Daily Event for June 28, 2014

USS Redwing AM-48 was a Lapwing class minesweeper built at the end of the Great War in Baltimore. Missing all the excitement in the first war, she was relegated to training duty until she was transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard in 1924. In 1929 she moved from the east coast to Astoria, Washington, where she would remain until 1941. Returning to New York Redwing was refit as a salvage vessel and redesignated ARS-4.

After she was recommissioned she served on the east coast and then made her way to Iceland and later to Casablanca, Morocco. In early June Redwing was assigned to CTF-84 and was moved to Algiers, Algeria. She arrived June 19, 1943.

A few days later she got underway with three harbor tugs in tow (YT-154, YT-197, YT-161 and YT-186) bound for Bizerte, Tunisia in support of the occupation of North Africa. Only four and a half hours into the voyage the tow line to YT-197 parted and the group came to a stop. TG-81 continued on leaving Redwing and her charges behind, but sent a screen of three small craft to assist. It took an hour to fix a new tow line and get underway again. They were ordered to close TG-81 at utmost speed and for the tugs to run their engines to assist.

On June 29, 1943 at 0605 an underwater explosion, probably a mine that was missed during the sweep or broke free and was drifting, blew a hole in the port side of the ship. The blast lifted the main deck under and forward of the bridge about 15'. Many crewmen were thrown off their feet and thirteen men were blown overboard, only eight of them were pulled out of the water alive.

In the wreck of the bridge the commanding officer, Lieutenant (j.g.) Martin C. Sibitzky, USN was trapped under the binnacle, which was still electrified. He was delicately extracted from the binnacle and resumed command without delay. After an inspection of the ship it was determined that she would soon founder so the order to abandon was given. However after some time had passed Redwing refused to go under so the tugs that she had been pulling took her in tow toward Bizerte.

USS Resolute YT-458 was sent out from Bizerte and assisted in the tow while USS Nausete AT-89 stood by to render assistance. The group was not far from safety when a Royal Navy cruiser making about 30 knots crossed about 1,000 yards ahead Redwing. The wake from the unnamed cruiser caused the already unstable ship to capsize and sink, USS Redwing went down at 1019. The ship was lost, but there were no further casualties.
© 2014 Michael W. Pocock

Roll of Honor
In memory of those who lost their lives in
USS Redwing ARS-4
"As long as we embrace them in our memory, their spirit will always be with us"

Bentley, Jr., Edward S.
Ensign (USNR)
Deasy, David F.
Specialist 1st Class (USNR)
Gallison, Raymond M.
Warrant Officer (USNR)
Jones, Nelson D.
Chief Specialist (USNR)
MacDonald, David E.
Shipfitter 3rd Class (USNR)

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