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Circa 1925

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...USS Avocet I (AM-19/AVP-4) - (Passages pertaining to VP squadrons)..." Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/ships/dafs/AVP/avp4.html [03MAR2003]

Avocet's inactivity, however, lasted only a little over three years. Reconditioned for service at Cavite, the ship was recommissioned on 8 September 1925, Lt. Grady B. Whitehead in command. Avocet was recommissioned to serve as an "auxiliary aircraft tender", assigned to the Asiatic Fleet's air squadrons.

Avocet then operated out of the Fleet Air Base, Pearl Harbor, through early April 1933, local operations punctuated only by upkeep in the navy yard. She sailed independently for French Frigate Shoals on 15 April, anchoring there on the 17th to commence advanced base operations--the first such evolutions for Pearl Harbor-based flying boats. She got underway on the 19th to reach her plane-guard station, and soon logged in the arrival of 30 flying boats from Patrol Squadrons VP-1, VP-4 and VP-6. She supported VP-6, providing berthing and messing facilities for the squadron's officers and men, over the next several days, out of French Frigate Shoals, until recovering the seaplane moorings and breaking camp on 28 and 29 April. She sailed the latter day for Pearl Harbor in company with the small seaplane tender Pelican (AVP-6). Arriving back at the Fleet Air Base on 2 May, Avocet operated locally for the remainder of the year 1933, acting as plane guard for familiarization flights, night flying, and, on one occasion, salvaged the wreckage of a crashed Douglas PD-1 flying boat from VP-9, during August 1933, recovering the body of one of the pilots and parts of the aircraft.

Avocet plane-guarded the last leg of the inbound flight of the new Consolidated P2Y flying boats of VP-10 as they arrived at Pearl Harbor on 11 January 1939, and then operated locally until heading for Kahului, Hawaii, with the seaplane tender USS Wright (AV-1), on 20 January.

Underway for Corinto, Nicaragua, on 3 April, Avocet tended the Martin PM-1 flying boats from VP-7F and VP-9F from 13 to 15 April, and briefly served as the flagship for Rear Admiral Alfred W. Johnson, Commander, Aircraft, Base Force, while at Corinto.

One highlight of this period came on 10 May when Avocet received word that one of VP-9F's planes had been forced down, and was under tow of a merchant ship, SS Prospector. Underway from the Bay of Caldera at 1304 on 10 May, the ship rendezvoused with Prospector at 2238, and at 0040 on the 11th, first took the Martin PM-1 under tow and then hoisted it on board for repairs later that day.

Again she served briefly as Rear Admiral Johnson's flagship in August, 1934, and provided VP-9F with berthing and messing facilities while at Cordova.

Arriving on 8 May, this advanced party, despite "rain squalls and continued bad weather," succeeded in "skillfully and expeditiously" accomplishing its task. over the days following, Avocet supported seaplane operations out of Midway, accommodating men from VP-8 on board during this time.

She returned to Johnston Island later the same month, and supported advanced base operations there with VP-4, there and at Pearl and Hermes Reef.

Subsequently transporting passengers to Kahului and Hilo, Avocet tended VP-1 at the latter port from 23 to 31 August 1937 before she returned briefly to Pearl Harbor. She sailed thence for French Frigate Shoals on 1 September, and tended, in succession, VP-8, VP-10, VP-6 and VP-4, until 19 September, at which point she returned to the fleet air base.

March 1938--returned to French Frigate Shoals on 23 March 1938, supporting advanced base evolutions of VP-8; during this time she took on board gasoline from the submarine Nautilus (SS-168). Departing French Frigate Shoals on 28 March, Avocet proceeded directly to the village of Makua, on the coast of Oahu, and arrived on the 30th. The following morning she attempted the salvage of a crashed flying boat of VP-4, recovering the body of a radioman; she hoisted the wreckage of the plane on board on 1 April.

Before the year 1938 was out, Avocet conducted two periods of advanced base operations at Midway, tending VP-6 from 25 to 27 July and VP-4 between 25 to 27 October.

Avocet spent the first six months of 1939 operating out of Pearl Harbor, interspersing the routine local evolutions with advanced base maneuvers-once at Hilo, twice at Midway, and once at French Frigate Shoals--and an inspection of Lisianski Island. During this time Capt. Whiting again flew his pennant briefly in Avocet and the ship supported VP-4, VP-6, VP-8 and VP-10 at varying times.

Sailing from Pearl Harbor on 23 June 1939 for San Diego, Avocet arrived at her destination on Independence Day, having plane-guarded for VP-1 en route.

Performing plane-guard duties en route, Avocet arrived at Pearl Harbor on 9 April, and got underway for French Frigate Shoals four days later, to establish an advanced base for the Consolidated PBY flying boats of VP-24 as part of the "Maroon" fleet in Part VI of Fleet Problem XXI, the last of the large-scale fleet maneuvers.

With all of VP-24 in the air to conducted search missions on the 20th, the seaplane tender found herself alone when a formation of "Purple" cruiser-based scout planes arrived overhead.

For the rest of the summer, Avocet and USS Curtiss (AV-4) , and then tended VP-22 at Hilo.


Circa 1924 - 1926

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons CD-ROM: Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons Vol. 2 Stock No. 008-046-00195-2 The History of VP, VPB, VP(HL), and VP(AM) Naval Historical Center, Department Of The Navy, Washington, D. C...." [15JUN2000]
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