Register 25 March 1942
  • Permanently transferred to Nationalist China 17 February 1948
  • Abandoned and scuttled at Shanghai to prevent capture by Chinese Communist forces.


  • Displacement 395 t.
  • Length 159' 5"
  • Beam 27' 1"
  • Draft 5' 5" (mean)
  • Speed 14.4 kts.
  • Complement 61
  • Armament: Two 3"/23 gun mounts and ten .30 cal. Lewis machine guns
  • Propulsion: One 1,950ihp triple expansion reciprocating steam engine, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Tutuila 490k 14 June 1927
    Shanghai, China
    Before launching at the Kiangan Dockyard and Engineering Works
    Library of Congress photo from National Museum of the U.S. Navy
    Michael Mohl
    Guam 319k 1 July 1927
    Shanghi, China
    Under construction outboard of Guam (PG 43)
    Library of Congress photo from National Museum of the U.S. Navy
    Tutuila 279k 3 October 1927
    Shanghai, China
    Under construction outboard of Guam (PG 43) at the Kiangan Dockyard and Engineering Works
    Library of Congress photo from National Museum of the U.S. Navy
    Tutuila 546k
    Guam 287k
    Tutuila 312k 3 January 1928
    Shanghai, China
    Under construction moored between the Wo Kwang and Oahu (PG 46) at the Kiangan Dockyard and Engineering Works
    Library of Congress photo from National Museum of the U.S. Navy
    USS Tutuila (PG 44)
    Tutuila 60k Chungking, China
    Photo from Dudley Knox Library Naval Postgraduate School Monterey, CA, Yangtze River Patrol Memorial Exhibit
    Tutuila 65k
    USS Tutuila (PR 4)
    Tutuila 98k c. 1928
    U.S. Navy photo from Jane's Fighting Ships
    Joe Radigan
    Tutuila 173k c. 1928
    Tutuila on the Yangtze River
    Photo from the Tutuila (ARG 4), 20th Birthday edition (1964) Welcome Aboard pamphlet
    Fred Willshaw
    Tutuila 546k 2 July 1929
    Shanghai, China
    Photo from National Museum of the U.S. Navy
    Michael Mohl
    Tutuila 135k 20 March 1936
    Ship's Ball Program
    Ron Reeves
    Tutuila 247k
    Tutuila 337k c. February 1941
    Chungking, China
    Photo by Carl Mydans from the Life magazine archives
    Joe Radigan
    Tutuila 184k 30 July 1941
    Associated Press Wirephoto
    Ron Reeves
    Tutuila 108k The U.S. gunboat Tutuila sits at anchor across from Chungking in 1941. On the day this picture was taken (31 July) five bombs narrowly missed the vessel.
    Photo by Carl Mydans for Life magazine.
    Photo from the October 1973 edition of All Hands magazine
    Joe Radigan
    Tutuila 27k At Chungking during bombing raid
    U.S. Navy photo from the July 1978 edition of All Hands magazine
    Tutuila 155k San Francisco Bureau
    U.S. Gunboat in Midst of Japanese Bombing Raid Chungking, China – The U.S.S. Tutuila, only American gunboat in Chinese nationalist waters, is shown standing by the American Embassy on the “South bank” of Chungking, as Japan’s Air forces rained incendiary bombs on the Chinese capital. Clouds of smoke swirled around the little river craft, and although bombs and shells fell close to her, the Tutuila was not injured.
    Photo from the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History
    Bill Gonyo

    Commanding Officers
    PCUCDR Chauncey Armlyn Lucas, USN25 June 1927
    01LCDR Frederick Baltzly, USN - USNA Class of 19112 March 1928 - 6 August 1928
    02LCDR Stuart Day Trusdell, USN - USNA Class of 19156 August 1928
    03CDR Walter Elliott Brown, USN29 May 1931
    04LCDR Harold Faul Ely, USN - USNA Class of 19171932
    05LCDR Roy Pfaff, USN1934
    06LCDR Francis Hook Gilmer, USN - USNA Class of 19191934 - June 1935
    07LCDR Frank Ernest Vensel, Jr., USNJune 1935 - May 1936
    08LCDR Linton Herndon, USNMay 1936 - June 1938
    09LCDR Robert Bartlett, USNJune 1938 - 30 April 1939
    10LT Robert William Germany, Jr., USN - USNA Class of 193030 April 1939 - 10 October 1940
    11LCDR William Alger Bowers, USN - USNA Class of 192310 October 1940
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

    View the Tutuila (PR 4)
    DANFS History entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Website
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