USS Biscayne (AVP-11)

USS Biscayne (AVP-11), later AGC-18, was a United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

Barnegat class seaplane tender
|The Barnegat class was a large class of United States Navy small seaplane tenders built during World War II. Thirty were completed as seaplane tenders, four as motor torpedo boat tenders, and one as a catapult training ship.-Design:...

 seaplane tender
Seaplane tender
A seaplane tender is a ship that provides facilities for operating seaplanes. These ships were the first aircraft carriers and appeared just before the First World War.-History:...

 in commission as a seaplane tender from 1941 to 1943 and as an amphibious force
Amphibious warfare
Amphibious warfare is the use of naval firepower, logistics and strategy to project military power ashore. In previous eras it stood as the primary method of delivering troops to non-contiguous enemy-held terrain...

A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer of a group of naval ships, reflecting the custom of its commander, characteristically a flag officer, flying a distinguishing flag...

 from 1943 to 1946.

Construction and commissioning

Biscayne was laid down on 27 October 1939 at Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton
Bremerton, Washington
Bremerton is a city in Kitsap County, Washington, United States. The population was 38,790 at the 2011 State Estimate, making it the largest city on the Olympic Peninsula. Bremerton is home to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and the Bremerton Annex of Naval Base Kitsap...

, Washington. She was launched on 23 May 1941, sponsored by Mrs. A. M. Charleton, and commissioned
Ship commissioning
Ship commissioning is the act or ceremony of placing a ship in active service, and may be regarded as a particular application of the general concepts and practices of project commissioning. The term is most commonly applied to the placing of a warship in active duty with its country's military...

 on 3 July 1941 with Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander is a commissioned officer rank in many navies. The rank is superior to a lieutenant and subordinate to a commander...

 C. C. Champion, Jr., in command.

Seaplane tender operations

Following her shakedown
Shakedown (testing)
A shakedown is a period of testing or a trial journey undergone by a ship, aircraft or other craft and its crew before being declared operational. Statistically, a proportion of the components will fail after a relatively short period of use, and those that survive this period can be expected to...

 cruise, Biscayne joined the Atlantic Fleet
United States Fleet Forces Command
The United States Fleet Forces Command is an Atlantic Ocean theater-level component command of the United States Navy that provides naval resources that are under the operational control of the United States Northern Command...

 and operated out of Boston, Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

, on patrol and plane guard missions from 7 December 1941 until 27 May 1942. For the next four months she served as a seaplane tender and communications ship in Newfoundland
Dominion of Newfoundland
The Dominion of Newfoundland was a British Dominion from 1907 to 1949 . The Dominion of Newfoundland was situated in northeastern North America along the Atlantic coast and comprised the island of Newfoundland and Labrador on the continental mainland...

 and Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...


Biscayne departed Norfolk
Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. With a population of 242,803 as of the 2010 Census, it is Virginia's second-largest city behind neighboring Virginia Beach....

, Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, on 17 October 1942 and, after a short stop at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, moved to Freetown, Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone , officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea to the north and east, Liberia to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and southwest. Sierra Leone covers a total area of and has an estimated population between 5.4 and 6.4...

, with Patrol Squadron 92 (VP-92), arriving on 2 November 1942.

Biscayne moved to Casablanca
Casablanca is a city in western Morocco, located on the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Grand Casablanca region.Casablanca is Morocco's largest city as well as its chief port. It is also the biggest city in the Maghreb. The 2004 census recorded a population of 2,949,805 in the prefecture...

, French Morocco
French Morocco
French Protectorate of Morocco was a French protectorate in Morocco, established by the Treaty of Fez. French Morocco did not include the north of the country, which was a Spanish protectorate...

, on 18 November 1942 and remained there until 25 April 1943 supporting patrol squadrons.

Amphibious force flagship operations in the Mediterranean

Biscayne arrived at Mers-el-Kebir
Mers-el-Kébir is a port town in northwestern Algeria, located by the Mediterranean Sea near Oran, in the Oran Province.-History:Originally a Roman port, Mers-el-Kébir became an Almohad naval arsenal in the 12th century, fell under the rulers of Tlemcen in the 15th century, and eventually became a...

, Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

, on 26 April 1943 and became the flagship of Rear Admiral
Rear Admiral
Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. It is generally regarded as the lowest of the "admiral" ranks, which are also sometimes referred to as "flag officers" or "flag ranks"...

 Richard Lansing Conolly, Commander, Landing Craft and Bases, Northwest African Waters. While at Mers-el-Kebir she was fitted out as an amphibious force flagship by repair ship
Auxiliary ship
An auxiliary ship is a naval ship which is designed to operate in any number of roles supporting combatant ships and other naval operations. Auxiliaries are not primary combatants, although they may have some limited combat capacity, usually of a self defensive nature.Auxiliaries are extremely...

  between 2 May 1943 and 31 May 1943, although she retained her seaplane tender classification and AVP-11 designation for the time being. In May 1943, Biscayne shifted her moorings to Bizerte
Bizerte or Benzert , is the capital city of Bizerte Governorate in Tunisia and the northernmost city in Africa. It has a population of 230,879 .-History:...

, Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...


Departing Bizerte on 10 July 1943, Biscayne served as flagship of the Joss (Licata
Licata is a city and comune located on the south coast of Sicily, at the mouth of the Salso River , about midway between Agrigento and Gela...

) Force in Operation Husky, the Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 invasion of Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

. She remained off Sicily until 22 July 1943 and then returned to Bizerte.

Beginning on 9 September 1943, Biscayne took part in Operation Avalanche, the Allied landings at Salerno
Salerno is a city and comune in Campania and is the capital of the province of the same name. It is located on the Gulf of Salerno on the Tyrrhenian Sea....

, Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, as flagship for Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral
Vice admiral is a senior naval rank of a three-star flag officer, which is equivalent to lieutenant general in the other uniformed services. A vice admiral is typically senior to a rear admiral and junior to an admiral...

 H. Kent Hewitt and Rear Admiral Conolly. While off Salerno, she escaped unscathed from frequent air and gunfire attacks. On 12 September 1943, she sent a fire and rescue team on board the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 ammunition ship
Ammunition ship
An ammunition ship is a warship specially configured to carry ammunition, usually for Navy ships and aircraft. Their cargo handling systems, designed with extreme safety in mind, include ammunition hoists with airlocks between decks, and mechanisms for flooding entire compartments with sea water in...

 Lyminge and saved that vessel and her cargo
Cargo is goods or produce transported, generally for commercial gain, by ship, aircraft, train, van or truck. In modern times, containers are used in most intermodal long-haul cargo transport.-Marine:...

 of ammunition
Ammunition is a generic term derived from the French language la munition which embraced all material used for war , but which in time came to refer specifically to gunpowder and artillery. The collective term for all types of ammunition is munitions...

 from destruction. Biscayne also served as a temporary hospital ship
Hospital ship
A hospital ship is a ship designated for primary function as a floating medical treatment facility or hospital; most are operated by the military forces of various countries, as they are intended to be used in or near war zones....

 while off Salerno. Biscayne retired to Bizerte on 11 October 1943.

On 7 November 1943, Biscayne became the flagship of Rear Admiral F. J. Lowry, Commander, 8th Amphibious Force. Sailing for Italy once again, she served as flagship during Operation Shingle
Operation Shingle
Operation Shingle , during the Italian Campaign of World War II, was an Allied amphibious landing against Axis forces in the area of Anzio and Nettuno, Italy. The operation was commanded by Major General John P. Lucas and was intended to outflank German forces of the Winter Line and enable an...

, the Allied landings at Anzio
Anzio is a city and comune on the coast of the Lazio region of Italy, about south of Rome.Well known for its seaside harbour setting, it is a fishing port and a departure point for ferries and hydroplanes to the Pontine Islands of Ponza, Palmarola and Ventotene...

, from 22 January 1944 to 2 February 1944.

Biscayne became flagship of Rear Admiral B. J. Rodgers, Commander, Amphibious Group 2, 8th Amphibious Force, in May 1944. Between 15 August 1944 and 16 September 1944, she took part in Operation Dragoon
Operation Dragoon
Operation Dragoon was the Allied invasion of southern France on August 15, 1944, during World War II. The invasion was initiated via a parachute drop by the 1st Airborne Task Force, followed by an amphibious assault by elements of the U.S. Seventh Army, followed a day later by a force made up...

, the Allied invasion of southern France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...


On 10 October 1944, Biscayne was officially reclassified as a miscellaneous flagship and redesignated AGC-18.

Amphibious force flagship operations in the Pacific Theater

Biscayne left the Mediterranean on 12 October 1944 bound for Boston, and then steamed to the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

. She arrived at Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor, known to Hawaiians as Puuloa, is a lagoon harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, west of Honolulu. Much of the harbor and surrounding lands is a United States Navy deep-water naval base. It is also the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet...

, Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

, on 9 January 1945 and became flagship of Captain
Captain (naval)
Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel....

 Frederick Moosbrugger
Frederick Moosbrugger
Frederick Moosbrugger was an officer of the United States Navy eventually attaining the rank of vice admiral. He is best known for his service in World War II as a highly successful commander of destroyer squadrons....

, Commander, Destroyer Squadron 63.

Biscayne took part in the invasion of Iwo Jima
Iwo Jima
Iwo Jima, officially , is an island of the Japanese Volcano Islands chain, which lie south of the Ogasawara Islands and together with them form the Ogasawara Archipelago. The island is located south of mainland Tokyo and administered as part of Ogasawara, one of eight villages of Tokyo...

 from 19 February 1945 to 4 March 1945 as flagship of the transport screen. she carried out similar duties during Operation Iceberg, the landings on Kerama Retto
Kerama Retto
The are a group of 22 islands located southwest of Okinawa Island in Japan. Four of the islands are inhabited:,., and. The islands are within Shimajiri District. The Kerama-shotō coral reef is a Ramsar Site....

 on 26 March 1945 and on Okinawa on 1 April 1945. She remained off Okinawa, supporting U.S. operations during and after the Okinawa campaign, until 1 July 1945, during which time she served as flagship for the occupation of Iheya and Aguni Islands between 3 June 1945 and 9 June 1945.

After her tour at Okinawa, Biscayne retired to Leyte
Leyte is a province of the Philippines located in the Eastern Visayas region. Its capital is Tacloban City and occupies the northern three-quarters of the Leyte Island. Leyte is located west of Samar Island, north of Southern Leyte and south of Biliran...

 in the Philippine Islands, and remained in the Philippines through the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, which concluded with the cessation of hostilities with Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 on 15 August 1945.

Post-World War II U.S. Navy service

Biscayne departed the Philippines on 8 September 1945 to support the occupation of Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

. She remained on occupation duty in Korean and Chinese
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 waters until 30 October 1945, when she left for the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...


Biscayne arrived at San Diego
San Diego, California
San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest city in California. The city is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, immediately adjacent to the Mexican border. The birthplace of California, San Diego is known for its mild year-round...

, California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, on 21 December 1945 and at Portland
Portland, Maine
Portland is the largest city in Maine and is the county seat of Cumberland County. The 2010 city population was 66,194, growing 3 percent since the census of 2000...

, Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

, on 7 January 1946. She then moved to the United States Naval Academy
United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in Annapolis, Maryland, United States...

 at Annapolis
Annapolis, Maryland
Annapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Maryland, as well as the county seat of Anne Arundel County. It had a population of 38,394 at the 2010 census and is situated on the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Severn River, south of Baltimore and about east of Washington, D.C. Annapolis is...

, Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

, for use as quarters for the academys aviation instruction staff.

United States Coast Guard service

The U.S. Navy transferred Biscayne to the United States Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven U.S. uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency...

 at the Coast Guard Yard at Curtis Bay
Curtis Bay, Baltimore
Curtis Bay is a neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. The neighborhood is located in a highly industrialized waterfornt area in the southern part of the city, and receives its name from the body of water in which it sits...

 in Baltimore, Maryland on 10 July 1946. In Coast Guard service, Biscayne was commissioned as USCGC Dexter (WAGC-18)
USCGC Dexter (WAVP-385)
USCGC Dexter , originally WACG-18, later WHEC-385, was a Casco-class United States Coast Guard Cutter in service from 1946 to 1952 and from 1958 to 1968. She was the fourth ship of the United States Revenue Cutter Service or United States Coast Guard to bear the name.-Construction and U.S...

 on 8 June 1949. She was later redesignated WAVP-385. Based at Boston, Dexter served on ocean stations in the Atlantic until she was decommissioned on 17 December 1952 and laid up at Curtis Bay.

On 30 June 1958, Dexter was recommissioned and transferred to Alameda
Alameda, California
Alameda is a city in Alameda County, California, United States. It is located on Alameda Island and Bay Farm Island, and is adjacent to Oakland in the San Francisco Bay. The Bay Farm Island portion of the city is adjacent to the Oakland International Airport. At the 2010 census, the city had a...

, California, where she served in primarily a training role. She was reclassified as a high endurance cutter
High endurance cutter
The designation of High endurance cutter was created in 1965 when the United States Coast Guard adopted its own designation system. High endurance cutters encompassed its largest cutters previously designated by the United States Navy as Coast Guard gunboats , Coast Guard destroyer escorts , and...

and redesignated WHEC-385 on 1 May 1966. Decommissioned for the final time on 9 July 1968, she was transferred to U.S. Navy, which sank as a target later in 1968.

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