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NavSource Online: Mine Warfare Vessel Photo Archive

Tern (AT[O] 142)

Call sign:
Nan - Fox - Love - Mike


Call sign (1939):
Negat - Int - King - Tare

ex-Minesweeper No. 31

Call sign (1919):
George - Tare - Vice - Pup

Lapwing Class Minesweeper:

  • Laid down 7 September 1918 at Gas Engine and Power Co. and C. L. Seabury Co., Morris Heights, NY
  • Launched 22 March 1919
  • Commissioned USS Tern, Minesweeper No. 31, 17 May 1919
  • Designated AM-31, 17 July 1920
  • Reclassified as a Fleet Tug, AT-142, 1 June 1942
  • Reclassified as a Fleet Tug (Old), AT(O)-142, 15 May 1944
  • Decommissioned 23 November 1945 at San Francisco, CA
  • Struck from the Navy Register 5 December 1945
  • Transferred to the War Shipping Administration in July 1947 and sold
  • Fate unknown.


  • Displacement 950 t.
    1944 - 1,350 t.
  • Length 187' 10"
  • Beam 35' 6"
  • Draft 9' 9"
    1944 - 13' 1"
  • Speed 14 kts.
    1944 - 12 kts.
  • Complement 78
    1944 - 75
  • Armament: One 11 pounder and two machine guns
    1944 - Two 3"/50 dual purpose mounts
  • Propulsion: Two Babcock and Wilcox boilers, one triple expansion reciprocating steam engine, one shaft
    1944 - Two 200psi saturated steam Babcock and Wilcox header boilers, one 1,400shp Harlan and Hollingsworth vertical triple expansion reciprocating steam engine.

    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Ternt 21k

    Tern - A sea bird whose body is smaller than the gull which it resembles. It possesses a slender body, a narrow beak, and a deeply-forked tail. The tern inhabits coastal waters on both sides of the Atlantic

    Tommy Trampp
    Tern 127k Seen here in the Panama Canal
    U.S. Navy photo
    Original photo: Hyperwar U.S. Navy in World War II
    Replacement photo: Robert Hurst
    Tern 186k Original photo: U.S. Navy photo Replacement photo: Jim Kurrasch, Battleship Iowa, Pacific
    Battleship Center
    Tern 142k Penny Peak
    Ternt 86k Photo from the National Association of Fleet Tug Sailors John Spivey
    Photo added 5 April 2022
    Tern 70k Tern fighting fires aboard the sunken USS West Virginia (BB-48), on 7 December 1941, immediately after the Japanese raid
    U.S. Navy photo NH 64477
    Naval Historical Center
    Brant 193k Brant (AM 24) and Tern moored together at an unknown location
    Courtesy of Lt. Gustave J. Freret, USN ( Ret). Fair Haven, New Jersey, 1970
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 72113
    Mike Green

    Commanding Officers
    01LT Nels Drake, USN17 May 1919
    02LT Thomas Macklin, USN8 December 1921
    03LT John Ross McKean, USN1925
    04LT Nullet Francis Schneider, USN23 November 1927 - 1930
    05LT Ralph Paul Noisat, USN1930 - 1932
    06LT Alva Joseph Spriggs, USN1932
    07LT Alfred Marcllus Granum, USN - Retired as Rear Admiral1934
    08LT Harry H. Keith, USN1936
    09LT John Reid McKinney, USN1938 - June 1939
    10LT Walton Barclay Pendleton, USN - USNA Class of 1921
    Awarded the Navy Cross - Retired as Captain
    June 1939 - 1 April 1943
    11LT Herbert James Perry, Jr., USN1 April 1943 - 20 January 1944
    12LTJG William Earl Hummel, USN20 January 1944 - 12 June 1944
    13LTJG George Francis Carey, USN12 June 1944 - 23 November 1945
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler, Ron Reeves and Joe Radigan

    View the Tern (AM-31)
    DANFS History entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Website
    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    National Association of Fleet Tug Sailors
    Back to the Main Photo Index Back To the Mine Warfare Ship Photo Index Back to the Minesweeper (AM) Photo Index Back to the Fleet Tug (AT) Photo Index

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