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NavSource Online: Mine Warfare Vessel Photo Archive

Vireo (AT[O[ 144)

Call sign:
Nan - Fox - Tare - Nan


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

ex-Minesweeper No. 52

Call sign (1919):
George - Boy - Fox - Mike

Lapwing Class Minesweeper:

  • Laid down 20 November 1918 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA
  • Launched 26 May 1919
  • Commissioned USS Vireo, Minesweeper No. 52, 16 October 1919
  • Designated AM-52, 17 July 1920
  • Reclassified as a Fleet Tug, AT-144, 1 June 1942
  • Reclassified as a Fleet Tug (Old), AT(O)-144, 15 May 1944
  • Decommissioned 18 April 1946
  • Struck from the Navy Register 8 May 1946
  • Transferred 4 February 1947 to the Maritime Commission for disposal
  • Fate unknown.


  • Displacement 840 t.
    1942 - 1,350 t.
  • Length 187' 10"
  • Beam 35' 5"
  • Draft 8' 10"
    1942 - 13' 1"
  • Speed 14 kts.
    1942 - 12.4 kts.
  • Complement 78
    1942 - 75
  • Armament: Two 3"/50 mounts
    1942 - Two 3"/50 dual purpose mounts
  • Propulsion: Two Babcock and Wilcox boilers, triple expansion reciprocating steam engine, one shaft
    1942 - Two Babcock and Wilcox header boilers, one 1,400shp Chester Shipbuilding 200psi saturated steam vertical triple expansion reciprocating engine.

    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    USS Vireo (AM 52)
    Viero 38k Namesake: Vireo - A small, insectivorous, migratory bird common to the New World Tommy Trampp
    Photo added 22 March 2020
    Vireo 88k Anchored in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, January 1920
    U.S. Navy photo NH 43603
    Naval Historical Center
    Vireo/Rail 112k In harbor, March 1922. USS Rail (AM-26) is in the left background
    U.S. Navy photo NH 50207
    Viero 510k Group photograph of the officers and the sailors of the Puerto Rican, Nicaraguan Aerial Survey group in front of Vireo, 24 January 1931
    National Archives photo 80-G-466337 from National Museum of the U.S. Navy
    Michael Mohl
    Vireo 161k In port, 1932
    U.S. Navy photo NH 50320
    Naval Historical Center
    Vireo 119k Ship's Officers and Crew, 1934. Note stockless anchor in the port bow hawsepipe, fancy hull number, and ship's dog held by the Sailor at left.
    Photographed by Vernon M. Haden, San Pedro, California
    Donation of Ted Stone, 1977.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 85837
    Viero 116k Postcard dated 3 May 1934, USS Vireo, San Pedro [CA] Tommy Trampp
    Crew Photo 109k c. 1936
    Signalman August Billig, fourth from left, second row
    Bruce Billig
    Viero 146k Postcard dated 25 December 1938, USS Vireo Tommy Trampp
    Bobolink 131k Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941. View of USS California (BB 44), taken a day or two after the Japanese raid. Bobolink (AM 20), at left, Vireo and YW-10 are off the battleship's stern, assisting with efforts to keep her afloat
    From the collection of Vice Admiral Homer N. Wallin, USN, Ret.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 95569
    Naval Historical Center
    USS Vireo (AT 144)
    Vireo 175k Battle of Midway, June 1942. Diorama by Norman Bel Geddes, depicting the explosion of depth charges from USS Hammann (DD-412) as she sank alongside USS Yorktown (CV-5) during the afternoon of 6 June 1942. Both ships were torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-168 while Hammann was assisting with the salvage of Yorktown. Vireo is shown at left, coming back to pick up survivors, as destroyers head off to search for the submarine
    National Archives photo 80-G-701902
    Naval Historical Center
    Vireo 60k Vireo at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, following repairs and overhaul, 20 August 1942
    National Archives photo 19-N-34748
    Vireo 105k 13 July 1943. USS Honolulu (CL-48) in Tulagi Harbor, Solomon Islands, for temporary repair of damage received when she was torpedoed in the bow during the Battle of Kolombangara. Vireo is assisting the damaged cruiser
    National Archives photo 80-G-259446
    Viero 324k c. February 1947
    LCDR James C. Legg with his wife after he was awarded the Navy Cross at Mare Island Navy Yard for his service as Commanding Officer of Vireo during the Battle of Midway
    Photo from the files of the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum
    Darryl Baker

    Commanding Officers
    01LT Ernest Robert Piercey, USN - Awarded the Navy Cross (1918)16 October 1919 - 1 July 1920
    02LTJG Merritt Philips Higgins, USN1 July 1920 - 25 November 1921
    03LT William Hartenstein, USN25 November 1921 - 6 June 1924
    04LT Nels Drake, USN6 June 1924
    05LT William Hartenstein, USN3 September 1926
    06LT William Newton Crofford, Jr., USN26 July 1928 - 18 June 1932
    07LT Clarence Lemoine Waters, USN18 June 1932 - 14 June 1933
    08LTJG Thomas Joseph Kimes, USN14 June 1933 - 6 July 1934
    09LT Owen Rees, USN6 July 1934 - 1 July 1937
    10LT Paul George Wrenn, USN1 July 1937 - 1 May 1938
    11Chief Boatswain Ralph Bruce Wallace, USN1 May 1938 - 1 April 1939
    12LT Philip David Butler, USN1 April 1939 - 30 November 1939
    13CWO Richard Kent Margetts, USN30 November 1939 - 31 December 1939
    14CWO Clyde Mack Pugh, USN31 December 1939 - 31 January 1940
    15LCDR Frederick Joseph Ilsemann, USN31 January 1940 - 18 March 1942
    16LT James Claude Legg, USN - Awarded the Navy Cross (5 - 7 June 1942) and the Silver Star18 March 1942
    17LTJG Charles Henry Stedman, USN2 November 1942
    18LTJG Robert Wilson Ekberg, USN31 July 1943
    19LTJG Steuart Delamater, USN19 May 1944
    20LTJG Melvin Edward Seymour, USNR4 October 1944
    21LT Broughton James Barber, USN17 September 1945 - 18 April 1946
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler, Ron Reeves, Darryl Baker and Joe Radigan
    View the Vireo (AM 52)
    DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command website
    Back to the Main Photo Index Back to the Mine Warfare Ship Photo Index Back to the Minesweeper (AM) Photo Index Back to the Auxiliary Ship Index Back to the Fleet Tug (AT) Photo Index

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    This page created and maintained by Joseph M. Radigan (of blessed memory) & Michael Mohl
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