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Submarine Chaser Photo Archive

Kewaunee (PC 1178)

Call sign:
November - Papa - Romeo - Whiskey

PC-461 Class Submarine Chaser:

  • The first Kewaunee was laid down 11 August 1943 at Leathem D. Smith Shipbuilding Co., Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
  • Launched 2 October 1943
  • Commissioned USS PC-1178, 6 January 1944 at New Orleans, LA
  • Reclassified as a Control Submarine Chaser, PCC-1178, 20 August 1945
  • Decommissioned 4 September 1946 at Astoria, Oregon and laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet, Columbia River Group
    Naval Vessel Register of 1 January 1949 lists plan for decommissioning and placing in reserve as January 1947
  • Reclassified PC-1178, 27 October 1955
  • Named Kewaunee 15 February 1956
  • Struck from the Naval Register 1 November 1959
  • Sold to the Port of Portland, Oregon 30 June 1960
  • Sold for scrap to Zidell Ship Dismantlers.


  • Displacement 280 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 rocket launchers, four depth charge projectors, and two depth charge tracks
  • Propulsion: Two 1,440bhp Fairbanks Morse 38D8 1/8 diesel engines (Serial No. 833297 and 833298), Westinhouse single reduction gear, two shafts.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    PC-1178 25k Launching Ceremony
    Great Lakes Institute photo
    Bob Daly/PC-1181
    USS PC-1178
    Kewaunee 25k . Bill Tormey
    "Plank Owner" and crew member
    January 1944 to December 1945
    USS PCC-1178
    PCC-1178 52k c. October 1945
    Aground in the typhoon refuge at Unten Ko, Okinawa
    Doug Roberts/PC-1178
    Bob Daly/PC-1181

    Commanding Officers
    01LTJG Norman E. Jones, USNR6 January 1944 - 1945
    Courtesy of Joe Radigan

    View the Kewaunee (PC-1178)
    DANFS History entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Website
    USS KEWAUNEE (ex-PC-1178/PCC-1178)

    The PC-1178 was commissioned in New Orleans, Louisiana on Thursday 6 January 1944, with Norman E. Jones, Lt. (jg) USNR in command. After SCTC training at Miami, Florida, the new subchaser received orders to proceed to Pearl Harbor for duty in the western Pacific. Her first combat duty was during the invasion of Peleliu in the Palau Islands. Then came many months of escort and patrol duty between the Marshall and Mariana Islands before returning to Pearl Harbor for overhaul and conversion to a PCC (Amphibious Control ship). Returning to the western Pacific she provided patrol duty at Okinawa and the Philippines. During her time in the Pacific she also visited Eniwetok, Guam, Ulithi, Guadalcanal, and Florida Island. She was awarded a battle star for her service in the Western Caroline Islands - Capture and occupation of the Palau Islands. She left the Philippines on 19 April 1946 and arrived in Astoria, Oregon on 6 June 1946. The vessel was decommissioned on 4 September 1946 and placed in the Pacific Reserve Fleet. She was given the name USS Kewaunee on 15 February 1956. Stricken from the Navy list on November 1, 1959 and sold 30 June 1960 to the Port of Portland.


    On a damp and foggy morning in the late spring of 1960, a Port of Portland tug, the W. L. Williams gently came along side of the ex-PC(C)-1178 (USS Kewaunee) at the Pacific Reserve Fleet dock in Astoria, Oregon. This was to be the beginning of a very unique project. The tug's job was to tow the ex-subchaser 100 miles up the Columbia River to the Zidell Ship Dismantlers in Portland. The retired navy veterans two 1,800 h.p. Fairbanks-Morse OP diesel engines were to be removed and reassigned to the civilian duty of driving a giant pump on a new booster barge for the Port of Portland.

    After removal from the hull, the OP's (opposed piston engines) were given a major overhaul and upgrading by the manufacturer.

    The design of the booster copied a successful booster pump unit in operation in California. Design of the 30 inch booster pump unit includes belt transfer of power to the pump shaft giving a total of about 3,000 h.p. The original design was a skid mounted pumping unit but by 1980 the unit had been installed on a barge. The two powerful diesel engines that once propelled the subchaser through the waters of the western Pacific will be pushing water through giant pipes as a new booster pumping unit of the expanding Portland Port Commission dredging operation.

    The 30 inch pump was removed from an older dredge that had been in service since 1925. The Port Commission has always used fully lined pumps on their dredges so that the pumps can be rebuilt by relining the entire interior of the pump. The outer case of the pump is the same as it was in 1925.

    The dredging process starts with the sucking of material from the river bottom and pumping it to the dump site by the means of large sized floating pipeline. The present dredges can pump about 7,000 feet but with the booster pump near the outfall they can double that distance. On one job they pumped heavy Columbia River sand as much as 17,000 feet.

    The PC engine booster pump unit has worked on the expansion of the Portland Airport and is now in the final stages of the 2,000-acre Rivergate Industrial District-requiring about 30 million cubic yards of material. The PC booster pump barge has been an important tool for the Port of Portland and symbolically, the PC-1178 is still "steaming as before."

    R. W. Daly/PC-1181
    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    Patrol Craft Sailors Association
    Back To The Main Photo Index Back to the Patrol Craft/Gunboat/Submarine Chaser Ship Index Back to the Submarine Chaser (PC) Photo Index

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